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President’s family fight over p550 million water tender continues

Bame Piet

Masisi’s sister discredits nephew’s testimony, files for No case to answer

A court battle in which President Masisi’s family is fighting over a P550 million Goodhope water project tender entered a critical and final phase on Wednesday.

Launching a relentless attack on the credibility of the Masisi ‘s Nephew, Olebile Pilane’s testimony, lawyers representing the President’s older sister, Phadi Mmutle and her business associates sought to punch holes in his damning testimony.

Court started with Pilane testifying about his aunts’ use of underhanded tactics to defraud him.

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Pilane has accused his aunts, Mmutle and Ketshedile Hlanze of unlawfully stripping him of his shares, arguing that he was entitled to 40 percent of the Goodhope project’s profits, asserting damages amounting to a staggering P17.5 million.

Revelations of how Pilane was coerced to resign from a company he was a sole Director of sent shockwaves through the courtroom as he detailed the complex dynamics that unfolded behind closed doors, implicating high-level officials such as DIS Director General Brigadier Peter Fana Magosi

Under intense cross-examination, Pilane recounted a chilling phone call from Magosi, relaying his aunt’s dissatisfaction and the urgent need for a meeting. Pilane hinted that discussions had likely transpired amongst the two aunts and Magosi during the State House rendezvous.

At the heart of the matter was Pilane’s introductory association with G&M Building Services, facilitated by Chinese businessman Huashi Li, who enjoyed a close rapport with Mmutle and had provided her with a rented residence in Phakalane.

Pilane’s expertise in tendering and bidding for water projects proved invaluable for Li’s companies, which struggled to secure tenders. The court heard how Pilane diligently investigated the Water Utilities Corporation’s shortcomings, enabling him to successfully prepare tenders and bids for projects such as Gamononyane-Molepolole NSC and Goodhope 2.2 water projects.

However, Pilane told the court that things took an unforeseen turn when Magosi allegedly informed Li of their triumph in securing the P550 million Goodhope water project. In a stunning revelation, Pilane claimed that Magosi insisted Li donate five percent of the project’s sum to the ruling Botswana Democratic Party, leaving him dumbfounded.

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Pilane went on to share a harrowing account of a meeting in Phakalane, orchestrated by his aunt Mmutle. It was during this encounter that he found himself pressed into resigning from G&M Building Services, with his shares promptly transferred to Tswelakhumo Ventures, where aunt Mmutle and aunt Hlanze held directorial positions.

The period between his forced resignation on May 19th, 2021, and May 25th, 2021, proved to be a tumultuous whirlwind for Pilane. He emphasised the intense activity surrounding his departure, the transfer of shares, and the alleged involvement of the BDP.

Meanwhile Obrien Vindi, representing G&M Building Services, Kelebogile Monnaatshipi, Tswelakhumo Ventures, and Huashi Li, mounted a relentless cross-examination of Pilane, accusing him of inconsistencies and false allegations. Vindi also denied Plane’s claims that he was at one point a shareholder or managing director in G&M Building Services.

He argued that Li never held a directorial position in the said company, thereby dismissing any possibility of Pilane receiving shares.

However Pilane remained resolute, staunchly defending his statements and highlighting Li’s oversight role in various companies, including G&M Building Services and Precon Construction. These entities, operating from the same compound, emerged as joint ventures that secured the coveted Goodhope project.

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In an effort to substantiate his claims, Pilane submitted company registration documents and a share certificate, which Vindi quickly discredited as invalid.

As the proceedings drew to a close, Phadi and associates, decided not to testify, dismissing Pilane’s case as weak and lacking substance. Instead, they submitted an application for Absolution from the Instance or No Case to Answer, a request that the court is set to reach a decision on in three weeks’ time.

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