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IT IS FRAUD

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The case in which suspended premier league CEO Bennett Mamelodi is challenging Botswana Premier League Chairman Rapula Okaile’s authority to suspend and call him for a disciplinary hearing got off to a false start for the Botswana Football Association (BFA) and the BPL when both parties were accused of lying to the court under oath.

The case that began on Monday at the Industrial Court was thus adjourned and will now be heard again on August 23 to allow lawyers representing the two football bodies to come back with authentic authority to the court, where they seek to show that they indeed have powers to take any form of disciplinary action against the CEO.

Mamelodi’s lawyer Dutch Leburu poked holes in the affidavits deposed by the Okaile team, saying they contained fraudulent information that cannot be accepted as the truth in the case before Justice Paper Molomo. In the urgent application that sought to interdict Okaile’s move to call the CEO for a disciplinary hearing, Leburu’s camp argued that the acting BPL Board chairman on his own had no authority to discipline Mamelodi. In his answering affidavit, Okaile argued that he indeed had the powers as he had been delegated such by the BFA president Tebogo Sebego. When the CEO’s camp responded that Sebego on his own also had no such powers to authorize, Okaile argued back in his second affidavit that the powers were indeed delegated by the BFA National Executive Committee that gave Sebego authority to endorse his decision to discipline Mamelodi. 

To this end, Leburu sought to be provided with the minutes of the BFA NEC meeting where Sebego was given such authority to endorse Okaile’s action against Mamelodi. It was then that Okaile’s lawyer Mpho Gaobakwe conceded that no such meeting was ever held and that the minutes were therefore unavailable. Leburu then brought the attention of the court to the fact that Sebego had appended his signature on the Delegation of Authority document that implied that he had been authorized by the BFA NEC to allow the case against Mamelodi to continue. This, Leburu argued, was a deliberate act of fraud meant to mislead the court, and therefore called for attendant legal action to be taken against both Okaile and Sebego.

However, that demand by Leburu was thwarted when Okaile’s camp requested leave to withdraw the two affidavits, including the related attachments, so as to go and regroup and file afresh. On the premise that the Industrial Court is a court of equity, Justice Molomo granted the Okaile camp leave to withdraw the affidavits, but instructed them to have regularized their affidavits for re-filing on July 8 this year. Effectively, this means that if the BPL board still wants to proceed with disciplinary action against Mamelodi, it has to again seek authority from the BFA NEC which also has to meet and resolve to endorse any such decision by the league board to take action against the CEO.

CHRONOLOGY: On March 26, Okaile suspended the premier league CEO by phone and on March 29 the CEO was served with a suspension letter by a deputy sheriff. He was accused for misappropriating funds that amounted to over P6 million among other transgressions. On April 25, the suspended CEO filed an application with the High Court to declare his suspension unlawful. On May 9 however, the BPL Board chairperson Okaile summoned the CEO for a disciplinary hearing where he was slapped with about seven charges.

The hearing was set for May 12 but on that day, Mamelodi’s lawyers interdicted the hearing at the Industrial Court and the matter was set for this past Monday for the opposing parties to present their arguments. It was then that the affidavits deposed by Okaile and the Delegation of Authority signed by Sebego were deemed to be fallacious.  In the meantime, the order that Okaile cannot call Mamelodi for a disciplinary hearing still stands, but Mamelodi continues to enjoy his salary without doing a thing for the league as he remains suspended. The matter resumes for hearing on August 23.

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Well-endowed Galaxy

Isaac Pheko

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FIRE POWER: Galaxy await Rollers

It is only the third week of the 2018/19 BTC Premiership and things are already heating up. Leading the charge is a marauding Jwaneng Galaxy who have already thrown a heavy-handed gauntlet at their rivals after recording a highly impressive 10 goals in just two games.

Galaxy’s intention has been made clear this season after leaving their first two opponents with bloody noses and tails tucked between their legs. The former Mascom Top 8 champions are in a relentless war path with the premier league title on their radar. This weekend, Galaxy host bitter rivals Township Rollers in Jwaneng in what is expected to be a football grudge match. Rollers have been a prickly thorn in Galaxy’s quest to claim the premiership silverware for the past two seasons.

This means the weekend fixture will be the most compelling of the new season. However, Galaxy seem to be packing more heat coming into the Saturday fixture having annihilated both Prisons XI (5-0) and Security Systems (5-0). Galaxy are currently occupying first position alongside second place Sharps Shooting Stars at six points apeice. The game against Popa this weekend will be a litmus test for Galaxy. If the Debswana backed side beats the reigning champions they will establish themselves as potential contenders for the 2018/19 title honours. On the flipside, a loss against Rollers will only mean the first two games were short of a bluff.

Pound for pound Mapalastina have the best squad in the domestic league but a new look Galaxy are well endowed in their own right. In an interview this week, Galaxy spokesperson Tankiso Morake said they played Rollers three times last season and all the games ended in a draw. “Remember we played Rollers in the Mascom Top 8 in Lobatse,” an up-beat Morake said. Morake further said they expected their new coach to receive his permits and start manning the bench when they play Rollers this weekend. “Our supporters have told us that they expected nothing less than league honours this season.” Morake attributes the positive result to a great pre-season.

“You will remember that there was a fake list in the media indicating that we have parted ways with most of our players. You can see that the likes of Ayanda Molefe and Isaac Paeye are still part of the team. There is a lot of competition in our team because we mostly have young players in the team including Lebogang Ditsile who played at Highlands Park in South Africa.” Furthermore, Morake conceded that Rollers are a strong team but argued that they will win the games from the technical bench. “You will remember that we started the last season back tracking but this time things are different.”

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Bridge team fails to impress

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The local team comprised of under 16, under 21 and under 26 categories. In an interview this week, BBF spokesperson Mbakiso Malilo did not mince his words when he described the team’s performance as terrible with all the three teams failing to qualify for the quarter finals.

“Making it to the quarter finals was our target following a good showing in the online championship by our junior team. I believe we can work on improving the playing standard for kids (under 16) as they still stand a chance to compete in the under 21 and under 26 categories for future championships,” he said.

However, Malilo explained that the local youth team gained a lot of experience as the played against more advanced rivals. Quizzed on challenges they faced with a predominantly youthful team, Malilo said: “the trip was too long and for most of the players this was their first experienced of travelling such a great distance. The jet lag ended up affecting the team’s performance as they showed signs of fatigue.” Malilo said their objective was to train young players and give them exposure to the game early on.

“We managed to network with bridge power houses like the Netherlands. Official from the European country expressed interest in training our kids through bridge clinics and enhancing the standard of play and bidding.” Malilo said they selected the junior team that travelled to China through local tournament that was held in Gaborone earlier this year. The tournament was attend by mostly tertiary school students and out of school youth in the junior and youngsters’ category. For the under 16 category we invited student from secondary schools.

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