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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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Local boxers ready for regional tourney

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CONFIDENT: Newly unveiled LOC is confident that the regional tourney will be a success

Botswana Boxing Association (BoBA) this past Tuesday officially unveiled a Local Organising Committee (LOC) that has been tasked with preparing for the upcoming Zone 4 championships that are to be held in Botswana.

The team is headed by celebrated boxing legend France Mabiletsa and is expected to host more than seven countries that are expected to descend in Botswana in the next two weeks. Officiating at the event, Botswana National Sport Commission (BNSC) Vice Chairperson Tsoseletso Magang said that BoBA officials should refrain from interfering with the task given to the LOC. She noted that many sporting codes often give the LOC the responsibility of delivering an event only for the code members to bully themselves into the affairs of the LOC and disrupts the preparations.

Magang warned that there is little time left before the tournament, and with that, the LOC will need all the support to ensure they deliver a successful event. She noted that hosting the regional tournament gave Botswana an upper hand of fielding more athletes that will have an opportunity to qualify for the Africa Championships scheduled for later this year.

For his part, Mabiletsa noted that they have already hit the ground running and confident that the event will be a success. The competition will be hosted in Botho College and they are in talks with Ave Maria to accommodate athletes. “Life will be made much easier for athletes if they are accommodated at Ave Maria because it is closer to the competition venue,” he said.

He explained that the zone is made up of 12 countries of Lesotho, Angola, Malawi, South Africa and Zimbabwe among others. However as of this past Tuesday, only seven had confirmed participation and they expect to finalize the logistics by the end of the week.

Meanwhile, a formidable national boxing team of eight men captained by Mmusie Tswiiige (60kg) and three ladies led by Lethabo Modukanele (48kg) will represent the country at the regional tournament.

According to the Head coach Lechedzani ‘Master’ Luza, the team has been on camp for the past three weeks. In his opinion, the team is ready to compete. “Generally, they are not bad, we need to work on a few things such as power and speed on some boxers, the defence department is also not bad,” he said.

Luza noted that Botswana has always established herself as a powerhouse and there is no doubt that majority, if not all team Botswana members will win a medal during competition time. He explained that the competition was one of the many leading to Tokyo 2020 Olympics and will give local boxers an opportunity to qualify for the Olympics.

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Branch does it again

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Local motorcycle racing sensation Ross Branch has continued his stellar form after securing overall second position in the internationally renowned Merzouga Rally. The race came to a conclusion this past weekend and Branch has proven his mettle amongst some of the best rally motorcyclists in the world.

The podium finish is expected to take the Dakar Rally racer to even greater heights in the hugely competitive and expensive sport. It has been barely two months since the talented local rider emerged as a top class racer at the Dakar Rally where he finished 13 and walked away with the fastest rookie of the 10 000 km odyssey.

At Merzouga, things seemed a little better for the rider as the terrain offer sand and rock as opposed to the treacherous dunes in Dakar. Branch who was using a different navigation system in Morocco showed his pace after winning the fourth stage of the race last week Thursday.

Prior to his podium finish Branch said Merzouga was only his second rally and he was willing to learn from some of the top riders in the sport. The KTM 450cc rider said he was now setting his sights on other major races including the 2020 Dakar Rally that has been confirmed for Saudi Arabia.

Since returning from the Dakar, Ross has stayed busy and competed at the cross-country championship in Kwazulu Natal in South Africa, where he finished fourth. The local rider is expected to compete at the upcoming 1000 km Toyota Desert Race, an event he has won more than seven times.

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