The High Court has directed Botswana Public Officers Pensions Fund (BPOPF) to reinstate one of its Trustees following his expulsion in 2009 on claims that his involvement in politics is likely to harm the interests of the Fund.
WHY IS THIS IMPORTANT: The Board had on 16 October 2019 written a letter to Ketlhalefile Motshegwa - who represents the Botswana Land, Board Local Authorities and Health workers Union (BLLAHWU) in the BPOPF Board of Trustee - notifying him that the board has taken a decision to terminate his membership as a trustee because he was conflicted due to his contest for public political office to serve as a Member of Parliament in the 2019 General Election. Motshegwa was the Umbrella for Democratic Change (UDC) parliamentary candidate for Gaborone Bonnington South constituency.
WHAT DID MOTSHEGWA LAWYER SAY: Lawyers representing Motshegwa and BLLAHWU argued that BPOPF acted in bad faith in terminating his occupancy as a Trustee. Lawyers also said Motshegwa was not given an audience prior to the Board decision.
WHAT DID THE JUDGE SAY: Lobatse High Court judge, Justice Mercy Garekwe ruled that expelling Motshegwa was unlawful. The judge said BPOPF failed to explain how individual expression of interest in running for a political office presents a political exposure to the Fund. Garekwe said there is no law that barring people in Boards from running for political office. He added that the Financial Intelligence Act suggests that institutions should be cautious when dealing with politically exposed persons.
He said the Board also failed to provide clear evidence that Motshegwa entered in to transactions with the BOPOPF and whether he competed against financial and political interests of the BPOPF as well as whether he benefited personally from dealings with the BPOPF. Motshegwa lost to Christian Greeff of the Botswana Democratic Party.