MOTHER LOSES PHAKALANE HOME AS DEBSWANA SELLS PROPERTY TO REPAY DAUGHTER’S SCHOLARSHIP
A- 55 -year -old Gaborone woman whose daughter failed to pay back a Debswana scholarship was made homeless last week when the mining company auctioned her house to recoup their costs.
After she failed in her attempts in court to convince Debswana to give her two more years to settle the P578 210.37.debt, the devastated pensioner Violet Mosele, buried her face in her cupped hands in contemplation of her loss.
Mosele found herself in the sticky legal predicament after binding herself as surety and co-principal debtor for her daughter, Kesego Mosele’s scholarship.
Kesego was awarded the Debswana scholarship in 2002 to pursue a Bachelor’s Degree in Medicine at Southampton University in the United Kingdom.
According to evidence provided by Debswana lawyers, the mining company had undertaken to pay for all expenses for tuition, examination fees and all ancillary expenses including accommodation, travel, stationery and maintenance allowances.
The scholarship conditions were such that when she completed her education, Kesego would give Debswana the first priority to employ her and that she would start repaying the company within sixty days after completion of her studies.
When she completed her studies in 2007, Kesego was employed by Debswana as a Learner Official under the Medical Department at Orapa and Letlhakane mines.
Debswana Legal Advisor Ndiye Letsholathebe told the court in his answering affidavit that Kesego breached her agreement with the company in June 2010 when she resigned from her employment and terminated her bond obligation service period of 27 months.
In consequence Kesego Mosele and her mother Violet became liable to (Debswana) in terms of the agreement in the sum of P761, 883.47 plus interest.
In November 2011 Debswana issued Mosele with a writ of summons to which she responded arguing that it was irregular as no power of attorney or resolution had been filed. When the matter went to court in May 2012 Mosele withdrew her argument.
She was advised by Justice Mothobi to not allow her daughter to place her assets in danger of seizure.
The judge also advised Mosele to get her daughter to come back from Australia and resume her employment with Debswana to pay her bond obligation.
In July 2012 Mosele made a payment of P422,000.00 and proposed to Debswana to allow her to settle the balance in two years.
Debswana turned down the proposal arguing that they wanted a more expeditious method of payment and Mosele was informed that her Phakalane home would be attached if she failed to make payment.
Early last week the Deputy Sheriff attached the property and sold it for P761, 883. 47, the exact amount the mother- daughter duo owed after legal costs and interest charges were factored into their P578 210.37 debt balance.
When she approached the High court on Friday with an urgent application to stay the order to attach her property, Mosele was devastated as Justice Mothobi dismissed the application and put her house under the hammer.
Her lawyer, Unity Dow of Dow and Associates’ pleas for the court to exercise its discretion in favour of Mosele fell on death ears.
“We further submit that all the applicant is asking is that the door not be shut in her face, that she be given a chance to argue the rescission and application, which application, if successful, will give her a chance to defend a judgment that was granted in her absence based on a claim to which she has a defence,” Dow submitted.
Justice Mothobi however ruled that Mosele had stripped away protection for her property but said she still had the alternative to take her daughter to court.
“It’s not like she does not have any remedy at law. She still has the right to sue her daughter and save her property,” he said before dismissing the application with costs.
In an interview with The Voice, Mosele said she had lost a huge investment and that she had been hurt by Justice Mothobi’s suggestion that she should sue her own daughter.
“That property was an investment that was closest to my heart.
I had pleaded with them to give me two more years to settle the debt, but that was all I could do and it was up to them to consider my plea.
I’m a Christian and I can’t stop loving my daughter because of material stuff.
The Bible teaches us that we should forgive and love one another and if I were to sue my daughter as the judge suggested, what more would I do to my neighbor,” said Mosele adding that she was now homeless and relied on relatives to take care of her as she rebuilds her shattered life.
Efforts to get a comment from Kesego in Autralia where she is currently married drew a blank as her phone went unanswered for days.
WHAT DEBSWANA SAID
In her response to The Voice enquiries Debswana Group Public and Corporate Affairs Manager, Esther Kanaimba Senai said upon resignation, Kesego was advised of the balance of the debt which was 27 months service or P761, 883. 47 and that it had become due and payable in terms of the scholarship agreement. “As the payment was not forthcoming, despite demand, the company approached the High Court for relief.
In addition, the debt attracted interest plus legal fees.
The matter came up for roll-call on 10th February 2012 and was postponed to 25th May 2012 to allow the parties to settle.”
At the time of the court hearing, Kanaimba-Senai said, no settlement was reached and that Debswana sought an order for, and obtained judgment in default on 25th June 2012. She said Kesego’s mother had been aware of the judgment and the fact of her indebtedness, which she demonstrably accepted.
“Although she paid part of the debt amounting to almost half of the amount owing (which included interest and legal fees), she did not make a firm undertaking as to when she will pay the balance of P578 210.37.
Despite efforts to engage the debtor, she was non-committal about payment of the balance owing save to say she could clear it within two years yet she was unclear about when exactly she would pay during those two years.”
On several occasions, Kanaimba-Senai said, Debswana sought to explore and hopefully agree to reasonable terms of payment with Kesego and her mother.
“Despite the fact that we could have immediately enforced the judgment upon obtaining it in June 2012, we spent the interim period seeking alternative means of ensuring satisfaction of the debt without success.”
She said it was only in January 2013 that Debswana sought to proceed and sell the debtor’s immoveable property and that it was only then that she made an application to court for rescission of judgment, which, as the court pronounced was ‘without basis’.