A picture perfect dream of reading a book in the leafy shade in front of his P1 million retirement home in Tati Siding turned into a nightmare for duped British native, Jeremy Piers Robertson.
The 57-year-old Londoner has applied to court in a desperate attempt to recoup P2.33 million from his ex-girlfriend Simakahale Ndlovu, a naturalised Motswana from Zimbabwe.
It seems the Francistown resident did not just break Robertson’s heart, she broke his bank as well.
The Englishman had envisioned escaping the cold of home for the heat of Botswana, where he intended to spend the rest of his days in relative comfort with the love of his life.
Ndlovu, however, had other ideas.
Robertson claims she squandered the millions he sent her, money which was meant to go towards building the couple’s dream house.
Giving evidence at Francistown High Court before Judge Tshegofatso Mogomotsi on Wednesday morning, Robertson revealed he first met Ndlovu during a holiday to Zimbabwe with workmates in December 2010.
The couple hit it off immediately and started a long-distance relationship, with Robertson regularly travelling back to Francistown over the next five years to see his lover.
“In 2012 we discussed building a house together and getting married. However, I was unable to sell my property in London to finance the project,” explained the Briton, who worked at a Car Parts Distribution Centre in London.
Temporarily put on hold, the dream was ignited again three years later when the UK Government passed a law that anyone aged 55 and above could cash in their pensions.
“I turned 55 in 2016 and cashed in both of my pensions. I sent the money to her account in two batches, first I sent £50, 000 and later £17, 000 which added up to a little over P1 million,” said Robertson, adding that the cash was specifically for the construction of the house.
“We discussed that the house should be four bedrooms, a large kitchen and a tree in front. I like to sit outside in the shade and read my books.”
Committing completely to the project, Robertson put his London house up for sale, intending to retire and relocate to Botswana.
“It was bought in September 2017 and I transferred £100, 000 into my girlfriend’s account. The money was for house features, furnishing and purchasing a car,” he testified, causing many who had crammed into court to shake their heads in apparent disbelief at the Englishman’s folly.
It was after this last deposit (worth about One-and-half-million Pula) that Robertson noticed a change in Ndlovu’s attitude towards him.
“She didn’t update me on the project and when I talked to her she became mono-syllabic; it became difficult to get information from her until I decided to come to Francistown to find out what was going on”
The Briton said when he arrived here, his girlfriend had just purchased a brand new Ford Ranger worth P440, 000.
“She was cold. There was no intimacy and she acted as if she wanted to get rid of me. It was at that moment that I realised that the relationship was over.”
Robertson then reported the matter to the police as he was worried his life savings had been misused.
He was right to be worried.
The investigating officer Detective Boitumelo Nalebomo told court that upon their investigations they discovered Ndlovu had lied to the unsuspecting Robertson, falsely telling him that she owned a residential plot in Tati Siding.
“There are no such records at Tati Landboard. In fact there are only documents submitted for change of ownership and the purchase of the plot. The defendant admitted in her statement that she used the money sent by Robertson to purchase the plot, which is yet to be changed into her names as she still has an outstanding balance,” revealed the Detective.
Nalebomo further stated that when they began their investigation, Ndlovu’s bank account had a balance of P380, 000, which she was ordered by court not to spend.
It was an order Ndlovu ignored, going on a spending spree that left her account with just P1, 257.
Holding the local lady in contempt of court for her actions, Mogomotsi ruled, “The defendant is precluded from advancing any defence in the matter and against the applicant until she has restored the sum of P380,000 into the bank account.”
On hearing this, Ndlovu, who had been sitting quietly on one of the court’s front benches, promptly got up and left the room.
She was further interdicted and restrained from disposing of the Ford Ranger, and ordered to park it at the applicant’s attorney’s office pending the judgement.
Ndlovu was also ordered to surrender title documents for the Tati Siding plot and pay costs of the application on attorney.
The former couple are due back in court on 7 February 2019 when Mogomotsi will pass judgement.