Themba Joina’s inheritance blow

*Court shuts out politician from late daughter’s P600 000 pension

Marx Engels Lenin Stalin (MELS) President Themba Joina is contemplating his next move after losing his litigation against Barclays Bank Staff Pension Fund (BBSPF) in the Francistown High court this week.

The prominent lawyer and socialist politician instituted legal action against BBSPF in November last year after he found out he was not included in the list of his late daughter, Motlalepula Senne’s beneficiaries.

Joina’s daughter, an employee of Barclays Bank Botswana and married to Obert Senne had accumulated P526, 932.81 at the time of her death.

Joina who argued that he took care of his daughter when she was sick and even paid for her medical bills, said he was therefore entitled to 15 percent of her pension fund.

Opposing the application, BBSPF Principal Officer, Berlemina Ditirwa told the court that BBSPF is a staff benefits fund and should not be confused with a pension fund.

She said the board decided to award the benefits to Senne’s grandmother who was under her care at the time of her passing and five other people, excluding Joina.

Ditirwa insisted the benefits were distributed to people who have no means of supporting themselves.

On the other hand Joina argued that BBSPF acted in bad faith in their decision to cut him off from his daughter’s benefits, as some of those who benefited were not entirely dependent on the deceased.

Delivering his judgment this Tuesday, Francistown High Court Judge President, Lot Moroka, stated that the court cannot substitute board decisions on its own and that Joina was not dependent on the deceased as he runs his own law firm.

“The plaintiff also failed to prove the balance of probabilities that the decision by the board to exclude him from the beneficiaries was wrong and unlawful,” said Moroka.

In an interview with The Voice, a seemingly disappointed Joina said the judgment was unfair.

“The defence witness was just the Chief Executive Officer. She said in her evidence that she had referred the matter to the board of trustees. Now the board of trustees did not come to court to tell the court how they arrived at the process of distribution that they arrived at,” said Joina.

Asked whether he intended to appeal the judgment, Joina said he was still consulting and will let this publication know his next move soon.

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