Monday, August 11, 2014

Maun Educational Park not fraudulently obtained

Lands and Housing Minister Lebonaamang Mokalake has dismissed allegations of fraud by Tawana Land Board in transferring Maun Educational Park (MEP) into government ownership.
Answering questions in parliament on Tuesday, Mokalake said there is no fraud committed by the land board when leasing the land to government. “There is no sanction on Tawana Land Board,” said Mokalake.
Mokalake was answering Kgosi Tawana Moremi who is also the Maun West legislator.
In an ongoing tussle with government over MEP, Moremi asked Mokalake to explain whether the Land Board has documentation showing that MEP was the property of Fauna Conservation Society.
He asked the minister if he was aware that the same board had no record of transfer with regard to the MEP. He had also asked if any sanction was available for the fraud of the land board on the community of Ngamiland. The minister said the land board does not have any documentation that shows that the park was a property of Fauna Conservation Society.
“The land board does not have a record of the transfer with regard to Maun Educational Park,” he said.
Parliament learnt that the park was leased to government through a memorandum of agreement of lease.
“This was not in any way a transfer, but an allocation to the government. The certificate signed by Tawana Land Board chairman is that no customary rights existed with respect to the piece of land described in the lease,” he said.
Maun Educational Park has been a bone of contention between Batawana and government.
Last month, Voice Money reported that in October last year, Moremi approached the Office of the President seeking a reversal of the ownership of both the Maun Educational Park and the Moremi Game Reserve.
Batawana wanted the ownership to be handed back to Ngamiland Fauna Conservation Society which had been administering both areas on behalf of the tribe since 1963.
Batawana’s efforts to claim their property suffered a setback when government made some directives for some natural resources to be under government control.
In November 1971, the director of wildlife and national parks applied for additional land to increase the area of the Maun Zoological Park on behalf of the Fauna Conservation Society of Ngamiland.
The approval of the lease of the land was apparently communicated by the Tawana Land Board later in November 1972.
It is said the signing of the lease agreement did not entail any withdrawal of rights, hence Kgosi Letsholathebe or his successor were not consulted on such a matter.
To claim back their land, Batawana had a Kgotla meeting with the Minister of Environment, Wildlife and Tourism, Tshekedi Khama towards the end of last year.

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