Plans by Gambling Authority Botswana to start the multi-billion pula national lottery License application got off on the wrong footing when they were dragged to court long before they could start adjudication of the tender bids. The licence to operate a National Lottery is a mouth-watering tender, which has pitted some of the country’s powerful politicians and businessmen against each other. The tender, which was expected to be awarded by September this year has suffered a setback as one of the bidders has applied for an interdiction, restraining the authority from proceeding and/ or accessing and processing the lottery licence. A citizen owned company, Ad Infinitum Lottery (PTY) Limited last week appeared before Justice Letsididi seeking the court to interdict and restrain Gambling Authority from proceeding with awarding of the Botswana National Lottery License Applications. In their founding affidavit, Ad Infinitum Lottery through its Managing Director Ogone Gaboutloele informed the court that they were denied opportunity to submit some of their application document by officials from the Gambling Authority on the basis that they arrived late at the submission venue though the first document was submitted within the stipulated time. They argue that it was wrong for the Gambling Authority to refuse to accept their document as it was in contrary to the procedure and arrangements sent to them by the applicant. “If the first box is accepted prior to the cutoff time, the applicant shall be entitled to unload or deliver the remainder of the containers containing its application, notwithstanding the fact that this beyond the cut-off time,” reads part of their affidavit. Ad Infinitum Lottery said that they raised a concern with the authorities and Gambling Authority and asked them to reverse their decision not to accept the balance of their application. They invoked the National Lottery Application Process Agreement and RFA and called upon the Gambling Authority to appoint an independent arbitrator in order to hear and determine their grievance which was agreed to. “The respondent has advised that it will appoint an arbitrator to preside over the matter. No definite time frames for such appointment have been given to state that the respondent will endeavour to have the arbitration commence as early as January 2018. The undertaking notwithstanding, there has not been any further communication from the respondent in this regard,” reads the affidavit.
Gaboutloeloe stated that due to lack of communication from the respondent and their previous attempt to disqualify them, they don’t want to leave their fate at the hands of Gambling Authority. Failure by Gambling Authority to communicate led to Ad Infinitum to approach the court seeking the interdiction. In responding affidavit, Gambling Authority Chief Operations Officer Potlako Mawande said that the applicant knew as far back as three months that some of the documents relating to its tender were not accepted and wondered why they had to wait for three months to bring the application. “In addition, the applicant was informed as early as the 14th of December 2017 that the respondent would not be making an undertaking to stop the process as their request. There is no explanation whatsoever as to why the applicant has waited for an excess of one month, to launch this application to interdict the process,” reads their responding affidavit. Gambling Authority in their answering affidavit argue that Ad Infinitum has failed to state in detail, he circumstances upon which the matter is urgent and why they would not be able to obtain redress in the event the matter is heard in due course. They prayed to the court to dismiss the matter for lack of urgency with costs.
Judgement is expected to be delivered on the 27th of February 2017.