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Olopeng, BQA sued for P18 million

SHARE   |   Wednesday, 02 October 2019   |   By Phillimon Mmeso
Olopeng Olopeng

International Aviation Solutions (IAS) -an aviation school owned by Thatayaone Seduke, a businessman connected to former DIS boss Isaac Kgosi through a company known as Defence Concepts has slapped the Minister of Tertiary Education, Research and Technology Thapelo Olopeng, his ministry and Botswana Qualification Authority (BQA) with an P18.7 million lawsuit.

According to court papers IAS through their attorneys, Modimo & Associates is accusing tertiary ministry and BQA of breach of contract after they transferred students to aviation schools in South Africa. IAS is demanding that they be paid P18 770.00 (eighteen million seven hundred and Seventy Thousand Pula) for the breach of contract and the resultant damages instigated against them. “This is in respect to the combination of services actually rendered and balance required for the completion of the training contract for students who were sponsored by the Government,” reads the notice.

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IAS argue that government has shirked on the obligations to pay for the said services. They are demanding that BQA be ordered to certify and confirm that they offer services and training of a specialized nature that is incompatible with, and impossible to accredit in terms of any existing BQA criteria.

Olopeng recently terminated government sponsorship contract with IAS and transferred all students who were being trained at the institution to aviation schools in neighbouring South Africa. The decision came after findings of an investigation conducted by a South African consulting firm, Botswana Qualification Authority and a legal team from Ministry of Tertiary Education. “Ordering that an apology be furnished by the ministry and Minister’s office in respect of utterances and dissemination of contemptuous, repulsive, misplaced incorrect information about client’s state of operations and manner of trade,” reads a statutory notice from Modimo &Associates.

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Olopeng was quoted saying that the school should improve, acquire sufficient resources to provide aviation training and comply with BQA regulations.  IAS argues that the election by government to transfer, relocate and migrate students enrolled for studies with the institution is a breach of contract thus damages are due and payable. “That the government be directed to enlist and enroll students for training at client’s institution,” reads the statutory notice, adding that alternatively IAS shall make a claim for damages as a result of inability to enlist and enroll students for training as a direct results of the actions of the Government of Botswana.

IAS, which is currently under judicial management, demand that BQA certify that their services are neither Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TEVT) as they are non-credit bearing nor TVET-consultancy as they exceed the duration classification on consultancy courses.

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Earlier in June, the High Court appointed Oliver Modise as the judicial manager of the institution.

The aviation institution believes that the challenges they are facing are inherently linked to the Government’s failure, refusal and/or neglect to perform their duties in terms of the parties’ agreement and meaningfully negotiate with them to identify a solution for their mutual benefit and interest. “There were officers who refused, neglected and or biasedly chose to take uninformed decision to the prejudice of client,” reads the notice, which further accuses the ministry’s Permanent Secretary Dr Theophilus Mooko of refusing to facilitate meetings with the minister but pushed students to demand for training in South Africa.

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