- Legal representation lets him down

Onkemetse Kesupile (39) of Molapowabojang feels let down by Legal Guard Botswana and wants the entity to pay him compensation for the loss suffered.

He has no money and cannot afford a lawyer to take Legal Guard to task.

In January 2015, Kesupile bought a kombi for P75 000 at Kobe Trading Company in Mogoditshane. About a week later, the kombi started giving him problems and he took it back to Kobe Trading.

He was advised to continue monitoring the vehicle. However, the problems persisted. He would later find out that the car was never serviced before leaving the dealership.

“Yes we do admit that the car was not serviced and we paid him money to go service the car. We also paid him around P5 000 as compensation for time lost, while dealing with service issues,” Kobe Trading Manager Sonny Gaboratanelwe said in response to The Midweek Sun's inquiry on the matter this week.

He added that Kesupile then disappeared only to return a month later claiming that the car was still giving him problems.

“We then decided that he be given a new kombi but he declined the offer, saying he wants to be compensated for time lost. He came to us demanding huge amounts and we were not able to meet his demands,” Gaboratanelwe said.

Kesupile refutes this. “They are not telling the truth, I never declined to take the offered kombi, how can I refuse such an offer,” Kesupile wondered.

Realising that there was no end to the kombi feud, Kesupile approached Legal Guard Botswana in November 2015 asking that they intervene in the matter.

According to documents seen by this publication, Legal Guard wrote a letter of demand to Kobe Trading in November 2019 asking for an exchange for a fully operational kombi or a refund of the purchase value.

In addition, they demanded payment of service costs in the sum of P930, and loss of business by virtue of the kombi not operating at P24 000 and modification costs made to the car at P7 980. In total Legal Guard demanded around P108 000 from Kobe Trading.

Kobe Trading responded through their lawyers Piyush Sharma Attorneys & Co Notaries denying Kesupile’s allegations.

“The Mileage at the time of delivery was 155 806 kms, your client used the vehicle and continues to do so. The mileage noted last by our client on the vehicle was 210 630 kms on the odometer.

“The last time our client noted the mileage, your client had travelled 54 824kms with the vehicle and was long out of warranty period of 1 month. As consequence to the above, our client denies liability towards yours and distance itself from the action of your client,” Kobe Trading lawyers said.

Kesupile contends that this was the last time Legal Guard did anything about his matter. “They just withdrew based on the untruthful statements made by Kobe Trading lawyers,” he cried, further denying that the mileage on the kombi was above 210 000kms.

“The last time I checked, the mileage was at 190 268kms and only because I used it from January until May 2015 when I decided to park it. I continued using it at their instruction that I keep monitoring how the car performs,” Kesupile said.

After struggling for five years trying to put some cash together, he finally managed to approach an independent lawyer for assistance. The lawyers helped him draft a letter to Legal Guard demanding payment for P108 000 as his matter with Kobe Trading had now prescribed because they failed to institute proceedings in a court of law.

In March 2021, Legal Guard responded saying following the response from Piyush Sharma Attorneys and Co, Kesupile’s claim was assessed and a decision not to cover his claim was made. They added that a formal letter was written to Kesupile in January 2016 followed by a face-to-face consultation to explain their decision.

“Yes they did give me that letter in 2016,” admitted Kesupile.

Legal Guard said Kesupile never appealed the repudiation letter. No action was also taken by him until he wrote a demand letter seeking to sue them five years later.

“Legal Guard has since found that the repudiation letter was proper. Legal Guard covers members in their individual and personal capacity. The minibus which was the subject matter of your claim was not registered in your personal names or individual capacity but it was registered under a business name.”

“This policy provides cover for the insured in his/her personal capacity. The policy excludes cover for companies,” reads Legal Guard response.

“Legal Guard is not being honest, the kombi is in my names, what they saw is a lease of permit. Receipts from Kobe Trading show that I bought that Kombi myself. Also the documents I have from them say nothing about personal capacities and business representation,” answered Kesupile.

Further, Legal Guard said Kesupile’s claim had no prospects of success as he failed to lodge his claim within the required time frame, saying he bought the minibus in January 2015 and its warranty ended a month later in February. But he lodged his claim with them nine months later in November.

“Legal Guard does not accept any liability for your claims stated in your demand letter and any lawsuit against Legal Guard will be defended.”

An aggrieved Kesupile believes that Legal Guard is unfair on him. “They told me I have a strong case against Kobe Trading, they even wrote to Kobe, why did they not dismiss me in the first place? Why did it have to take Kobe Trading responding to our demands for them to pull out? Those people contradict themselves,” he said.

Kesupile is the family breadwinner and only got his current job in 2017 and had thought the kombi business would augment his salary. The kombi is now parked and gathering dust, an investment he made with the intention to create another source of income for his family!