Compliments of the New Year!
Looking back at 2018, undoubtedly the highlight for the firm was moving into our new offices in the Central Business District, after being in the Main Mall for over 30 years. While moving into new offices comes with its challenges, including dealing with snags associated with any newly constructed building, we have settled in well and are happy with our new location.
We continue to empower our young lawyers with the necessary continuous professional training. In this regard, Namie Modiri, an associate in our commercial department, was placed on attachment for three months with our associate law firm in South Africa, DLA Piper SA. Moagi Moloi, an associate in our litigation department, attended the DLA Piper Training Academy in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania.
From a national perspective, on the 1st April 2018 Dr. Mokgweetsi Masisi was inaugurated the fifth President of the Republic of Botswana. Since his inauguration, he has made the rule of law one of the major priorities of his Presidency. In his inauguration speech, the President said “Botswana prides itself in upholding the rule of law, good governance and respect for human rights, and will continue to do so.” This has been a common theme in his speeches. In a speech to the Swiss business community in October 2018, he stated that Botswana was “addicted” the rule of law.
Soon after his inauguration, the President appointed His Lordship Justice Terrence Rannoane the Chief Justice to replace Chief Justice Dibotelo who retired.
In terms of new legislation, it appears that Government placed a particular focus on strengthening the laws relating to money laundering, illicit transfer of funds and tax evasion. In June Parliament passed the Financial Intelligence (Amendment) Act and regulations. In December the Income Tax (Amendment) Bill No. 35 of 2018 was published in the Government Gazette. The Bill sets out to regulate issues relating to transfer pricing, thus fulfilling part of Botswana’s obligations as a member of the Base Erosion and Profit Shifting (BEPS) Inclusive Framework.
Other notable legislation includes the Trust Property Control Act, which has introduced legislation relating to trusts for the first time and the Transfer Duty (Amendment) Bill, which has generated a lot of debate and interest, especially insofar as it provides for transfer duty of 30% to be levied on purchases of property by non-citizens.
Another notable highlight for the year was the Mergermarket 2018 Mergers and Acquisitions league in which DLA Piper were officially the most active M&A law firm in 2018 for both the Middle East & Africa and Africa alone. This complements DLA Piper’s number one position globally and in Europe.
With 2018 behind us, we look forward to 2019 being a good, productive and fulfilling year for all.