Directorate of Intelligence and Security Services (DIS) agent Welheminah Maswabi code named ‘Butterfly’, has this week through her attorney, Uyapo Ndadi wrote to Director General of the DIS and Attorney General, a statutory notice of intention to sue in terms of Section 4 of the State Proceedings Act.
According to the notice ‘Butterfly’ is seeking a court order declaring that; the decision of the Director General of the Directorate of Intelligence and Security Services (DIS) contained in a letter dated the 25th November 2019 and the 9th December 2019 stopping her Fixed Overtime Allowance be reviewed, set aside and be declared a nullity because it is unlawful;
Furthermore, that the decision of the Director General still contained in the aforesaid letters, stating that Maswabi should not leave her duty station, without prior authorisation is unlawful, and ultra vires the Constitution of Botswana as it interferes with Maswabi’s right to privacy and also imposes a new term in the contract of employment devoid of her consent.
Butterfly also wants an order that the act to withhold half of her salary and other emoluments on the 14th January 2020 leaving her with a net pay of P0. 00 is unlawful, irrational and unconscionable, consequently embarrassing her financially. Again she wants the decision of the Directorate General or any officer acting under him be corrected or set aside and that her full benefits be paid out forthwith and henceforth.
According to Attorney Uyapo Ndadi, her client was not consulted about the variation of her benefits and the variation is certainly without her consent, which renders the decision unlawful. “The allowances, including overtime allowance, are fixed and not dependent on whether Maswabi has worked or not”.
Ndadi wrote that Section 35 (3) of the Public Service Act provides that an employee’s salary shall not be withheld during the period of his or her suspension. Section 16 (2) of the Employment Act provides that it is the duty of the employer to provide work to the employee and if he fails to provide work the employee shall be paid wages at the same rate as if the employee had performed a full day’s work, whether the employee is or is not released from the workplace. Section 79 (1) of the Employment Act provides that deductions that are not authorized by the employee are prohibited except those provided by the law.
Uyapo Ndadi submits that what also emerges from Maswabi’s advice slip shows that the employer has not paid the Income Tax on the half salary paid, which is also unlawful as it is contrary to the Income Tax and Employment Act. “The claimant is for no unlawful reason being financially embarrassed and her credit worthiness compromised because she would not be able to service her monthly stop orders for loans and other commitments. The claimant hereby intends to institute the proceedings seeking the above orders after the expiry of the statutory notice and will however on an urgent basis seek an interim order compelling full payments in the meanwhile”.
For the avoidance of doubt, Maswabi, if the government does not pay her full salary and benefits by Friday, 24th January 2020 (yesterday), will have no choice but to approach court for a remedy. In a letter dated 25th November 2019, bearing DIS Director General, Brigadier Peter Magosi’s signature, the third paragraph reads, “During the period of interdiction, you shall continue to draw your full salary and all benefits attached thereto except overtime allowance. You are further advised that during the period of interdiction your conduct shall remain subject to Intelligence and Security Services Act and other policy documents governing your employment with the Directorate of Intelligence and Security.
During the period of interdiction, you shall not leave your duty station without prior authorisation. Upon receipt of this letter of interdiction, you are ordered to surrender to your immediate supervisor your identity card and any firearm and ammunition that have been issued to you”. On the 29th November 2019, Maswabi wrote back to Magosi acknowledging receipt of the interdiction letter, however she raised several issues amongst them; questioning the legal basis of stopping her fixed allowance.
According to Maswabi, in law, no such adverse decision is acceptable and Magosi’s decision is consequently unlawful and thus she is affording him the opportunity to reverse it. “My overtime allowance enjoys the same protection in law as my scarce skill allowance,” she said. Welheminah Maswabi also dismissed Magosi’s submissions that she has in her possession a firearm and ammunition. “I advise that I am not in possession of any” she affirmed.
In a letter dated 9th December 2019, responding to Maswabi’s issues Magosi said, payment of overtime is governed by the Conditions of Service (“Conditions”) of the Directorate of Intelligence and Security (“Directorate”). In particular Section 8.2 of the Conditions state that Officers of the Directorate are required to work excess hours and they would earn a fixed overtime allowance. If at any time any employee is continuously not working the overtime, they will cease to earn the allowance.
“It follows then that since you have been relieved from the exercise of powers and carrying out duties as an Officer of the Directorate you will not be required to work overtime and thus not eligible to earn it. I cannot over emphasize the need to abide by the provisions of the Security and Intelligence Act as well as all policy documents governing your employment with the Directorate. If for any reason you have not followed the contents of your letter of interdiction I urge you to do so immediately,” wrote Magosi.
In another letter dated 4th February 2019, confirming Welheminah Maswabi’s confirmation of employment to her bank (FNBB), it states that she earns P 276 780.00 per annum and her allowances are fixed. Welheminah Maswabi’s advisory slip dated 13 December 2019, attached as part of court documents, shows that her basic salary amounts to P 23, 236. 00, Overtime Allowance P 5, 047. 00, Scarce Skill Allowance P8, 832. 80, Special Duty Allowance P 146. 33 and plain clothes allowance P195, 15 and her monthly total earnings was P39, 457. 22.
After total deductions of P17, 089. 42 her net salary was P 22, 357.85. Another salary advice dated 14th January 2020 shows that Maswabi’s basic salary after her salary was slashed by half was P 12, 618. 00 and after total deductions her net salary was P0. 00.
In a classic and shocking case of disgrace and dishonour to this country, the law enforcement agencies are currently struggling to cover up a damaging and humiliating scandal of having conspired to forge the signature of a Palapye Chief Magistrate, Rebecca Motsamai in an unlawful acquisition of the much-publicised 2019 warrant of arrest against Isaac Kgosi, the former director of the Directorate of Intelligence Services (DIS).
The cloak-and-dagger arrest was led by the DIS director, Brigadier Peter Magosi supported by the Botswana Police, Botswana Defence Force (BDF), with the Botswana Unified Revenue Services (BURS) which accused Kgosi of tax evasion, in the backseat.
Umbrella for Democratic Change (UDC) constituent members are struggling to reach an agreement over the allocation of wards for the imminent ward by-elections across the country.
Despite a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between Umbrella for Democratic Change (UDC), Botswana Patriotic Front (BPF) and Alliance for Progressives (AP) are said to be active, but the nitty-gritties are far from being settled.
The eight bye-elections will be a precursor of a somewhat delayed finalisation of the brittle MoU. The three parties want to draw a plan on how and who will contest in each of the available wards.
This publication has gathered that the negotiations will not be a run off the mill because there is already an impasse between the Botswana Congress Party (BCP) which is a UDC constituent and AP (currently negotiating to join umbrella).
The by-elections joint committee met last week at Cresta President Hotel in a bid to finalise allocation but nothing tangible came out of the gathering, sources say.
The cause of the stalemate according to those close to events, is the Metsimotlhabe Ward which the two parties have set their eyes on.
In 2019, he ward was won by Botswana Democratic Party’s (BDP) Andrew Sebobi who unfortunately died in a tragic accident in February last year.
Sebobi had convincingly won by 1 109 votes in the last elections; and was trailed by Sephuthi Thelo of the UDC trailed him with 631 votes; while Alliance for Progressives’ Innocent Moamogwe got 371 votes.
Thelo is a BCP candidate and as per UDC norm, incumbency prevails meaning that the BCP will contest since they were runners up. On the other hand, AP has also raised its hand for the same.
“AP asked for it on the basis that they have a good candidate but BCP did not agree to that request also arguing they have a better contestant,” one UDC member confided to this publication.
Notwithstanding Metsimotlhabe Ward squabble, it is said the by-election talks are almost a done deal, with Botswana National Front (BNF) tipped to take Boseja South ward in Mochudi East constituency. Botswana Patriotic Front (BPF) will be awarded Tamasane Ward in Lerala/Maunatlala constituency, sources say.
“But the agreement has to be closed by National Executive Committee (NEC),” emphasized the informant.
The NEC is said to have been cautioned not to back the wrong horse but rather rate with reason and facts.
UDC President, Duma Boko has told this publication that, “allocation is complete with two wards already awarded but with only one yet to be finalized,” he could not dwell into much details as to which party got what and the reasons for the delay in finalisation.
Chairperson of the by-elections committee, Dr. Phenyo Butale responded to this publication regarding the matter: “As AP we contested and as you may be aware we signed the MoU with UDC and BPF to collaborate on bye-elections. The opposition candidate for all bye-elections will be agreed by these parties and that process is still ongoing,” he said when asked if AP is interested on the ward and how far with the talks on bye-elections.
Butale, a former Gaborone Central Member of Parliament, who is also AP Secretary General continued to say, “As the chairperson of the bye-elections committee we are still seized with that matter. We should also do some consultations with the local structures. Once the process is complete we will issue a notice for now we cannot talk about the other two while the other is still pending the other one”.
Butale further clarified: “There is no such thing as AP and BCP not in agreement. It is an issue of signatories discussing and determining the opposition candidates across the three wards.”
Apart from the three wards, there are five more council wards that UDC is yet to allocate to cooperating partners.
FROM PALAPYE MEET: BPP CAUTION NEC MEMBERS
With the UDC cheerful from last weekend’s meeting in Palapye, the meeting however was very tense on the side of both BCP and BNF, with only BPP flexing its muscle and even lashing out.
BCP going into the meeting, had promised to ask difficult questions to the UDC NEC.
BCP VP and also acting Secretary General, Dr. Kesitegile Gobotswang, presented their qualms which were addressed by UDC Chairperson Motlatsi Molapisi, informants say.
It is said Molapisi is fed up and concerned by some UDC members especially those in the NEC who ‘wash party’s dirty linen in public’.
Insiders say the veteran politician cautioned the NEC members that they “will not expel any party but individuals who tarnish the image of the UDC.”
It is not the first time BPP play a paternalistic role as it once expressed its discontent with BCP in 2020, saying it should never wash UDC linen in public.
At first it is said, BPP, the oldest political formation in Botswana, claims disappointment on BCP stance that UDC should be democratised especially by sharing their stand with the media. Again, BPP was not happy with BCP leader Dumelang Saleshando’s decision to air his personal views on social media regarding the merger of UDC party.
Botswana Police Service (BPS) Commissioner, Keabetswe Makgophe, has of late been dousing raging fires from various quarters of society following the infiltration of the police fingerprint system by the Directorate on Intelligence and Security (DIS), WeekendPost has learnt.
Fresh information gleaned from a number of impeccable sources, points to a pitiable working relationship between the two state organs. Cause of concern is the DIS continuous big brother role to an extent that it is now interfering with other institutions’ established mandates.
BPS which works closely with the DIS has been left exasperated by the works of the institution formed in 2008. It is said, the DIS through its Information Technology (IT) experts in collusion with some at BPS forensics department managed to infiltrate the Fingerprint system.
The infiltration, according to those in the know, was for the DIS to “teach a lesson” to some who are on their radar. It is said the DIS is playing and fighting dirty to win the fights they have lost before.
By managing to hack the police finger print system, a number of renowned businessmen and other politically exposed persons found their fingers in the system. What surprised the victims is the fact that they have never been charged of any wrongdoing by the police and they were left reeling in shock to learn that their fingers are on the data-base of criminals.
In fact, some of those who their fingerprints were falsely included in the records of those on the wrong side of law learnt later when other errands demanded their fingerprints.
“We learnt later when we had to submit and buy some documents and we were very shocked,” one politician who is also a businessman confided to this publication this week.
“We then learn that there are some fabricated criminality recorded for us, as to when did we commit those remained secret to the police, but then we had to engage our lawyers on the matter and that is when we were cleared,” said the politician-cum- tenderpreneur.
The lawyers have confirmed engaging the police and that the matters were settled in a gentlemen’s agreement and concluded.
All these happened behind the scenes with the police top brass oblivious only to be confronted by the irked lot, police sources also add. The victimized group who most of them have been fighting lengthy battles with the DIS read malice and did not blink when it was revealed that these were done by the DIS.
“And it was clear that they (DIS) are the ones in this dirty war which we don’t understand. Remember when we sue, it will be the Police at the courts not the DIS and that is why we agreed to a ceasefire more so they also requested that be kept under carpet,” said the victim.
Nonetheless, the Police through its spokesperson Assistant Commissioner, Dipheko Motube, briefly said: “we do not have any system that has been hacked.” On the other hand DIS mouthpiece Edward Robert was not in office this week to comment on the matter.
Reports however say DIS boss, Peter Magosi, who most of the victims accuse of the job, is said to have met his police counterpart Makgophe to put the matter to bed.
COVID-19 RAVAGES POLICE
As frontline workers, Police have not escaped the wrath of Covid-19. Already the numbers of those infected has reached the highest of high and they suggest that they be priorities on vaccine rollout.
“Our job is complicated, firstly we arrest including those who are non-compliant to Covid protocols and we go to accidents and many more. These put us at risk and it seems our superiors are not bothered,” said one police officer this week.
The cops further complain about that working spaces are small, as such expose them to contact the virus.
“Some tests positive and go for quarantine while the rest of the unit will be left without even test carried out. If at all the bosses are serious all the police officers should every now and then be subjected to testing or else we will be no more because of the virus,” added another officer based in Gaborone.
The government has since placed teachers on the priority list for the vaccines, it remains to be seen whether the police, who also man road blocks, will be considered.
“But our bosses should convince the country leadership about this, if not then we are doomed,” concluded a more senior officer.