In an interview with WeekendPost this week, former President Lt Gen Seretse Khama Ian Khama took time to clear the mist surrounding his ‘crash landing’ statement that he made during his press conference on Monday at Maharaja Conference Centre.
The former President also confirmed that a British barrister, lecturer, and writer, Cherie Blair (née Booth), who is married to former United Kingdom Prime Minister, Tony Blair will lead independent investigations into the alleged missing P100bn which he is implicated in. “Those affidavits were totally fabricated, what it takes for a government to engage in criminality and illegally take to court information which is being concerted by themselves”. Khama explained that the crush landing will come because, it will be revealed that this was false.
Secondly Khama confirms that he and his associates implicated in the matter are going to sue for defamation and it will cost government a lot because there are many of them. “You cannot just put out something like that, the damage they trying to do to is huge”. Former President Ian Khama confirmed to WeekendPost that he personally met the wife of former Prime Minister Tony Blair a few weeks back during his official trip to United Kingdom.
Khama did not only meet Cherie Blair but a number of some influential people whom he said he could not disclose nor converse on their discussions owing to their privacy. However, Khama confirmed that Blair and her law firm Omnia, are hitting the ground running. “They will be setting out their team soon and we expect them to resume work in less than two months”, he said.
According to their website Omnia Strategy LLP is an international law firm that specializes in dispute prevention and resolution around the globe. Led by Cherie Blair CBE, QC, the firm is committed to achieving their clients’ objectives no matter the size, complexity or nature of the challenge. “We believe in delivering real value and our lean model and flexible fee structures mean we are consistently more competitive than other firms while maintaining impeccable standards of client service and an exceptional success rate”.
They have a unique approach. In an increasingly inter- connected and fast-paced society, Omnia clients’ problems require more than one- dimensional legal solutions. In response, Omnia’s creative cross- disciplinary approach and worldwide network provide an answer. Unlike conventional law firms, their unique law plus model combines remarkable legal capabilities with an unrivalled multi- disciplinary skillset across: policy, business and communications.
“We promise our clients partner- led service from an elite team of handpicked experts ensuring we always engage precisely the right people for every matter”. In his statement he read at the press conference Khama said he is implicated in the said case by a certain Jako Hubona, an investigator employed by Directorate on Corruption and Economic Crime (DCEC), in an affidavit which he deposed on 28th October 2019 and was filed with the High Court on the same date. In the same affidavit Hubona said:
He has received a report alleging that on 9 June 2008, 3 Special Unit Accounts were created by Bank of Botswana, under the instruction of former President Ian Khama, and the erstwhile Director General of Directorate of Intelligence and Security Service, Isaac Seabelo Kgosi; On July 2009, the funds from one of the alleged Bank of Botswana accounts were transferred to HSBC Bank in Hong Kong, the reference being to purchase intelligence equipment
The funds were transferred through various offshore accounts around the world, and in 2015 such funds were deposited into various South African bank accounts; That the creation of the said accounts was unlawful because they were created without the knowledge of the Accountant General; and That Ms. Maswabi had control and access to accounts that monies were eventually transferred to.
Khama stated that the allegations in Hubona’s affidavit are false and were deliberately and maliciously fabricated with the nefarious intention to tarnish his name and all those mentioned in the said affidavit. “Let me also announce that I have commissioned Cherie Blair CBE, QC and her law firm, Omnia Strategy, to undertake an independent and thorough inquiry into the allegations in the affidavit. I look forward to receiving the Omnia Report and I expect it will contribute to our understanding of this state sponsored scandal”, said former President Khama.
Government is currently sitting on 4 400 vacant posts that remain unfilled in the civil service. This is notwithstanding the high unemployment rate in Botswana which has been exacerbated by the recent outbreak of the deadly COVID-19 pandemic.
Just before the burst of COVID-19, official data released by Statistics Botswana in January 2020, indicate that unemployment in Botswana has increased from 17.6 percent three years ago to 20.7 percent. “Unemployment rate went up by 3.1 percentage between the two periods, from 17.6 to 20.7 percent,” statistics point out.
Leading commercial bank, First National Bank Botswana (FNBB), expects the central bank to sharpen its monetary policy knife and cut the Bank Rate twice in the last quarter of 2020.
The bank expects a 25 basis point (bps) in the beginning of the last quarter, which is next month, and another shed by the same bps in December, making a total of 50 bps cut in the last quarter. According to the bank’s researchers, the central bank is now holding on to 4.25 percent for the time being pending for more informed data on the economic climate.
An audit of the accounts and records for the supply of food rations to the institutions in the Northern Region for the financial year-ended 31 March 2019 was carried out. According to Auditor General’s report and observations, there are weaknesses and shortcomings that were somehow addressed to the Accounting Officer for comments.
Auditor General, Pulane Letebele indicated on the report that, across all depots in the region that there had been instances where food items were short for periods ranging from 1 to 7 months in the institutions for a variety of reasons, including absence of regular contracts and supplier failures. The success of this programme is dependent on regular and reliable availability of the supplies to achieve its objective, the report said.
There would be instances where food items were returned from the feeding centers to the depots for reasons of spoilage or any other cause. In these cases, instances had been noted where these returns were not supported by any documentation, which could lead to these items being lost without trace.
The report further stressed that large quantities of various food items valued at over P772 thousand from different depots were damaged by rodents, and written off.Included in the write off were 13 538 (340ml) cartons of milk valued at P75 745. In this connection, the Auditor General says it is important that the warehouses be maintained to a standard where they would not be infested by rodents and other pests.
Still in the Northern region, the report noted that there is an outstanding matter relating to the supply of stewed steak (283×3.1kg cans) to the Maun depot which was allegedly defective. The steak had been supplied by Botswana Meat Commission to the depot in November 2016.
In March 2017 part of the consignment was reported to the supplier as defective, and was to be replaced. Even as there was no agreement reached between the parties regarding replacement, in 51 October 2018 the items in question were disposed of by destruction. This disposal represented a loss as the whole consignment had been paid for, according to the report.
“In my view, the loss resulted directly from failure by the depot managers to deal with the matter immediately upon receipt of the consignment and detection of the defects. Audit inspections during visits to Selibe Phikwe, Maun, Shakawe, Ghanzi and Francistown depots had raised a number of observations on points of detail related to the maintenance of records, reconciliations of stocks and related matters, which I drew to the attention of the Accounting Officer for comments,” Letebele said in her report.
In the Southern region, a scrutiny of the records for the control of stocks of food items in the Southern Region had indicated intermittent shortages of the various items, principally Tsabana, Malutu, Sunflower Oil and Milk which was mainly due to absence of subsisting contracts for the supply of these items.
“The contract for the supply of Tsabana to all depots expired in September 2018 and was not replaced by a substantive contract. The supplier contracts for these stocks should be so managed that the expiry of one contract is immediately followed by the commencement of the next.”
Suppliers who had been contracted to supply foodstuffs had failed to do so and no timely action had been taken to redress the situation to ensure continuity of supply of the food items, the report noted.
In one case, the report highlighted that the supplier was to manufacture and supply 1 136 metric tonnes of Malutu for a 4-months period from March 2019 to June 2019, but had been unable to honour the obligation. The situation was relieved by inter-depot transfers, at additional cost in transportation and subsistence expenses.
In another case, the contract was for the supply of Sunflower Oil to Mabutsane, where the supplier had also failed to deliver. Examination of the Molepolole depot Food Issues Register had indicated a number of instances where food items consigned to the various feeding centres had been returned for a variety of reasons, including food item available; no storage space; and in other cases the whole consignments were returned, and reasons not stated.
This is an indication of lack of proper management and monitoring of the affairs of the depot, which could result in losses from frequent movements of the food items concerned.The maintenance of accounting records in the region, typically in Letlhakeng, Tsabong, and Mabutsane was less than satisfactory, according to Auditor General’s report.
In these depots a number of instances had been noted where receipts and issues had not been recorded over long periods, resulting in incorrect balances reflected in the accounting records. This is a serious weakness which could lead to or result in losses without trace or detection, and is a contravention of Supplies Regulations and Procedures, Letebele said.
Similarly, consignments of a total of 892 bags of Malutu and 3 bags of beans from Tsabong depot to different feeding centres had not been received in those centres, and are considered lost. These are also not reflected in the Statement of Losses in the Annual Statements of Accounts for the same periods.