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Kgosi will not be caged, his case is not that serious

The much awaited arrival of the controversial former Directorate of Intelligence and Security (DIS) Chief, Colonel Isaac Kgosi finally occurred in the early morning of Tuesday this week, albeit without controversy as initially anticipated.

Kgosi appeared before the Broadhurst Regional Magistrate court for the first time in six months after being away in Malaysia where he was said to be seeking medical attention. Appearing before Magistrate Masilo Mathaka was Director of Public Prosecution Thato Dibeela, together with defense attorneys, Unoda Mack and Thabiso Tafila. The DPP moved an application to beseech the court to order the accused person’s passport to be seized thereby returning it to the Botswana Police Service (BPS).

Furthermore Dibeela moved an application that the court make an order to have Kgosi conduct a medical check-up by a government doctor through a report and an escort to the nearest government facility. Despite the heavy escort that was expected, prior to allegations that the accused was a terrorist, Kgosi was seen leaving in a government car with Detective Senior Superintendent Sergeant Marapo of Serious Crimes.

The report that came back from the government facility indicated that the accused has a permanent injury on his back. However Dibeela argued that the orthopedic surgeon formed an opinion on the basis of scan result reports which he might have had sight of not the tests conducted by Marina Hospital. 

When arguing on whether or not Kgosi should be incarcerated Dibeela indicated that, “the doctor made a recommendation of the accused person. The doctor needed to have more time to examine the accused person, however he recommends what should happen and facilities and immunities that should be provided to the accused person, we can provide those whilst he is in prison and all these were recommended by a medical doctor.”

Tafila objected and argued that, ‘State had always had doubts the first time they were given a report from Malaysia which explained Kgosi’s condition, now an independent government doctor here in Botswana has proved it, my client is not well. There are certain conditions that were made by his doctor in Malaysia for him to travel here.”  When stressing his argument, Tafila pointed out to the court that Kgosi had promised to be before the Magistrate on the 3rd and indeed he availed himself, disputing that the State cannot act surprised by Kgosi’s arrival.

“He is back now, what more do we want from him? He is a sick person, now it’s like we are being vengeful. Why are we in such a hurry to keep him in prison before he is convicted?” he said.  In delivering his ruling, Magistrate Masilo ruled that Kgosi’s warrant of arrest be suspended, “Kgosi has bridged his conditions of bail and that is undeniable but there has been consistency that he is not well and was today confirmed by a government medical doctor. His incarceration will not be the most considerable thing to do. He presented himself in court today. Besides his charges are not that serious,” he said.

 Kgosi’s bail conditions include surrendering his passport. Exclusive information reaching this publication is that the former DIS Spy Chief once again beat the DIS, Directorate of Public Prosecutions (DPP), Botswana Police Services (BPS), Criminal Investigations Department (CID), and Interpol at their own game. None of the aforementioned departments where aware of when Kgosi would arrive in Botswana. Kgosi’s warrant of arrest was said to have been standing and all were said to have been on red alert to have him arrested as soon as he entered the country.

Despite the common knowledge that was availed to the court through his attorneys; Mack and Tafila, the prosecution denied any knowledge of Kgosi’s arrival. A close source to this publication revealed that Kgosi evaded all tight security boarder checks via South Africa into Botswana from Malaysia without any one from the Interpol, DIS, DPP, BPS, CID dumbfounded the country. 

It is revealed that most of the security agents had thought Kgosi would travel via the airport, where most had been on alert and were prepared to arrest him. Kgosi’s passports point out that he arrived in Botswana Tuesday 3rd, the day he was to appear before court. However the State argued that there were some gaps in Kgosi’s travelling documents of which Kgosi rubbished through his attorney Tafila, stating that there are certain countries that do not make a stamp, however they only produce documents of which he said he could avail to the court.

Kgosi is also implicated in the controversial Welheminah Maswabi code name “Butterfly” case in which they are accused of working together on common grounds with the former President Ian Khama, to finance and terrorise the country. Butterfly is alleged to have transferred the sum of P29 million to former DIS Director General, Isaac Kgosi. The transfer occurred shortly after Kgosi had made remarks that he will, “topple this Government”, when he was arrested earlier this year at Sir Seretse Khama International Airport.

Butterfly was granted bail a week before Kgosi arrived from Malaysia. The nation was left astonished to learn that evidence against the accused was fabricated and false. On financing terrorism and being a terrorist is a charge that on itself which carries a life imprisonment sentence. The State prosecutors say this could be a motivating factor for one not to stand trial.

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BTC launches the 3rd Francistown Marathon 2024 and handover proceeds to the 2nd Francistown Marathon beneficiaries

8th December 2023

Botswana Telecommunications Corporation Limited (BTC) has announced that its 3rd Francistown Marathon will be held on Saturday 20th April 2024 at Obed Itani Chilume Stadium in Francistown. The BTC Francistown Marathon is officially recognised by World Athletics and a Comrades Marathon Qualifier will offer race categories ranging from 42.2km, 21.1 km, 10km, 5km fun run, 5km peace run for children and has introduced a 5km and 10km categories for wheelchairs athletics.

BTC also used this opportunity to announce beneficiaries who received donations from proceeds made from the 2nd BTC Francistown Marathon that was held on April 23rd 203.  BTC donated a play area, plastic chairs and wooden tables for pupils worth a total of thirty eight thousand, one hundred and three pula, fifty thebe each (P38, 103.50) to Monarch Primary School, Tatitown Primary School, Mahube Primary School and Gulubane Primary School. Ditladi and Boikhutso clinics each received a donation of benches, television sets and 10, 000 litre water tanks worth thirty seven thousan, eight hundred and ninety eight pula (P 37, 898.00). Additionally, BTC also donated seventy thousand pula (P70,000.00) to their marathon technical partner, Francistown Athletics Club (FAC) which will be used for daily operations as well as to purchase equipment for the club.

The BTC Francistown Marathon aligns seamlessly with BTC’s corporate social investment programme, administered through the BTC Foundation. This programme is a testament to BTC’s dedication to community development, focusing on key areas such as health promotion. The marathon, now in its third year, not only promotes a healthy lifestyle but also channels all proceeds to carefully chosen charities as part of BTC’s commitment to impactful and sustainable projects.

Speaking at the launch, the BTC Managing Director Mr Anthony Masunga stated that the marathon underscores BTC’s commitment to community upliftment and corporate social investment. He stated that “the annual event which has been in existence since 2016, having taken a break due to the covid and other logistical issues, is instrumental to the economic upliftment of the city of Francistown”. He congratulated all the beneficiaries for having been nominated to receive the donations, adding that “the donation of proceeds from the 2023 marathon aims to highlight BTC’s commitment and heart for Batswana and our continued impact in the different industries”.

He further stated that through this marathon, “we demonstrate our steadfast commitment to having a good influence on our communities, this event is a manifestation of our dedication to promoting education and a healthier, more active society”.  He concluded by stating that “BTC looks forward to another successful marathon that will leave a lasting positive influence on the greater Francistown community and the country at large” he said.

Giving welcome remarks, the Councillor for Donga, Honourable Morulaganyi Mothowabarwa stated that “he is ecstatic that BTC is collaborating with the City of Francistown on yet another installment of the Marathon”. He continued to offer his support to BTC to enable this marathon to continue over the coming years, stating that the “CSI element is a welcome development that helps empower our communities”, he said.

The 3rd BTC Francistown Marathon is officially open for registrations and athletes may use the following platforms to register and pay; through Smega by dialling *173# and choosing opton 5, then choose Option 3 for the Francistown marathon, at any BTC store or by visiting the BTC website and clicking on the BTC Francistown Marathon and choosing the relevant options.

 

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Letsholo lauds President Masisi’s digitization in fight against corruption

8th December 2023

Thapelo Letsholo, Member of Parliament for Kanye North, delivered a moving speech at the United Nations International Anti-Corruption Day commemoration, praising President Dr. Mokgweetsi Eric Keabetswe Masisi’s digitalization initiative in the fight against corruption. Letsholo highlighted the importance of embracing digitalization in governance as a crucial step in curbing corrupt practices.

According to Letsholo, the implementation of digital systems in government services can significantly reduce direct interactions between citizens and officials, which often serve as fertile grounds for corruption. By minimizing these opportunities for illicit activities, the efficiency and transparency of public services can be enhanced. Letsholo pointed to Estonia’s success in digital governance as an example, where public services have become more transparent, accessible, and efficient.

The MP commended President Masisi’s commitment to digitalization and E-Governance, emphasizing that it aligns with global anti-corruption standards. He called for full support and active participation from all sectors to ensure the success of this initiative.

Letsholo also stressed the importance of improving detection methods and refining whistleblower laws to effectively combat corruption. He highlighted the unseen and unspoken facets of corruption as its lifelines, emphasizing the need for robust detection mechanisms and a system that encourages and protects whistleblowers.

Addressing the societal role in fighting corruption, Letsholo focused on the crucial role of everyday citizens and civil servants who often witness corrupt practices firsthand. He acknowledged the existing reluctance to report corruption due to the perceived risks of repercussions. To change this narrative, Letsholo advocated for creating an environment where staying silent is deemed more detrimental than speaking out. He called for a cultural shift where the potential benefits of exposing corruption outweigh the risks, ensuring that whistleblowers are protected and feel secure in coming forward.

Letsholo called for collective responsibility and action in creating a system that not only detects and reports corruption but also supports those who stand against it. He expressed hope that under President Masisi’s digitalization initiatives, the future of governance in Botswana will be characterized by integrity, transparency, and accountability. Letsholo’s speech resonated with the sentiments of hope and determination that permeated the commemoration, emphasizing the need for unity in the fight against corruption.

In summary, Letsholo lauded President Masisi’s digitalization initiative in the fight against corruption, highlighting its potential to curb corrupt practices, enhance efficiency and transparency in public services, and align with global anti-corruption standards. He emphasized the importance of improving detection methods, refining whistleblower laws, and creating an environment where speaking out against corruption is encouraged and protected. Letsholo called for collective responsibility and action in creating a future characterized by integrity, transparency, and accountability in governance.

 

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FaR property assets value clock P1.47 billion

6th December 2023

FaR Property Company (FPC) Limited, a property investment company listed on the Botswana Stock Exchange, has recently announced its exceptional financial results for the year 2023. The company’s property asset value has risen to P1.47 billion, up from P1.42 billion in the previous year.

FPC has a diverse portfolio of properties, including retail, commercial, industrial, and residential properties in Botswana, South Africa, and Zambia. The company owns a total of 186 properties, generating rental revenues from various sectors. In 2023, the company recorded rental revenues of P11 million from residential properties, P62 million from industrial properties, and P89 million from commercial properties. Overall, the company’s total revenues increased by 9% to P153 million, while profit before tax increased by 22% to P136 million, and operating profit increased by 11% to P139 million.

One notable achievement for FPC is the low vacancy rate across its properties, which stands at only 6%. This is particularly impressive considering the challenging trading environment. The company attributes this success to effective lease management and the leasing of previously vacant properties in South Africa. FPC’s management expressed satisfaction with the results, highlighting the resilience of the company in the face of ongoing macroeconomic challenges.

The increase in profit before tax can be attributed to both an increase in income and effective control of operating expenses. FPC managed to achieve these results with fewer employees, demonstrating the company’s efficiency. The headline earnings per linked unit also saw an improvement, reaching 26.92 thebe, higher than the previous year.

Looking ahead, FPC remains confident in its competitiveness and growth prospects. The company possesses a substantial land bank, which it plans to develop strategically as opportunities arise. FPC aims for managed growth, focusing on consumer-driven developments and ensuring the presence of supportive tenants. By maintaining this approach, the company believes it can sustainably grow its property portfolio and remain competitive in the market.

In terms of the macroeconomic environment, FPC noted that inflation rates are decreasing towards the 3% to 6% range approved by the Bank of Botswana. This is positive news for the company, as it hopes for further decreases in interest rates. However, the fluctuating fuel prices, influenced by global events such as the war in Ukraine and oil output reductions by Russia and other Middle Eastern countries, continue to impact businesses, including some of FPC’s tenants.

FPC’s property portfolio includes notable assets such as a shopping mall in Francistown with Choppies Hyper as the anchor tenant, Borogo Mall located on the A33 main road near the Kazungula ferry crossing, and various industrial and commercial properties in Gaborone leased to Choppies, Senn Foods, and Clover Botswana. The company also owns a shopping mall in Mafikeng and Rustenburg in South Africa.

The majority of FPC’s properties, 85%, are located in Botswana, followed by 12% in South Africa and 3% in Zambia. With its strong financial performance, competitive position, and strategic land bank, FPC is well-positioned for continued growth and success in the property market.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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