Code named ‘Butterfly’, Wilhelmina Maswabi’s case will go down in the history of Botswana as the first espionage of its kind involving an undercover female spy found to have more than $ 390 million in her nine personal global accounts.
WeekendPost took a closer look at the evidence so far, the loopholes within the Directorate of Intelligence and Security Services (DIS) and the accountability process. While different sources within the spy agency can confirm and attest to having multiple passports as a common practice, this publication can confirm that Maswabi and others have at their disposal the red, diplomatic passports. They also have some special privileges including the diplomatic pouch.
The Intelligence and Security Service Act of 2008, section 24 reads, ‘No action shall be brought against a member of staff of the Directorate (or any other person authorized by the Director General to perform any act under this Act), in respect of any act or thing done or omitted to be in good faith, upon reasonable grounds, in the exercise of his or her duties under this Act’. A close source within the DIS admits that in her case, Butterfly was acting on behalf of her boss Colonel Isaac Kgosi.
In the ongoing case, the court has also learnt that Butterfly and her boss the former DIS Director General Isaac Kgosi were lovebirds. This was said by Jako Hubona, an investigating officer at Directorate on Corruption and Economic Crime (DCEC) while reading his bail- opposing affidavit. Hubona alleged that Maswabi and South African business woman Bridgette Motsepe- Radebe were co- signatories on South African bank accounts owned by two companies, Blue Flies and Fire Flies. Between them, the companies hold 17 bank accounts outside Botswana.
Questioned as to how this could be possible, X from the DIS said their annual budget is a guarded secret. The source however admits that the budget varies depending on their priorities at the time. This publication learnt that however, the Director General can make some special requests without following the normal procedure. “His requests can be authorized directly from the Office of the President (OP) by the President himself. This is usually done when there are special operations or specific projects on need basis”.
However X revealed that for any transactions involving the DIS accounts, there are two signatories, the Director General and Finance Director. “In this case, the Finance Director should know something, but she might not know where the money is being held because she only authorized the transaction,” the source said. DIS officer, Moipedi Nkoane was this week part of the list of appointments, promotions and transfers of senior government officials from the Acting Permanent Secretary to the President and Secretary to Cabinet, Elias Magosi.
Nkoane was transferred from DIS to the Ministry of Investment, Trade and Industry as Director- Cooperatives with immediate effect. The DCEC Investigations Officer Jako Hubona also told court that their investigation was triggered by a report that Khama and Kgosi instructed the Bank of Botswana to create three “special unit accounts” to which Maswabi had access. He alleged that on August 14th this year Maswabi transferred $ 2.9 million to Kgosi.
It is believed that the alleged stolen money was being used to fund terrorism. X revealed that it is also common practice in the intelligence circles around the world to use multiple accounts and at times personal accounts to keep under wraps the intelligence operations. “In this case I cannot deny nor confirm that such huge amount was discovered in her personal account. The DIS Act has a lot of loopholes, however one wonders why the Finance Director is being transferred at this critical time,” he said.
During an interview with INK news this week, former President Lt Gen Ian Khama said he will help Maswabi ‘Butterfly’ to sue government because she is being wrongfully accused and detained. Through her alliance with former Spy Chief Kgosi, Butterfly is in Khama’s circles.
While there is no hard-and-fast rule in politics, former Molepolole North Member of Parliament, Mohamed Khan says populism acts in the body politic have forced him to quit active partisan politics. He brands this ancient ascription of politics as fake and says it lowers the moral compass of the society.
Khan who finally tasted political victory in the 2014 elections after numerous failed attempts, has decided to leave the ‘dirty game’, and on his way out he characteristically lashed at the current political leaders; including his own party president, Advocate Duma Boko. “I arrived at this decision because I have noticed that there are no genuine politics and politicians. The current leaders, Boko and President Dr Mokgweetsi Masisi are fake politicians who are just practicing populist politics to feed their egos,” he said.
Former Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) parliamentary hopeful, Lawrence Ookeditse has rejected the idea of taking up a crucial role in the Botswana Patriotic Front (BPF) Central Committee following his arrival in the party this week. According to sources close to development, BPF power brokers are coaxing Ookeditse to take up the secretary general position, left vacant by death of Roseline Panzirah-Matshome in November 2020.
Ookeditse’s arrival at BPF is projected to cause conflicts, as some believe they are being overlooked, in favour of a new arrival. The former ruling party strategist has however ruled out the possibility of serving in the party central committee as secretary general, and committed that he will turn down the overture if availed to him by party leadership.
Ookeditse, nevertheless, has indicated that if offered another opportunity to serve in a different capacity, he will gladly accept. “I still need to learn the party, how it functions and all its structures; I must be guided, but given any responsibility I will serve the party as long as it is not the SG position.”
“I joined the BPF with a clear conscious, to further advance my voice and the interests of the constituents of Nata/Gweta which I believe the BDP is no longer capable to execute.” Ookeditse speaks of abject poverty in his constituency and prevalent unemployment among the youth, issues he hopes his new home will prioritise.
He dismissed further allegations that he resigned from the BDP because he was not rewarded for his efforts towards the 2019 general elections. After losing in the BDP primaries in 2018, Ookeditse said, he was offered a job in government but declined to take the post due to his political ambitions. Ookeditse stated that he rejected the offer because, working for government clashed with his political journey.
He insists there are many activists who are more deserving than him; he could have chosen to take up the opportunity that was before him but his conscious for the entire populace’s wellbeing held him back. Ookeditse said there many people in the party who also contributed towards party success, asserting that he only left the BDP because he was concerned about the greater good of the majority not individualism purposes.
According to observers, Ookeditse has been enticed by the prospects of contesting Nata/Gweta constituency in the 2024 general election, following the party’s impressive performance in the last general elections. Nata/Gweta which is a traditional BDP stronghold saw its numbers shrinking to a margin of 1568. BDP represented by Polson Majaga garnered 4754, while BPF which had fielded Joe Linga received 3186 with UDC coming a distant with 1442 votes.
There are reports that Linga will pave way for Ookeditse to contest the constituency in 2024 and the latter is upbeat about the prospects of being elected to parliament. Despite Ookeditse dismissing reports that he is eying the secretary general position, insiders argue that the position will be availed to him nevertheless.
Alternative favourite for the position is Vuyo Notha who is the party Deputy Secretary General. Notha has since assumed duties of the secretariat office on the interim basis. BPF politburo is expected to meet on 25th of January 2020, where the vacancy will be filled.
Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) big wigs have decided to cancel a retreat with the party legislators this weekend owing to increasing numbers of Covid-19 cases. The meeting was billed for this weekend at a place that was to be confirmed, however a communique from the party this past Tuesday reversed the highly anticipated meeting.
“We received a communication this week that the meeting will not go as planned because of rapid spread of Covid-19,” one member of the party Central Committee confirmed to this publication. The gathering was to follow the first of its kind held late last year at party Treasurer Satar Dada’s place.