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.
High Commissioner of the Federal Government of Nigeria to Botswana, His Excellency Umar Zainab Salisu, has challenged President Dr Mokgweetsi Masisi to move swiftly and lobby Africa’s richest man, Nigerian Billionaire, Aliko Dangote to invest in Botswana.
Speaking during a meeting with President Masisi at Office of President on Thursday Zainab Salisu said Dangote has expressed massive interest in setting up billion dollar industries in Botswana. “We have a lot of investors who wish to come and invest in Botswana , when we look at Botswana we don’t see Botswana itself , but we are lured by its geographic location , being in the centre of Southern Africa presents a good opportunity for strategic penetration into other markets of the region,” said Salisu.
As murder cases and violent incidents involving couples and or lovers continue to be recorded daily, Specially Elected Member of Parliament, Dr Unity Dow has called for more funding of non-governmental organizations and accelerated action from government to come up with laws that could inhibit would-be perpetrators of crimes related to Gender Based Violence (GBV).
Just after Dr Dow had deposited her views on this subject with this reporter, a young man in Molepolole opened fire on a married woman he was having an affair with; and ended her life instantly. While it is this heinous cases that get projected to the public space, the former minister argues that the secrecy culture is keeping other real GBV cases under wraps in many spaces in the country.
The former Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation said there is GBV all the time in all kinds of places. “We have become accustomed to stories of rapes, marital rapes, defilement of children, beatings and psychological violence and even killings,” she said.
Gender-based violence is a phenomenon deeply rooted in gender inequality, Dow is worried that there is absolutely no social punishment for perpetrators; they will continue to have the same friends, jobs, wives, homes, as before. Yet another factor, she said, is that there is little or no “justice” for victims of GBV.
The renowned activist said justice for GBV victims is not just the jailing of the perpetrator. “Justice for victims means an agile, victim-friendly, accessible (time, money and procedures) and restorative justice system.”
Asked what could be leading to a spike in Gender Based Violence cases or incidents, she observed that there is no one factor to which this spike can be attributed. “The most obvious factor is stress as a result of economic distress and or poverty. Poverty makes one vulnerable and open to compromises that they would otherwise not make. For perpetrators with anger management issues, economic stress leads to lashing out to those closest to them. Another factor is the disintegration of families and family values,” she opined.
According to Dow, no government anywhere in the world is doing enough, period. “We know the places and spaces where women and girls are unsafe. We know the challenges they face in their attempts to exit those spaces and places.” The former Judge of the High Court said GBV undermines the health, dignity, security and autonomy of its victims, yet it remains shrouded in the culture of silence.
Asked what could be done to arrest GBV cases, Dow said it is critical to involve and fund civil society organizations. She observed that much of the progress done in the area of women’s human rights was during the time when Botswana had strong and funded civil society organizations.
“The funding dried up when Botswana was declared a middle-income country but unfortunately external funding was not replaced by local funding,” she acknowledged.
Further Dow said relevant government institutions must be funded and strengthened.
“Thirdly, create a society in which it is not okay to humiliate, rape, beat or kill women. You create this by responding to GBV the same way we have responded to livestock theft. We need to create agile mechanisms that hear cases quickly and allow for the removal of suspected perpetrators from their homes, work places, boards, committees, etc.”
The former Minister said the much anticipated Inter-Ministerial Task Force on Gender Based Violence will have its work cut out for it. According to Dow, GBV is not just a justice issue, it’s not just a gender issue, but rather an issue that cuts across health, education, labour, economic, housing and politics. “As long as any one believes it is someone else’s problem, we will all have the problem,” she said.
In her view, Dow said every work, educational and other place must have a GBV Policy and/or Code of Conduct. “It is important that we acknowledge that the majority of men are law-abiding. The problem is their silence, in the face of injustice,” she observed.
The State has chosen to ignore intents by kingpins in the P100 billion scandal to sue for a combined P85 million as tables turn against the Directorate of Public Prosecution (DPP) in the matter.
Key players in the matter; the Directorate on Corruption and Economic Crime (DCEC) and Bank of Botswana (BoB) have eroded the prospects of success following the duo’s institutions’ appearance before parliamentary committees recently.