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Plot to oust Kgosis loyalists in DIS thickens

As divisions and seeds of discords continue to rock the Directorate of Intelligence and Security Services (DIS), developments reaching this publication this week, suggest that one of Director General Peter Magosi’s two deputies, Modiri Keoagile, has unceremoniously left the Directorate to join the newly formed Anti- Terrorism unit.

After reporting last week that the Directorate has acquired the services of some two prominent Ex- soldiers (names withheld), WeekendPost can safely confirm that Brigadier Sentsekae Terry Macheng, will rejoin DIS after being sacked by DG Peter Magosi, when he took over from Isaac Kgosi last year. According to sources, this was part of Magosi’s clean- up campaign launched by the new boss, Peter Magosi, as he prepared to rid the agency of all internal threats.

Brigadier Macheng, was one of Former President Lt General Ian Khama’s loyalists. The former president had in 2017 moved him from the position of National Anti-Poaching Coordinator- Botswana Defence Force (BDF), to the Office of the President, as Chief of Staff, DISS.  When three DISS officers were caught up in an elephant poaching scandal in Makalamabedi, Boteti Sub District in 2017, Macheng was at the time heading the Anti-Poaching Unit, though he did not take action against the men. This publication however, can confirm that Magosi, was leading the team that nabbed the three men.

At the time, WeekendPost was reliably informed that Former President Khama’s plan was to have Brigadier Macheng, replace Kgosi in future as the DIS Director General, as he wanted Kgosi to be sent outside the country because they were in the same group. Sources close to the development say Khama had hoped for continuity even after handing the baton to the new President Dr Mokgweetsi Masisi. The plan however, did not materialize as President Masisi fired Isaac Kgosi a few days after ascending to the highest office.

Last week, WeekendPost reported that the country’s intelligence organ is facing a lot of challenges after the arrival of Peter Magosi. According to an anonymous source within the DIS, employees want Director General Peter Magosi fired from his position because ‘he is incompetent and lacks experience’. Some senior employees who spoke on condition of anonymity, told this publication that a series of letters have been exchanged from concerned employees and senior management but no action has been taken yet.

When he took over from Kgosi, sources in the intelligence circles revealed that Brigadier Magosi, has set himself a target to clean up three major areas of threats to deal with Kgosi’s parallel system, lest they defeat his efforts. “For now he is concentrating on unaccounted manpower and or ghost personnel, unaccounted equipment and inventory audit. Kgosi had his personal intelligence unit operating under the country’s intelligence unit. He had spread people to all spheres of life including the private sector,” said the source.

It is also alleged that Kenamile Badubi, a trustee of Peter Magosi, might replace Keogaile as the second deputy Director General. The recent commotion at the DIS however is blamed on the Director General Peter Magosi, who is believed to have shifted his focus to politics.
Early this year, WeekendPost reported that President Masisi discreetly promoted Magosi to a super scale moving him from F1 to F0 but leaving behind his two deputies; a move that triggered uneasiness amongst his employees who still complain about low salaries amongst other things. DIS Director General Peter Magosi’s phone rang unanswered, as he is believed to be outside the country.

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Batswana owe banks P79 billion

27th March 2023

The Minister of Finance, Peggy Serame, has disclosed that the total bank credit extended by commercial banks amounted to P79 billion, out of which P53.4 billion was retail loans and advances to households.

Parliament was informed this week in response to a question by the Member of Parliament for Selibe-Phikwe West and Leader of Opposition (LOO), Dithapelo Keorapetse.

“As at 31st December 2022, loans and other advances extended to households by banks constituted the largest share of bank-lending at 67.6 percent, the majority of which was unsecured personal loans at P36.2 billion (67.8%),” said Serame.

She added that the total household Debt to GDP ratio was 21.9%, while the total private business credit to Gross Domestic Product (GDP) ratio was 10.8%.

On the other hand, it was noted that outstanding mortgage loans extended to households were P14.2 billion (26.6% of household debt) or 5.9% of GDP. Overall, total bank credit as a ratio of GDP stood at 32.7 percent.

It was acknowledged that there are 10 deposit-taking banks in the country, that is, nine commercial banks and one statutory bank (Botswana Savings Bank). This statistics excludes the National Development Bank (NDB), which is a development finance institution. The nine commercial banks include an indigenous bank, Botswana Building Society Bank Limited (BBSBL), which was issued with a commercial banking license by the Bank of Botswana in October 2022.

Still in December 2022, it was recorded that there were 376 non-bank lenders in Botswana consisting of 246 micro lenders, 66 finance companies, three leasing companies and 61 registered pawnshops.

According to Minister Serame, the loan book value representing the principal amount lent by these entities to individuals and to small, medium and micro Enterprises (SMMEs) is collated by the Non-Bank Financial Institutions Regulatory Authority (NBFIRA), which at 31st of December 2021, the loan book values were P5.6 billion for micro lenders, P1.6 billion for finance companies, P225 million for leasing companies and P14 million for pawnshops.

Government policy is that price control is not effective or desirable, and, as such, interest rates are not regulated. Non-regulation may, among other things, result in an increase in non-interest rate fees and commissions, reduced price transparency, lower credit supply and loan approval rates.

“It is important to note that, from a macroeconomic perspective, household debt in Botswana is neither a pandemic nor considered to be excessive. Indeed, the Bank of Botswana’s periodic and continuous assessments of household debt, including through the annual Household Indebtedness Surveys, suggest moderate household indebtedness and therefore, is of no apparent risk to the safety and soundness of the domestic financial system,” said Serame.

She also alluded this assessment is validated by the recently concluded Financial Sector Assessment Programme (FSAP) on Botswana undertaken by the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank Group.

Keorapetse however rebuked the issue of debt not being excessive and noted the Minister thinks it’s fine for Batswana to be debt burdened in a way that their debts diminishes their quality of life.

“A significant portion of Batswana’s salaries go to servicing debts and because she doesn’t see this as a challenge, there can never be any intervention from her side. There is no price regulation on interest, which can go up to 30%+ a month.  Since President Masisi ascended to the high office in 2018, 2 384 Batswana were put in prison for failure to pay debts, that is 467 Batswana every year. So, for us, debt problems are big and concerning,” said Keorapetse.

He said they are worried because Batswana are drowning in debts because of relative poverty, slave wages and unemployment/underemployment, they buy basic needs and services with borrowed money and noted predatory and unethical lending has become a major problem in Botswana’s financial sector.

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How to fleece P14 million from Chinese investor

27th March 2023

The modus operandi of how five men allegedly swindled a Chinese national P14 million last week continue to unravel. Highly placed sources from the intelligence, the Directorate on Corruption and Economic Crime (DCEC) and Botswana Unified Revenue Services (BURS) revealed to this publication how the whole scam was concocted.

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ENVIRONMENT ISSUES: Masisi asks Virginia for help

24th March 2023

President Mokgweetsi Masisi says the issue of sustainable natural resources management has always been an important part of Botswana’s national development agenda.

Masisi was speaking this week on the occasion of a public lecture at Virginia Polytechnic, under theme, “Merging Conservation, Democracy and Sustainable Development in Botswana.”

Botswana, according to Masisi, holds the view that the environment is fragile and as such, must be managed and given the utmost protection to enable the achievement of Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

“It is necessary that we engage one another in the interchange of ideas, perspectives, visualizations of social futures, and considerations of possible strategies and courses of action for sustainable development,” said Masisi.

On the other hand, dialogue, in the form of rigorous democratic discourse among stakeholders presents another basis for reconfiguring how people act on their environments, with a view to conserving its resources that “we require to meet our socio-economic development needs on a sustainable basis,” Masisi told attendees at the public lecture.

He said government has a keen interest in understanding the epidemiology and ecology of diseases of both domestic and wild animals. “It is our national interest to forestall the dire consequences of animal diseases on our communities livelihoods.”

President Masisi hoped that both Botswana and Virginia could help each other in curbing contagious diseases of wildlife.

“We believe that Virginia Tech can reasonably share their experiences, research insights and advances in veterinary sciences and medicines, to help us build capacity for knowledge creation and improve efforts of managing and containing contagious diseases of wildlife. The ground is fertile for entering into such a mutually beneficial partnership.”

When explaining environmental issues further, Masisi said efforts of conservation and sustainable development might at times be hampered by the emergence and recurrence of diseases when pathogens mutate and take host of more than one species.

“Water pollution also kills aquatic life, such as fish, which is one of humanity’s much deserved sources of food. In this regard, One Health Approach imposes ecological responsibility upon all of us to care for the environment and the bio-diversity therein.”

He said the production and use of animal vaccines is an important space and tool for conservation, particularly to deal with trans-border animal diseases.

“In Botswana, our 43-year-old national premier pharmaceutical institution called Botswana Vaccine Institute has played its role well. Through its successful production of highly efficacious Foot and Mouth vaccines, the country is able to contain this disease as well as supply vaccines to other countries in the sub-region.:

He has however declared that there is need for more help, saying “We need more capacitation to deal with and contain other types of microbial that affect both animals and human health.”

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