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DCEC revives big guns’ cases

Scores of corruption cases involving prominent figures in government and their associates have been concealed at the Directorate on Corruption and Economic Crime (DCEC) during former President Lt Gen Ian Khama’s administration, WeekendPost investigation can reveal. 

The cases were buried under the impression that there was no sufficient evidence to take the alleged perpetrators to book whereas the evidence was concealed by officials in top positions in different segments of the directorate, this publication has established. The cases implicate prominent figures in business, former and current senior government officials. President Mokgweetsi Masisi administration which introduced itself with a slogan of ‘clean-up campaign’ since assuming power 12 months ago has since resuscitated the cases.

Office of the President recently ousted Bruno Paledi, a move which viewed as the watershed moment.  Paledi was replaced by Brigadier Joseph Mathambo who had been seconded from the Botswana Defence Force (BDF) initially as the director of Operations DCEC.
Inside information has it that Paledi has been accused of acting as a stumbling block between the office of the Directorate of Public Prosecutions (DPP) and DCEC investigators. He is alleged to have in many instances obscured vital evidence from the prosecutions office resulting in losing cases on grounds of lack of evidence.

 “If it happened that somehow a certain file that was supposed to be buried find its way to the DPP office, the former DIS boss, Isaac Kgosi would then find a way of dealing with it from that office until some of the evidence was missing. The case would then be sent back to the DCEC where Paledi would now sit on it instead of conveying the message to the investigation team to help with more evidence,” said a source. Paledi has in the past gave this reporter permission to write everything alleged against him without his comment, saying he just wants to fade into the background and move on with his life.

Isaac Kgosi

This publication can confirm that currently Kgosi has about 20 cases before the DCEC. Some of the cases which might land him in court soon include; Sentlhane farm, Debswana tender and the National Petroleum Fund (NPF). Inside sources at the DPP say Kgosi will in the next mention join his co-accused in the dock as there is now more evidence against him. The link is in the P118m which was sent to Israel in 2017. He authorised a payment of P118m to an Israel company in 2017 claiming the amount was due for a payment of security equipment

For a long time one of the defence counsels in the case, Kgosietsile Ngakaagae has been decrying that Kgosi was the main actor in the case, saying there was no how he could be left out when he was the one calling the shots. Kgosi purchased Sentlhane farm in the sum of P900 000 in 2009, and allegations are that the money was deposited by Vladacom. He is also alleged to have received an amount of P180 000 from Debswana under the pretext that there was the need to heighten security.

Girl friend

This publication can also confirm that there is an on-going investigation against a certain lady who was in a romantic relationship with a certain former director. The girl who is now outside the country, somewhere in Africa will soon be recalled to come and answer for the government house which is mysteriously under her names.

It is alleged after registering the house under her names a few years ago, the girl went to a certain bank asking for a mortgage loan to buy the same house. The bank dismissed her saying they did not understand why they should give her a loan to buy a house which was already under her names.

Samson Moyo Guma

Among a few possible cases to be launched against him, the Tati East legislator Samson Guma is alleged to be currently under investigation for fraud. It is alleged that through his company, United Refineries Botswana, entered into a contract with the government to supply schools with locally produced cooking oil. He had however imported the oil from South Africa through Sefalana Cash and Carry. The government refused the oil on the basis that they had agreed on a locally produced product. “He then made fake stickers and supplied the oil claiming they were locally produced.” When reached for comment, Moyo said, “Sorry I have no comment on all these stories.”

Prince Maele

Lerala/Maunatlala MP, Prince Maele will next week appear for the P50, 000 dustbin scandal. The money was found at Maele’s vacant residence in Block 6 late last year and according to a reliable source, the file is ready for prosecution at the DPP office.
Directorate’s internal investigations

This publication is also alive to an ongoing internal investigation at the DCEC. The Department of Technical Services (DTS) has in the past engaged the DCEC and sought assistance of external investigators to investigate some unfinished projects in the country. DTS gave DCEC P4.9m to pay the company at the end of the investigations for services provided. And it was reported that the directorate had engaged Info track.

The investigations however never materialised, though the payment was made in a week’s time. Allegations are that senior officials at the DCEC divided the money among themselves. Contacted for comment, the new DCEC boss only confirmed that there was an international investigation at DCEC. He however would not comment on other cases.

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UDC founder warns against merger

19th October 2020
Ex UDC Convener: Mpotokwane

Lebang Mpotokwane, one of the conveners who presided over the opposition cooperation talks that resulted in the formation of the Umbrella for Democratic Change (UDC), has advised against changing the current umbrella model in favour of a merger as proposed by others.

The Botswana Congress Party (BCP) leader, Dumelang Saleshando recently went public to propose that UDC should consider merging of all opposition parties, including Alliance for Progressives (AP) and Botswana Patriotic Front (BNF).

Saleshando has been vehemently opposed by Botswana National Front (BNF), which is in favour of maintaining the current model.  BNF’s position has been favoured by the founding father of UDC, who warned that it will be too early to ditch the current model.

“UDC should be well developed to promote the spirit of togetherness on members and the members should be taught so that the merger is developed gradually. They should approach it cautiously. If they feel they are ready, they can, but it would not be a good idea,” Mpotokwane told WeekendPost this week.

Mpotokwane and Emang Maphanyane are the two men who have since 2003 began a long journey of uniting opposition parties in a bid to dethrone the ruling Botswana Democratic Party (BCP) as they felt it needed a strong opposition to avoid complacency.

Tonota born Mpotokwane is however disappointed on how they have been ejected from participating in the last edition of talks ahead of the 2019 general elections in which BCP was brought on board.  However, despite the ejection, Mpotokwane is not resentful to the opposition collective.

He said the vision of opposition unity was to ultimately merge the opposition parties but he believes time has not arrived yet to pursue that path. “The bigger picture was a total merger and we agreed that with three independent parties, members might be against merger eventuality so the current model should be used until a point where they are now together for as long as possible,” he said.

“UDC should gradually perform better in elections and gain confidence. They should not rush the merger. We have been meeting since 2003, but if they rush it might cause endless problems. If they are ready they can anyway,” he advised. For now the constituent parties of the umbrella have been exchanging salvos with others (BCP and BNF).

“There are good reasons for and against merging the parties. Personally, I am in favour of merging the parties (including AP and BPF) into a single formation but I know it’s a complex mission that will have its own challenges,” Saleshando said when he made his position known a week ago.

“Good luck to those advocating for a merger, it will be interesting to observe the tactics they will use to lure the BPF into a merger,” former BNF councillor for Borakalalo Ward and former BNF Youth League Secretary General, Arafat Khan, opined in relation to BCP’s proposed position.

Mpotokwane, who is currently out in the cold from the UDC since he was ejected from the party’s NEC in 2017, said the current bickering and the expected negotiations with other parties need the presence of conveners.

“We did not belong to any party as conveners so we were objective in our submissions. If party propose any progressive idea we will support, if it is not we will not, so I would agree that even now conveners might be key for neutrality to avoid biasness,” he observed. Despite being abandoned, Mpotokwane said he will always be around to assist if at all he is needed.

“If they want help I will be there, I have always been clear about it, but surely I will ask few questions before accepting that role,” he said. UDC is expected to begin cooperation talks with both AP and BPF either this week or next weekend for both upcoming bye-elections (halted by Covid-19) and 2024 general elections and it is revealed that there will be no conveners this time around.

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BDP attaches Boko’s property

19th October 2020
DUMA BOKO

The Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) moved through its lawyers to attach the property of Umbrella for Democratic (UDC) President Duma Boko and other former parliamentary contestants who failed in their court bid to overturn the 2019 general elections in 14 constituencies.

WeekendPost has established that this week, Deputy Sheriffs were commissioned by Bogopa Manewe Tobedza and Company who represented the BDP, to attach the properties of UDC elections contents in a bid to recover costs.  High Court has issued a writ of execution against all petitioners, a process that has set in motion the cost recovery measures.

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COVID-19 exposes decay in the education system

19th October 2020
Education Systm

Botswana Sectors of Teachers Union (BOSETU) says COVID-19 as a pandemic has negatively affected the education sector by deeply disrupting the education system. The intermittent lockdowns have resulted in the halting of teaching and learning in schools.

The union indicated that the education system was caught napping and badly exposed when it came to the use of Information System (IT), technological platforms and issues of digitalisation.

“COVID-19 exposed glaring inefficiencies and deficiencies when it came to the use of ITC in schools. In view of the foregoing, we challenge government as BOSETU to invest in school ITC, technology and digitalization,” says BOSETU President Kinston Radikolo during a press conference on Tuesday.

As a consequence, the union is calling on government to prioritise education in her budgeting to provide technological infrastructure and equipment including provision of tablets to students and teachers.

“Government should invest vigorously in internet connectivity in schools and teacher’s residences if the concept of flexi-hours and virtual learning were to be achieved and have desired results,” Radikolo said.

Radikolo told journalists that COVID-19 is likely to negatively affect final year results saying that the students would sit for the final examinations having not covered enough ground in terms of curriculum coverage.

“This is so because there wasn’t any catch up plan that was put in place to recover the lost time by students. We warn that this year’s final examination results would dwindle,” he said.

The Union, which is an affiliate of Botswana Federation of Public, Private and Parastatal Union (BOFEPUSU), also indicated that COVID-19’s presence as a pandemic has complicated the role of a teacher in a school environment, saying a teacher’s role has not only transcended beyond just facilitating teaching and learning, but rather, a teacher in this COVID-19 era, is also called upon to enforce the COVID-19 preventative protocols in the school environment.

“This is an additional role in the duty of a teacher that needs to be recognized by the employers. Teachers by virtue of working in a congested school environment have become highly exposed and vulnerable to COVID-19, hence the reason why BOSETU would like teachers to be regarded as the frontline workers with respect to COVID-19,” says Radikolo.

BOSETU noted that the pandemic has in large scales found its way into most of the school environments, as in thus far more than 50 schools have been affected by COVID-19. The Union says this is quite a worrying phenomenon.

“As we indicated before when we queried that schools were not ready for re-opening, it has now come to pass that our fears were not far-fetched. This goes out to tell that there is deficiency in our schools when it comes to putting in place preventative protocols. In our schools, hygiene is compromised by mere absence of sanitizers, few hand-washing stations, absence of social distancing in classes,” the Union leader said.

Furthermore, Radikolo stressed that the shifting system drastically increased the workload for teachers especially in secondary schools. He says teachers in these schools experience very high loads to an extent that some of them end up teaching up to sixty four periods per week, adding that this has not only fatigued teachers, but has also negatively affected their performance and the quality of teaching.

In what the Union sees as failure to uphold and honour collective agreements by government, owing to the shift system introduced at primary schools, government is still in some instances refusing to honour an agreement with the Unions to hire more teachers to take up the extra classes.

“BOSETU notes with disgruntlement the use of pre-school teachers to teach in the mainstream schools with due regard for their specific areas of training and their job descriptions. This in our view is a variation of the terms of employment of the said teachers,” says Radikolo.

The Union has called on government to forthwith remedy this situation and hire more teachers to alleviate this otherwise unhealthy situation. BOSETU also expressed concerns of some school administrators who continuously run institutions with iron fists and in a totalitarian way.

“We have a few such hot spot schools which the Union has brought to attention the Ministry officials such as Maoka JSS, Artesia JSS, and Dukwi JSS. We are worried that the Ministry becomes sluggish in taking action against such errant school administration. In instances where action is taken, such school administrators are transferred and rotated around schools.”

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