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.
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.
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.”
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.
The Directorate of Public Prosecutions (DPP)’s decision to reject and appeal the High Court’s verdict on a case involving High Court Judge, Dr Zein Kebonang has frustrated the Judicial Service Commission (JSC) and Judge Kebonang’s back to work discussions.
JSC and Kebonang have been in constant discussions over the latter’s return to work following a ruling by a High Court panel of judges clearing him of any wrong doing in the National Petroleum Fund criminal case filed by the DPP. However the finalization of the matter has been hanged on whether the DPP will appeal the matter or not – the prosecution body has since appealed.
Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) top brass has declined a request by Umbrella for Democratic Change (UDC) to negotiate the legal fees occasioned by 2019 general elections petition in which the latter disputed in court the outcome of the elections.
This publication is made aware that UDC Vice President Dumelang Saleshando was left with an egg on his face after the BDP big wigs, comprising of party Chairman Slumber Tsogwane and Secretary General Mpho Balopi rejected his plea.
“He was told that this is a legal matter and therefore their (UDC) lawyer should engage ours (BDP) for negotiations because it is way far from our jurisdiction,” BDP Head of Communications, Kagelelo Kentse, told this publication.
This spelt doom for the main opposition party and Saleshando who seems not to have confidence and that the UDC lawyers have the dexterity to negotiate these kind of matters. It is not clear whether Saleshando requested UDC lawyer Boingotlo Toteng to sit at the table with Bogopa Manewe, Tobedza and Co, who are representing the BDP to strike a deal as per the BDP top echelons suggested.
“From my understanding, the matter is dealt with politically as the two parties are negotiating how to resolve it, but by far nothing has come to me on the matter. So I believe they are still substantively engaging each other,” Toteng said briefly in an interview on Thursday.
UDC petitioners saddled with costs after mounting an unprecedented legal suit before the court to try and overturn BDP’s October 2019 victory. The participants in the legal matter involves 15 parliamentary candidates’ and nine councillors. The UDC petitioned the court and contested the outcome of the elections citing “irregularities in some of the constituencies”.
In a brief ruling in January 2020, Judge President Ian Kirby on behalf of a five-member panel said: “We have no jurisdiction to entertain these appeals. These appeals must be struck out each with costs including costs of counsel”. This was a second blow to the UDC in about a month after their 2019 appeals were dismissed by the High Court a day before Christmas Day.
This week BDP attorneys decided to attach UDC petitioners’ property in a bid to settle the debts. UDC President Duma Boko is among those that will see their property being attached with 14 of his party members. “We have attached some and we are on course. So far, Dr. Mpho Pheko (who contested Gaborone Central) and that of Dr, Micus Chimbombi (who contested Kgalagadi South) will have their assets being sold on the 5th of February 2021,” BDP attorney Basimane Bogopa said.
Asked whether they met with UDC lawyers to try solve the matter, Bogopa said no and added. “Remember we are trying to raise the client’s funds, so after these two others will follow. Right now we are just prioritising those from Court of Appeal, as soon as the high court is done with taxation we will attach.”
Saleshando, when contacted about the outcomes of the meeting with the BDP, told WeekendPost that: “It would not be proper and procedural for me to tell you about the meeting outcomes before I share with UDC National Executive Committee (NEC), so I will have to brief them first.”
UDC NEC will meet on the 20th of next month to deal with a number of thorny issues including settling the legal fees. Negotiations with other opposition parties- Alliance for Progressives and Botswana Patriotic Front (BPF) are also on the agenda.
Currently, UDC has raised P44 238 of the P565 000 needed to cover bills from the Court of Appeal (CoA). This is the amount in a UDC trust account which is paltry funds equating 7.8 per cent of the overall required money. In the past despite the petitioners maintaining that there was promise to assist them to settle legal fees, UDC Spokesperson, Moeti Mohwasa then said the party has never agreed in no way to help them.
“We have just been put in debt by someone,” one of the petitioners told this publication in the past. “President’s (Duma Boko) message was clear at the beginning that money has been sourced somewhere to help with the whole process but now we are here there is nothing and we are just running around trying to make ends meet and pay,” added the petitioner in an interview UDC NEC has in December last year directed all the 57 constituencies to each raise a minimum of P10, 000. The funds will be used to settle debts that are currently engulfing the petitioners with Sheriffs, who are already hovering around ready to attach their assets.
The petitioners, despite the party intervention, have every right to worry. “This is so because ‘the deadline for this initiative (P10, 000 per constituency) is the end of the first quarter of this year (2021),” a period in which the sheriffs would have long auctioned the properties.
President of the Umbrella for Democratic Change (UDC) Duma Boko’s alliance with former President Lt Gen Ian Khama continues to unsettle some quarters within the opposition collective, who believe the duo, if not managed, will once again result in an unsuccessful bid for government in 2024.
While Khama has denied that he has undeclared preference to have Boko remaining as leader of UDC, many believe that the two have a common programme, while other opposition leaders remain on the side-lines.