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The truth behind Paledis ousting

After many months of speculation, Bruno Paledi was finally removed as head of the Directorate on Corruption and Economic Crime (DCEC) last week replaced by Brigadier Joseph Mathambo who had been seconded from the Botswana Defence Force (BDF) initially as the Director of Operations DCEC.

Paledi’s tenure as the DCEC boss was the shortest in the history of the directorate, having stayed in office for only 20 months. Paledi has been transferred to the Ministry of Justice and Security, a position many deem as an outright demotion. “The writing was on the wall once former long serving DCEC director of Operations Eugene Wasetso was transferred to the Ministry of Health mysteriously and was replaced by Mathambo. Many immediately saw the appointment of Mathambo as an understudy to eventually takeover Paledi,” said a source at the DCEC.

“Paledi’s days became numbered from there on. Mathambo’s conduct and attitude was very clear on the onset-he was the man in charge or rather soon to be in charge. We saw Paledi being reduced to a small isolated figure within the organization.” At the time when he resumed the office of the directorate, Paledi came in with much ‘energy’ promising to bring down ‘big fish’. With his frequent public relations gimmicks in the media, he had promised to bring to court many dockets which had been put on hold for political reasons. On the other hand, some saw a cheap PR stunt meant to protect the interests of senior government officials mainly that of former President Lt Gen Ian Khama and former DIS boss Isaac Kgosi as he was thought to be close to them.

It was immediately after his appointment at DCEC that dockets started missing: “Two dockets of ‘missing reptiles and wildlife’ and the one on an ‘irregular procurement of ammunition from Zimbabwe’ grew legs while Kgosi’s previous corruption docket also disappeared,” narrated one DCEC investigator. When he left office in April last year, Khama’s farewell last stop was the DCEC offices. Khama was seen at the offices under the pretext that he was bidding the organization farewell.

“Such a small organization!  It is very funny that he did not even bid the parent Ministry of Defence and Security a personal farewell. We all knew his visit was meant to ensure that his dockets and those of his right hand man Kgosi were destroyed,” said the insider. Paledi has also been repeatedly accused of carrying out a political witch-hunt using the National Petroleum Fund (NPF) case. He has been accused of emotionally imposing himself on the ongoing corruption case together with his team of investigators, his target not necessarily being the accused before the court, but the government.

“Having been duly informed as a stockholder on the impending transaction involving the Directorate of Intelligence and Security (DIS) and the Ministry Of Minerals Resources Green Technology and Energy Security, Paledi decided nonetheless to investigate the transaction and embarrass government in the process.” “Some documents were hidden from the Directorate of Public Prosecutions (DPP), hence compromising undertakings of making promises to senior government officials were made. They had lied to the current administration that wrongdoing had been done and that they will protect them,” said one prosecutor.

“Such was a visit to some Gaborone based Attorneys where Paledi requested a file containing information on His Excellency President   Mokgweetsi Masisi’s trust account under the pretext that he wanted to protect the President. But the attorney refused with the file and further refused to delete information contained in the file,” said a source close to the events adding that ploy was not up to protect Masisi, but instead to use the information for political reasons.

Meanwhile it is alleged that the NPF docket was found at Kgosi’s residence under the recent search and seizure warrants conducted by BURS and DIS. “The DPP has been made to chase the dark. Numerous savingrams and emails vindicate us that we had requested for information regarding the NPF case from the DCEC which we never got. And to our surprise, we see government contracts and correspondences that throw our case strategy out of the window from the media. And this is the sole reason why DPP has kept on changing the charge sheets now and then. And this has not only compromised the case but has embarrassed government institutions as well,” the source indicated.

Further accusations against Paledi are that he has exceeded his authority and damaged Botswana’s image abroad through the NPF case. The mishandling of the P230m money laundering case has resulted in Botswana being listed as a money laundering haven. Recently, the European Union, and in particular France, put the country on a watch list of money laundering centres, of which is said to have the potential of affecting trade, the ease of doing business in future.

This publication also learnt that removing Paledi from the DCEC is like cutting the fish head leaving the body parts.  “There still remains a lot of rot within the DCEC because some of the investigators are still doing bidding for external forces. Staff morale is very low, and the organization is being used to wage wars against political adversaries. Some of the investigators are under the payroll of outsiders.

The investigators themselves have dockets either within the DCEC itself or at related sister agencies.” Contacted for comment, Paledi said, “I kindly ask you to write whatever you want without involving me. I have gone through a lot for the past six months. I just want to fade into the background and move on with my life.”

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DPP drops Kably threat to kill case

22nd March 2023

The Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) Chief Whip and Member of Parliament for Letlhakeng/Lephephe Liakat Kably has welcomed the Directorate of Public Prosecution (DPP)’s decision not to prosecute BDP councillor, Meshack Tshenyego who allegedly threatened to kill him. However, the legislator has warned that should anything happen to his life, the state and the courts will have to account.

In an interview with this publication, Kablay said he has heard that the DPP has declined to prosecute Tshenyego in a case in which he threatened to kill him adding that the reasons he received are that there was not enough evidence to prosecute. “I am fine and at peace with the decision not to prosecute over evidential deficits but I must warn that should anything happen to my life both the DPP and the Magistrate will have to account,” Kablay said.

Connectedly, Kably said he has made peace with Tshenyego, “we have made peace and he even called me where upon we agreed to work for the party and bury the hatchet”.

The DPP reportedly entered into a Nolle Prosequi in the matter, meaning that no action would be taken against the former Letlhakeng Sub-district council chairperson and currently councillor for Matshwabisi.

According to the charge sheet before the Court, councilor Tshenyego on July 8th, 2022 allegedly threatened MP Kably by indirectly uttering the following words to nominatedcouncilor Anderson Molebogi Mathibe, “Mosadi wa ga Liakat le ban aba gagwe ba tsile go lela, Mosadi wame le banake le bone ba tsile go lela. E tla re re mo meeting, ka re tsena meeting mmogo, ke tla mo tlolela a bo ke mmolaya.”

Loosely translated this means, Liakat’s wife and children are going to shed tears and my wife and kids will shed tears too. I will jump on him and kill him during a meeting.

Mathibe is said to have recorded the meeting and forwarded it to Kably who reported the matter to the police.

In a notice to the Magistrate Court to have the case against Tshenyego, acting director of Public Prosecutions, Wesson Manchwe  cited the nolle prosequi by the director of public prosecution in terms of section 51 A (30) of the Constitution and section 10 of the criminal procedure and evidence act (CAP 08:02) laws of Botswana as reasons for dropping the charges.

A nolle prosequi is a formal notice of abandonment by a plaintiff or prosecutor of all or part of a suit or action.

“In pursuance of my powers under section 51 A (300 of the Constitution and section 10 of the criminal procedure and evidence act (CAP 08:02) laws of Botswana, I do hereby stop and discontinue criminal proceedings against the accused Meshack Tshenyego in the Kweneng Administrative District, CR.No.1077/07/2022 being the case of the State vs Tshenyego,” said Manchwe. The acting director had drafted the notice dropping the charges on 13th day of March 2023.

The case then resumed before the Molepolole Magistrate Solomon Setshedi on the 14th of March 2023. The Magistrate issued an order directing “that matters be withdrawn with prejudice to the State, accused is acquitted and discharged.”

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DPP seizes prosecution duties from Police

22nd March 2023

Directorate of Public Prosecution (DPP) has finally taken over prosecution from the Botswana Police Service (BPS). The police have been prosecuting for years, but the takeover means that they will now only focus on investigations and then hand over to the DPP for prosecution.

Talks of complete takeover began as far back as 2008, but for years it seemed implementation was sluggish. However, the Minister of Justice, Machana Shamukuni, revealed that the complete takeover is expected to be completed soon.

During a presentation to the Committee of Supply by Shamukuni this week, it was revealed that the project has been implemented in 22 police stations nationwide, including Maun, Selebi-Phikwe, Palapye, Francistown, and Kasane. He further stated that the project has been allocated P3,000,000 for the 2023/2024 financial year to facilitate the opening of more satellite offices for the DPP.

Shamukuni said the Lobatse station is scheduled for a complete takeover by the end of May 2023, while the Kasane DPP satellite office has been established and became operational as of February 1, 2023.

“As reported previously, preparations are at an advanced stage to open a satellite office in Tsabong to curtail expenses, as well as frequent long-distance trips to these areas, as it is currently serviced by the Lobatse DPP office,” Shamukuni said.

Shamukuni said that the takeover strategy is to enable a seamless and gradual takeover of prosecution from the BPS without overwhelming and overstretching the thin resources at its disposal.

According to Shamukuni, the implementation of the prosecution takeover project has increased the workload of the 211 prosecutors in the DPP establishment.

Furthermore, the Justice Minister said DPP statistics show that the DPP has a total of 11,903 cases and dockets as of January 2023. He indicated that this is a significant increase in the number of cases being handled by the DPP, considering that in November 2021, the DPP had just over 8,471 files.

“Out of the total case load, 8 382 are cases pending before various courts while 3521 are dockets received from law enforcement agencies of which 1 325 are awaiting service of summons while the rest are being assessed for suitability of prosecution or otherwise” said Shamukuni.

He further stated that The DPP has consistently maintained an 80% success rate in matters completed at court.

“As at the end of January 2023, the success rate stood at 82.3% against a target of 90% whilst the average performance in respect of turnaround time for conclusion of cases at court stood at 17.5 months against a target of 18 months,” he said.

BACKLOG OF CASES – LAND TRIBUNAL

Meanwhile, Minister Shamukuni has revealed that Gaborone land Tribunal is experiencing a backlog of cases. Before parliament this week, Shamukuni revealed that a total 230 appeals were completed for the period of April 2022- December 2022 and only 76.5% of them were completed within set time frame.

The minister said that the Gaborone division has experiencing a backlog of cases due to manpower constraints and he further indicated that presiding officers from other divisions have been brought in to expedite case disposal.

He further indicated that the land tribunal is a specialized court that has been empowered to resolve appeals arising from land boards. “It has been mandated to determine appeals from the decisions of Physical planning committees of Districts Councils” said Shamukuni.

Land Tribunal relocated to the Ministry of Justice from Ministry of Land and Water Affairs in November 2022.

“An amount of P37, 842,670 is requested to cover salaries, allowance and other operational expenses for the Department of the land Tribunal,” alluded Shamukuni

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BCP, AP stalemate in 7 constituencies

21st March 2023

When the Botswana Congress Party (BCP), Alliance for Progressives, Botswana Labour Party (BLP), and conveners reconvene next week, the controversial issue of allocation of the seven constituencies will be the main topic of discussion, WeekendPost can reveal.

Not only that, but the additional four constituencies will also dominate the talks. The idea is to finally close the “constituency allocation phase,” which has proven to be the most difficult part of the ongoing negotiations.

Earlier this year, the two parties announced that the marathon talks would be concluded by February. Even at a media briefing last month, BCP Secretary General Goretetse Kekgonegile and Publicity Secretary Dr. Mpho Pheko were optimistic that the negotiations would be concluded before the end of February.

However, it is now mid-March and the talks have yet to be concluded. What could be the reasons for the delay? This is a question that both Kekgonegile and Pheko have not responded to, as they have ignored the reporters’ inquiries. However, a senior figure within the party has confided to this publication as to what is delaying the highly anticipated negotiations.

“We are reconvening next week to finalize constituency allocations, taking into account the additional four new ones plus the outstanding seven,” he explained. It later surfaced that Gaborone Central, Gaborone North, Mogoditshane, Tswapong North, Francistown West, Tati West, and Nata Gweta are all contested by both BCP and AP. This is because the other 50 constituencies were allocated by December of last year.

The three parties have failed to find common ground for the Bosele Ward by-elections. Are these constituencies not a deal breaker for the talks? “None of the constituencies is a deal breaker,” responded a very calm BCP official.

In Bosele Ward, AP has yielded to BCP, despite most of its members disapproving the decision. On the other hand, BLP has refused, and it will face off with BCP together with Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) and Umbrella for Democratic Change (UDC).

The decision by BLP to face off with BCP has been labelled as a false start for the talks by political observers.

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