The Director General of the Directorate of Intelligence and Security (DIS), Brigadier Peter Magosi has revealed that the intelligence has developed keen interest in knowing how the self-exiled Member of Parliament for Tati East, Samson Guma used the P30 million his company, Unified Refineries Botswana (Pty) Ltd acquired from state funding institutions.
The DIS, according to its chief, believes the flamboyant businessman falsely acquired millions from different state-owned funding institutions to fund his different business dealings, contrary to what the funds were intended for. Guma this week fled Botswana and sought refuge in the neighbouring South Africa, alleging that he has been alerted by security sources that his life is in danger. Guma has emerged as the strongest critic and opponent of President Mokgweetsi Masisi’s government and been a leading campaign strategist for former cabinet Pelonomi Venson-Moitoi, who is challenging the former for the presidency.
However, DIS chief told this publication this week that their only interest in Guma is to know what he used the P30 million his company acquired from different quasi-government banks. “As the DIS our only interest is for him to tell us what he used the P30 million that he took from different banks for. It was not used for its purpose,” said Magosi. It is reported that Unified Refineries Botswana, which is currently under judicial management acquired loans amounting to P30 million from Citizen Entrepreneurial Development Agency (CEDA) and Botswana Development Corporation (BDC).
Magosi has rubbished allegations of assassination by Guma. “He is the one to tell us the alleged perpetrators otherwise he is lying. If he fails to mention the names of the perpetrators he is lying,” said Magosi. Earlier last month Guma found himself in trouble with the Directorate on Corruption and Economic Crime (DCEC) together with the Botswana Unified Revenue Services (BURS) as they called him for questioning.
Alongside his disputes with the tax man, Guma is expected to account for his dealings with CEDA and BDC as well as his finances for his multi-million pula cooking oil manufacturing plant in Francistown. Guma, who spoke to this publication while in South Africa, denied obtaining money from any bank stating that he challenges any bank to come out public about it. Guma said he was not even aware of any investigations carried on him by the DIS.
“I have never borrowed P30 million from any bank. Whoever is spreading this must give you proof. I give permission to any bank that I owe that amount to make it public. If there is a crime I have committed let them bring it. No one is above the law.” He further clarified that allegations on him that he acquired funds from CEDA and BDC for his company (Unified Refineries Botswana) and never serviced the loan were not true, “it is under judicial management. All records are there with the judicial manager to inspect.
There are audited accounts. I am not the only shareholder. CEDA are partners and have always been the major shareholder whilst BDC matter is in court on this matter.” Ironically, Guma later confirmed during the interview that he is aware of all these investigations and is convinced that they are being instigated by President Masisi. Guma, once a politically ally of Masisi, WeekendPost that he is not sure whether he will be able to attend the Kang Congress as he was still unsure of his safety.
“If I am safe yes, I will attend the Kang congress but as long as President Masisi is in power I will not be safe in Botswana. I know all these investigations are coming from him and I challenge him to deny it. He must stop using state resources to fight,” he highlighted. This publication is privy to a text message Guma claims to have sent to the Speaker of the National Assembly Gladys Kokorwe which read, “Morning Madam Speaker. I am out of the country. I had to leave urgently yesterday after getting a brief that my life is in danger.
I am in South Africa trying to get asylum. I don’t think I will come back madam speaker. I wish you and fellow members of parliament the best and pray that one day sanity will prevail in our country.” When speaking to this publication, Kokorwe denied receiving report about any assassination plans indicating that she only learnt about it from this publication. She further stated that the only report she received from Guma was an apology for absence from parliament later that day.
“What I read is that he told your paper, he only gave me an apology for absence from parliament, “she clarified. The Tati East legislator, is also contesting for the Secretary General position under the auspices New Jerusalem faction, which Venson-Moitoi belongs to. The faction enjoys the backing of former President Lt Gen Ian Khama.
Government is currently sitting on 4 400 vacant posts that remain unfilled in the civil service. This is notwithstanding the high unemployment rate in Botswana which has been exacerbated by the recent outbreak of the deadly COVID-19 pandemic.
Just before the burst of COVID-19, official data released by Statistics Botswana in January 2020, indicate that unemployment in Botswana has increased from 17.6 percent three years ago to 20.7 percent. “Unemployment rate went up by 3.1 percentage between the two periods, from 17.6 to 20.7 percent,” statistics point out.
Leading commercial bank, First National Bank Botswana (FNBB), expects the central bank to sharpen its monetary policy knife and cut the Bank Rate twice in the last quarter of 2020.
The bank expects a 25 basis point (bps) in the beginning of the last quarter, which is next month, and another shed by the same bps in December, making a total of 50 bps cut in the last quarter. According to the bank’s researchers, the central bank is now holding on to 4.25 percent for the time being pending for more informed data on the economic climate.
An audit of the accounts and records for the supply of food rations to the institutions in the Northern Region for the financial year-ended 31 March 2019 was carried out. According to Auditor General’s report and observations, there are weaknesses and shortcomings that were somehow addressed to the Accounting Officer for comments.
Auditor General, Pulane Letebele indicated on the report that, across all depots in the region that there had been instances where food items were short for periods ranging from 1 to 7 months in the institutions for a variety of reasons, including absence of regular contracts and supplier failures. The success of this programme is dependent on regular and reliable availability of the supplies to achieve its objective, the report said.
There would be instances where food items were returned from the feeding centers to the depots for reasons of spoilage or any other cause. In these cases, instances had been noted where these returns were not supported by any documentation, which could lead to these items being lost without trace.
The report further stressed that large quantities of various food items valued at over P772 thousand from different depots were damaged by rodents, and written off.Included in the write off were 13 538 (340ml) cartons of milk valued at P75 745. In this connection, the Auditor General says it is important that the warehouses be maintained to a standard where they would not be infested by rodents and other pests.
Still in the Northern region, the report noted that there is an outstanding matter relating to the supply of stewed steak (283×3.1kg cans) to the Maun depot which was allegedly defective. The steak had been supplied by Botswana Meat Commission to the depot in November 2016.
In March 2017 part of the consignment was reported to the supplier as defective, and was to be replaced. Even as there was no agreement reached between the parties regarding replacement, in 51 October 2018 the items in question were disposed of by destruction. This disposal represented a loss as the whole consignment had been paid for, according to the report.
“In my view, the loss resulted directly from failure by the depot managers to deal with the matter immediately upon receipt of the consignment and detection of the defects. Audit inspections during visits to Selibe Phikwe, Maun, Shakawe, Ghanzi and Francistown depots had raised a number of observations on points of detail related to the maintenance of records, reconciliations of stocks and related matters, which I drew to the attention of the Accounting Officer for comments,” Letebele said in her report.
In the Southern region, a scrutiny of the records for the control of stocks of food items in the Southern Region had indicated intermittent shortages of the various items, principally Tsabana, Malutu, Sunflower Oil and Milk which was mainly due to absence of subsisting contracts for the supply of these items.
“The contract for the supply of Tsabana to all depots expired in September 2018 and was not replaced by a substantive contract. The supplier contracts for these stocks should be so managed that the expiry of one contract is immediately followed by the commencement of the next.”
Suppliers who had been contracted to supply foodstuffs had failed to do so and no timely action had been taken to redress the situation to ensure continuity of supply of the food items, the report noted.
In one case, the report highlighted that the supplier was to manufacture and supply 1 136 metric tonnes of Malutu for a 4-months period from March 2019 to June 2019, but had been unable to honour the obligation. The situation was relieved by inter-depot transfers, at additional cost in transportation and subsistence expenses.
In another case, the contract was for the supply of Sunflower Oil to Mabutsane, where the supplier had also failed to deliver. Examination of the Molepolole depot Food Issues Register had indicated a number of instances where food items consigned to the various feeding centres had been returned for a variety of reasons, including food item available; no storage space; and in other cases the whole consignments were returned, and reasons not stated.
This is an indication of lack of proper management and monitoring of the affairs of the depot, which could result in losses from frequent movements of the food items concerned.The maintenance of accounting records in the region, typically in Letlhakeng, Tsabong, and Mabutsane was less than satisfactory, according to Auditor General’s report.
In these depots a number of instances had been noted where receipts and issues had not been recorded over long periods, resulting in incorrect balances reflected in the accounting records. This is a serious weakness which could lead to or result in losses without trace or detection, and is a contravention of Supplies Regulations and Procedures, Letebele said.
Similarly, consignments of a total of 892 bags of Malutu and 3 bags of beans from Tsabong depot to different feeding centres had not been received in those centres, and are considered lost. These are also not reflected in the Statement of Losses in the Annual Statements of Accounts for the same periods.