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Kerekang implicates PSP in NPF tale

In February 2018, cabinet chaired by former President Ian Khama discussed the National Petroleum Fund (NPF) case and resolved that the Directorate of Intelligence and Security (DIS) return the National Petroleum Fund (NPF) money it had received to buy weapons, according to Kenneth Kerekang, one of the accused persons in the NPF money laundering case.

He said Permanent Secretary to the President, Carter Morupisi was further instructed to meet with key government officials behind the transaction and put in place a process for the DIS to return funds to the Ministry of Mineral Resources Green Technology and Energy through the NPF.  “Indeed, a meeting was held in which Isaac Kgosi, as head of the DIS then; Dr Obulukile Obakeng Acting PS of the Ministry of Minerals with some key executives and officials from the ministry of Finance were in attendance,” he said.

“In opening the meeting, Morupisi acknowledged that, ‘cabinet knows there was no money laundering involved with the NPF/DIS P250m transaction, however, we will continue to pursue the matter before the courts in order to build public confidence. Things could have been done neater.’ “ But Morupisi is adamant that Kerekang’s version of events is untrue and misleading, “he knows very well that he is lying. I have never been in a meeting attended by him (Kerekang) and Kgosi, it is all lies,” he said.

Kerekang stated that, in Morupisi’s view, the P250m “loan” didn’t follow the proper procedure. He alleges that, it was at this point that they angered Kgosi that he wished to meet with the person who claims that the money the DIS got from the NPF was a loan.  According to Kerekang, Kgosi made it known to the panel that at no point in his discussions with the ministry of minerals was he ever given an impression that the money they received was a loan, explaining that to his knowledge the transaction was a straight government department to department funding assistance.  

“At that point then Acting PS in the ministry of minerals Dr Obakeng asked me to clarify the details behind the funding assistance because I was the one behind it as the director of the department of Energy.  Again, this angered Kgosi and he told the panel that he did not deal with me in getting funding assistance, and  a variation to pay for arms equipment from the original fuel storage construction, but instead Dr Obakeng.”


Kgosi is said to have went on and expressed disappointment at Dr Obakeng for denying the things which they agreed upon as government officials, and warned him to stop lying to everyone that cared to listen to his  ‘nonsense’. “At this stage Morupisi stepped in to calm the situation and asked for a productive meeting.  He further informed the meeting attendants that cabinet has taken a decision that the DIS will refund the P250m from its allocated budget of the new financial year of 1 April 2018. 

Another argument in the meeting erupted on whether the amount was P250m or P230m.  Kgosi insisted that he requested P250m, and he got only P230m.  He further was angry that he has only utilized P118m because the balance has been frozen by the ‘overzealous DCEC and FIA officials’.  The meeting was adjourned, with Kgosi and Obakeng asked to action the decision of cabinet with the assistance of the Ministry of Finance,” Kerekang narrated.

“All these act up in front me, a first accused in the criminal case before the Broadhurst Magistrate court.  To me this was the highest level of arrogance and complete lack of respect in my being… You invite me to a meeting where you say there was no wrongdoing, but you then say in front of my face that you are prosecuting me for PR purposes! How arrogant is that? I felt so insulted.  And that has been the story of my principals ever since.  One lie after the other, Dr Obakeng and the ministry have kept on denying many things, which he should have taken responsibility of.”

“And lately, after spending a year deciding on what to charge me with, Directorate of Public Prosecutions (DPP) comes to insult me for the second time.  They say I lied to Kgosi. Come on, I lie to a full head of Intelligence to go buy arms and spy equipment? Let’s get serious.  How do these arms benefit me, and my wife and children?  The government of Botswana keeps insulting me.  I may be quiet but I am certainly not stupid.  That is why I said that these people use people like condoms.  You are only good for their objectives, thereafter they dump you,” Kerekang said, adding that there were many words to describe the government’s blunt disregard of his rights:  Callous, Appalling and Cruel.

Here’s another possibility which my lawyers will attend to later: criminal — liable to prosecution and, if found guilty, I hope prison time for them.Documents in possession of the WeekendPost show desperate acts of the ministry and the DIS to sanitize the transaction after the alleged meeting chaired by Morupisi.  In the correspondence, the ministry of minerals represented by Dr Obakeng requests for information from the DIS on the P250m facility and Khulaco; DIS responds also seeking further clarity on amounts, whether it was P230m or P250m; Dr Obakeng further writes to the Attorney General asking for legal representation, as he felt he was on duty when he approved and varied use of the P250m by the DIS to buy drones, and spy equipment.  

Kerekang questions why it is so stupid for the DCEC and DPP to think he was pursuing a private and personal matter when the DIS dealt with him regarding funding, but for Dr Obakeng it should be seen as if he was on duty and therefore he needs legal representation by the Attorney General?  “That is foolishness we see in this NPF case,” charges Kerekang. At one of the press conferences by the Minister of Minerals Eric Molale, he confirmed that the DIS has returned the P118m or so it used to purchase equipment from Israel to the ministry, as per the instruction of cabinet.  

“The balance of monies remain frozen with the banks.  It then begs the question, why is a government department returning money to another government department that claimed it was laundered, and has disappeared?  Related to this, Dignia Systems of Israel is suing government the balance of the money paid to it by Khulaco, represented by Bakang Seretse and Botho Leburu, who has since been discharged from the criminal case before the Broadhurst magistrate court.”  

“Dignia case is accompanied with documents of a contract and evidence of delivery.  Furthermore, Dignia say they only got to know of Khulaco through the Office of the President, thereby quashing any conspiracy with the accused.  Furthermore, they say they have had dealings with government for over 6 years, separate from the accused.  They also say proper international banking clearance was done in receiving their contract money, dispelling the myth of money laundering.”

Kerekang further claimed that he is withholding further information which he said is the privilege for his lawyers, and has instead asked the public to be patient as a lot will be revealed in court.  In partying he said, “I appear quiet but I am not stupid.  Neither am I going to be used cheaply.  I was a director at the Ministry of Mineral Resources Green Technology and Energy Security for many years.  I will not go down easily for cheap agendas.  Lets say I know a lot.  And let’s leave it there for now.” Asked about the allegations of the said meeting, Morupisi said, “That’s a blue lie. They are lying.”

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Botswana still weighing in on Maseko’s assassination

27th January 2023

The Minister of Foreign Affairs, Dr. Lemogang Kwape says Botswana has not taken any position regarding the killing of a renowned human rights lawyer, Thulani Maseko, who was gunned down at his house in Mbabane, Eswatini.

In a brief interview with WeekendPost, Dr Kwape said Botswana has not yet taken any position regarding his death. He said the purported incident should be thoroughly probed before Botswana can form an opinion based on the findings of the inquiries.

“Botswana generally condemns any killing of human life by all means,” says Dr. Kwape. He wouldn’t want to be dragged on whether Botswana will support the suspension of Eswatini from SADC.

“We will be guided by SADC organ Troika if they can be an emergency meeting. I am not sure when the meeting will be called by Namibian president,“ he said.

However, the Namibian president Hage Geingob notes with deep concern reports coming out of Eswatini about the killing of Mr. Maseko. In a statement, he called upon the “Government of the Kingdom of Eswatini to ensure that the killing of Maseko is swiftly, transparently and comprehensively investigated, and that any or all persons suspected of committing this heinous crime are brought to justice.”

Maseko was chairperson of the Multi-Stakeholder Forum which was established as a coalition of non-State actors to advocate for a process of national political dialogue aimed at resolving the security and political challenges confronting the Kingdom.

“SADC expresses its deepest and heartfelt condolences to the family of Mr. Maseko, his friends, colleagues, and to the people of the Kingdom of Eswatini for the loss of Mr. Maseko. In this context, SADC further calls upon the people of the Kingdom of Eswatini to remain calm, exercise due care and consideration whilst the appropriate structures conduct the investigations and bring the matter to completion,” the statement says.

Geingob reiterated the need for peaceful resolution of the political and security challenges affecting the country.

Meanwhile political activists are calling on SADC to suspend Eswatini from the block including the African Union as well.

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Kopong Murder: Accused interferes with witnesses again!

27th January 2023

State prosecutor, Seeletso Ookeditse revealed before the Broadhurst Magistrate Jobbie Moilatshimo that the third accused involved in the murder of Barulaganye Aston, has interfered with the State witnesses again.

The second and third accused (Lefty Kosie and Outlwile Aston) were previously accused of interference when they were caught in possession of cellphones in prison. They were further accused of planning to kill the deceased’s brother, who is currently the guardian to the children of the deceased.

Ookeditse indicated that Outlwile had earlier went to challenge the magistrate’s decision of denying him bail at the High Court before Judge Michael Motlhabi.

“The third accused approached the High Court and made a bail application, which was dismissed on the same day,” Ookeditse said.

However, even after the High Court verdict on their bail application, the duo (Kosie and Aston) has once again applied for bail this week.

Ookeditse plead with the court to stop the accused from abusing the court process.

“Yesterday, Directorate of Public Prosecutions (DPP) received papers of his bail application filed before the Broadhurst Magistrates Court. However, the papers do not speak to changed circumstances, therefore this back and forth about bail must be put to a stop,” said the State prosecutor.

While giving evidence before court, the Investigations Officer, Detective Inspector Quite Zhalamonto, said his investigations have proved that there is interference continuing regarding the accused trio.

He told the court that on the 12th of January 2023, he received a report from Thato Aston, who is the son of the accused and the deceased. The son had alleged to the Investigation Officer that he received a call from one Phillip Molwantwa.

According to Zhalamonto, Thato revealed that Molwatwa indicated that he was from prison on a visit to the Outlwile Aston and went on to ask where he was staying and where his siblings (Aston’s children) are staying.

“Thato revealed that Phillip went on to ask if he or his siblings saw their father murdering their mother, and he was referring to the crime scene. Thato told me that he, however, refused to answer the questions as he was afraid especially because he was asked about where him and his siblings stay,” said Zhalamonto.

Zhalamonto alluded to the court that he then went to Orange to confirm the communication between Thato and Molwantwa where he found the case.

“I have arrested Philip yesterday and when I interviewed him, he did not deny that he knows Aston and that he has indeed called Thato and asked questions as to where him and his siblings resides even though he failed to give reasons for asking such questions,” Zhalamonto told the court.

He further revealed that Molwantwa indicated that he had received a call from an unknown man who refused to reveal himself.

“Phillip told me that the unknown man said he was sent by the accused (Aston), and that Aston had instructed him to tell me to check if there was still some money in his bank accounts, and he also wanted to know where the kids were residing, the unknown man even asked him to meet at Main Mall” the Investigation Officer told the court.

He further informed the court that he is working tirelessly to identify the “unknown caller” and the route of the cell number.

Furthermore, the fourth accused, Kebaleboge Ntsebe, has revealed to the court through a letter that she was abused and tortured by the Botswana Police Services. She wrote in her letter that she suffered miscarriage as a result of being beaten by the police.

Ntsebe is on bail, while a bail ruling for Aston and Kosie will be delivered on the 6th of next month

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Ngamiland Cattle Farmers Gain Green Zone Revenue

27th January 2023

Cattle farmers from Eretsha and Habu in the Ngamiland district, supported by the Community Based Trade (CBT) project, recently generated over P300 000.00 for sales of 42 cattle to the Botswana Meat Commission (BMC) in Maun. This milestone was achieved through support from various stakeholders in conservation, commodity-based trade and the government, in collaboration with farmers. Ordinarily, these farmers would not have made this direct sale since the area is a designated Foot and Mouth Disease (FMD) Red Zone.

Traditional livestock farming contributes toward livelihoods and formal employment in the North-West District (Ngamiland) of Botswana. However, primarily due to the increase in FMD outbreaks over the past two decades and predation by wildlife, the viability of livestock agriculture as a source of income has declined in the region. This has led to a greater risk of poverty and food insecurity. Access across the Okavango River (prior to the construction of a bridge) restricted access for farmers in Eretsha. This lack of access hampered sales of cattle beyond Shakawe, further discouraging farmers from investing in proper livestock management practices. This resulted in negative environmental impacts, poor livestock health and productivity.

To address this challenge, farmers are working with a consortium led by Conservation International (CI), with funding secured from the European Union (EU) to pilot a CBT beef project. The project focuses on supporting and enabling communal farmers to comply with standards and regulations that will improve their chances to access markets. An opportunity to earn higher income from cattle sales could incentivize the adoption of restorative rangelands management practices by farmers.

These collaborative efforts being piloted in Habu and Eretsha villages also include the Pro-Nature Enterprises Project for the People of Southern Africa, funded by Agence Française de Développement (AFD) and Le Fonds français pour l’environnement mondial (FFEM). This complementary funding from AFD and FFEM supports the implementation of the Herding4Health (H4H) model and Rangeland Stewardship Agreements across four rangeland sites in Southern Africa, including Habu and Eretsha, to incentivize best practices that could offer sustainability in the long term for livelihoods, conservation and human-wildlife coexistence.

“We spend a lot of money getting our cattle to Makalamabedi quarantine site, the herder spends on average two months taking care of the cattle before they are taken into quarantine – that needs money. All these costs lead to us getting less money from BMC,” said one of the farmers in the programme, Mr Monnaleso Mosanga.

Farmers that participate in the project agree for their cattle to be herded and kraaled communally by fulltime professional herders (eco-rangers). At the core of this pilot is the use of predator-proof bomas (cattle kraals), planned grazing systems and mobile quarantine bomas (electrified enclosures) for the cattle, facilitated in support with the Department of Veterinary Services. The first successful exit from the mobile quarantine bomas in the Habu and Eretsha villages, in December 2022, saw cattle quarantined on-site and directly transported to BMC in Maun. Farmers received almost double the average sales within this region, as costs including transportation to quarantine sites, herder’s fees and other associated costs incurred before qualifying for BMC sales were no longer included.

“This pilot mobile quarantine is leveraging the techniques and protocols we are using at our current permanent quarantine sites, and we are still observing the results of the project. The outcome of this pilot will be presented to the World Organisation of Animal Health to assess its effectiveness and potentially be approved to be used elsewhere,” said Dr Odireleng Thololwane, the Principal Veterinary Officer (Maun).

Through co-financing of almost P1 billion from the Botswana government and Green Climate Fund, these interventions will be replicated, through The Ecosystem Based Adaptation and Mitigation in Botswana’s Communal Rangelands project, across the country. Both projects aim to improve the economic benefits of cattle owners and multitudes of Batswana households, while contributing to land restoration and climate change efforts by the Botswana government

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