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.”
Despite being hailed and still regarded as a hero who saved many lives through his decision to crash the BF5 fighter Jet around the national stadium on the eve of the 2018 BDF day, the deceased Pilot, Major Clifford Manyuni’s actions were treated as a letdown within the army, especially by his master-Commander of the Air Arm, Major General Innocent Phatshwane.
Manyuni’s master says he was utterly disappointed with his Pilot’s failure to perform “simple basics.”
Manyuni was regarded as a hero through social media for his ‘colourful exploits’, but Phatshwane who recently retired as the Air Arm Commander, revealed to WeekendPost in an exclusive interview that while he appreciated Batswana’s outpouring of emotions and love towards his departed Pilot, he strongly felt let down by the Pilot “because there was nothing wrong with that Fighter Jet and Manyuni did not report any problem either.”
The deceased Pilot, Manyuni was known within the army to be an upwardly mobile aviator and in particular an air power proponent.
“I was hurt and very disappointed because nobody knows why he decided to crash a well-functioning aircraft,” stated Phatshwane – a veteran pilot with over 40 years of experience under the Air Arm unit.
Phatshwane went on to express shock at Manyuni’s flagrant disregard for the rules of the game, “they were in a formation if you recall well and the guiding principle in that set-up is that if you have any problem, you immediately report to the formation team leader and signal a break-away from the formation.
Manyuni disregarded all these basic rules, not even to report to anybody-team members or even the barracks,” revealed Phatshwane when engaged on the much-publicised 2018 incident that took the life of a Rakops-born Pilot of BDF Class 27 of 2003/2004.
Phatshwane quickly dismisses the suggestion that perhaps the Fighter Jet could have been faulty, “the reasons why I am saying I was disappointed is that the aircraft was also in good condition and well-functioning. It was in our best interest to know what could have caused the accident and we launched a wholesale post-accident investigation which revealed that everything in the structure was working perfectly well,” he stated.
Phatshwane continued: “we thoroughly assessed the condition of the engine of the aircraft as well as the safety measures-especially the ejection seat which is the Pilot’s best safety companion under any life-threatening situation. All were perfectly functional.”
In aircrafts, an ejection seat or ejector seat is a system designed to rescue the pilot or other crew of an aircraft in an emergency. The seat is propelled out of the aircraft by an explosive charge or rocket motor, carrying the pilot with it.”
Manyuni knew about all these safety measures and had checked their functionality prior to using the Aircraft as is routine practice, according to Phatshwane. Could Manyuni have been going through emotional distress of some sort? Phatshwane says while he may never really know about that, what he can say is that there are laid out procedures in aviation guiding instances of emotional instability which Manyuni also knew about.
“We don’t allow or condone emotionally or physically unfit Pilots to take charge of an aircraft. If a Pilot feels unfit, he reports and requests to be excused. We will subsequently shift the task to another Pilot. We do this because we know the risks of leaving an unfit pilot to fly an aircraft,” says Phatshwane.
Despite having happened a day before the BDF day, Phatshwane says the BDF day mishap did not really affect the BDF day preparations, although it emotionally distracted Manyuni’s flying formation squad a bit, having seen him break away from the formation to the stone-hearted ground. The team soldiered on and immediately reported back to base for advice and way forward, according to Phatshwane.
Sharing the details of the ordeal and his Pilots’ experiences, Phatshwane said: “they (pilots) were in distress, who wouldn’t? They were especially hurt by the deceased‘s lack of communication. I immediately called a chaplain to attend to their emotional needs.
He came and offered them counselling. But soldiers don’t cry, they immediately accepted that a warrior has been called, wiped off their tears and instantly reported back for duty. I am sure you saw them performing miracles the following day at the BDF day as arranged.”
Despite the matter having attracted wide publicity, the BDF kept the crash details a distance away from the public, a move that Phatshwane felt was not in the best interest of the army and public.
“The incident attracted overwhelming public attention. Not only that, there were some misconceptions attached to the incident and I thought it was upon the BDF to come out and address those for the benefit of the public and army’s reputation,” he said.
One disturbing narrative linked to the incident was that Manyuni heroically wrestled the ‘faulty’ aircraft away from the endangered public to die alone, a narrative which Phatshwane disputes as just people’s imaginations. “Like I said the Aircraft was functioning perfectly,” he responded.
A close family member has hinted that the traumatised Manyuni family, at the time of their son’s tragedy, strongly accused the BDF ‘of killing their son’. Phatshwane admits to this development, emphasising that “Manyuni’s mother was visibly and understandably in inconsolable pain when she uttered those words”.
Phatshwane was the one who had to travel to Rakops through the Directorate of Intelligence Services (DIS) aircraft to deliver the sad news to the family but says he found the family already in the know, through social media. At the time of his death, Manyuni was survived by both parents, two brothers, a sister, fiancée and one child. He was buried in Rakops in an emotionally-charged burial. Like his remains, the BDF fighter jets have been permanently rested.
A matter in which former President Lt Gen Ian Khama had brought before Broadhurst Police Station in Gaborone, requesting the State to charge Directorate on Corruption and Economic Crime (DCEC) lead investigator, Jako Hubona and others with perjury has been committed to Headquarters because it involves “elders.”
Broadhurst Police Station Commander, Obusitswe Lokae, told this publication this week that the case in its nature is high profile so the matter has been allocated to his Officer Commanding No.3 District who then reported to the Divisional Commander who then sort to commit it to Police Headquarters.