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DCEC interviews Judge Kebonang over NPF case

High Court Judge Zein Kebonang, twin brother to former Minister of Mineral Resources, Green Technology and Energy Security Sadique Kebonang has been interviewed by the Directorate on Corruption and Economic Crime (DCEC) to establish his connection to the ongoing case of the National Petroleum Fund (NPF).

The DCEC is most likely to enjoin other suspects to Bakang Seretse and others before the court of law to answer for charges of money laundering in the on-going P250m National Petroleum Fund (NPF) case next week Thursday, WeekendPost has established. The DCEC has recently warned and cautioned as a suspect former Directorate on Intelligence and Security (DIS) boss and Kebonang is yet to be warned and cautioned as a suspect, early next week.

Investigations by this publication have revealed that Directorate of Public Prosecutions (DPP) and DCEC directors are expected to engage Attorney General Abraham Keetshabe with a formal communiqué concerning his employee Judge Kebonang early next week. “He will then decide on what should be done should Judge Kebonang appear before court as a suspect,” said a source at DCEC. “Kebonang may be called to resign as a judge or he can be suspended pending finalisation of the matter.”

According to impeccable sources, Judge Kebonang was during the interrogation asked to explain where he got the funds to buy a multimillion Rand mansion in South Africa. “During the interview, Kebonang denied any knowledge of the NPF project and said his only involvement related to the ministry of Education project. He said he was never informed about NPF tender nor did he participate in it at the ministry. He said he got the funds from his Basis Point consultancy company,” said the source, adding that but the payment from that company was way too little and even had to share it with his business partners.

On a separate matter, though Kgosi has already been warned as a suspect, WeekendPost is reliably informed that the DPP is now reluctant on dragging him to court next week. They hold a view that the evidence at hand is not that strong against Kgosi. “Kgosi has always maintained that the only money he can account for was the P118 which was wired to Dignia System in Israel to purchase government equipment. And the equipment has since been delivered to the DIS new boss, retired Brigadier Peter Magosi.  And the said sum has since been taken from DIS this year’s budget to refund the NPF.”

At the last mention, the DPP had made an excuse that they could not start prosecuting Bakang and company saying they were yet to add more people to the charge sheet.  Meanwhile sources at the DPP say the DCEC is finding it difficult to mount a serious case of money laundering against the accused and instead want to amend the charge sheet to theft against Bakang.

The background of the case is that, in August 2017, the DIS proposed that the ministry which has since been renamed Ministry of Mineral Resources; Green Technology and Energy Security releases an amount of P250m for the design and construction of additional sites in a bid to further expand these sites to cater for other essential government organs. The ministry promptly responded by acceding to the request and stipulated the funds within the NPF.



It was agreed that a private company be created to disburse these funds, in which case the funds would be drawn out of the NPF to such a company. Apparently the DIS argued the angle of national security that such facilities if carried out under the PPADB would become common knowledge and lose their tactical importance.

At this meeting, the private company, Khulaco Management Services was agreed to. This is the company in which the accused Seretse and Botho Leburu are directors.

Following the said meeting, a letter from Khulaco to the ministry accepts the appointment and immediately states that they will charge a fee of 20 percent of the deposited amount. This led to another meeting after which the Ministry attempted to streamline the process of drawdown to include submission of project plans and defined how mobilisation fees would be paid, according to documents seen by this publication.

Sources further reveal that the DIS appeared agreeable to the stipulated processes from the ministry and immediately instructed the ministry to pay P250m into Khulaco’s account. Kgosi later instructed Bakang to transfer the amount of P118m to Dignia Systems.

Currently, before court is Bakang, Leburu and Kenneth Kerekang.

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DPP halts JSC, Judge’s back to work plan

25th January 2021
Kebonang

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.

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BDP rejects Saleshando payment proposal

25th January 2021
MP saleshando

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.

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Boko-Khama axis viewed with suspicion

25th January 2021
boko-and-khama

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.

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