Khama, Masisi in court for P250 million scandal
Bakang Seretse’s attorney in the on-going multi-million National Petroleum Fund (NPF) money laundering case, Kgosietsile Ngakaagae, has subpoenaed President Dr Mokgweetsi Masisi, his predecessor Lt Gen Dr Ian Khama and other senior government officials to explain to court their role in the case.
Among senior officials that have been called to court are: former Directorate on Corruption and Economic Crime (DCEC) Rose Seretse; director of DCEC Bruno Paledi; Deputy Director Operations DCEC Eugene Wasetso; Permanent Secretary to the President Cater Morupisi; former minister of Presidential Affairs, Governance and Public Administration Eric Molale; former minister of Minerals Sadique Kebonang; former Acting Permanent Secretary at Minerals Dr. Obolokile Obakeng and Director Finance Directorate on Intelligence and Security Moipedi Nkoane.
Ngakaagae served the Attorney General’s Chambers, Directorate of Public Prosecutions and DCEC with the documents last week. Ngakaage states on his papers that, “We remind that at the last hearing of this matter before Judge Godfrey Radijeng, we made the point that there are disputes of fact in this matter. Accordingly, we communicated to the honourable court and to yourselves, that there is no way the matter can be justiciably resolved unless there was a full blown trial and until all state actors relevant to the issue were called to give evidence and subjected to examination,” he stated on the papers.
“Such disputes relate to the quaere, as to whether the amounts and assets subject of the restraining order are in fact proceeds of crime such that they could be liable to forfeiture.” He has also requested the said parties to confirm if they can have a consent order for a full-blown trial or whether there will be a need to make an application for the same. “In the event of your objection to a full-blown trial, application shall be made for the dismissal of the matter on account of resoluble disputes of fact.
“We advise that the evidence of the witnesses will settle several issues including the alleged conspiracy between clients and Kerekang; the alleged breach of procurement process, the existence of any guilty intention on the various actors, the disputed version by Kgosi in so far as it relates to clients, State ownership of the project And its funding and selective justice among others.”
Dr Ian Khama
According to Ngakaagae, Khama is the only authority to which former Director DIS, Isaac Kgosi reported. “As such it is important to know of all relevant between the same in so far as the expenditure is concerned. It shall be required that the Office of the President produce all documentation that was ever generated or that is in their custody regarding the expenditure.”
Dr Mokgweetsi Masisi
President Masisi will be required to testify on his knowledge of the transaction as Vice President to the now retired Khama. And to any meetings he may have attended regarding the transaction and matters incidental thereto.
She is said to have attended a stakeholder briefing on September 18, 2017 with Kebonang, Obakeng, Bakang and Kenneth Kerekang.
Paledi is expected to testify as to when he first got to know about the contract between the DIS and Dignia Systems-the Israel Company. He will also be called to explain as to why the key State actors in Kgosi, Sadique and Obakeng were not subjected to the same treatment as Bakang and his co-accused Botho Leburu and Kenneth Kerekang. “He is relevant for testing the genuiness of the DCEC conspiracy claims.
To produce all material relevant to the case recovered from the DIS or any other government department,” states the document. “He will confirm he indeed ever visited Briscoe Attorneys whereat he requested for the disposal of legal files in so far as such related to the case. And to further explain the full extent of investigations regarding any benefit that may have accrued to any person regarding the amounts in issue.”
He is expected as the head of civil service and secretary to cabinet, the extent, if any, to which cabinet knew about the expenditure. Ngakaagae also requires him to produce all documentation received by his office. Regarding the transaction and further to all discussions regarding the matter. “He will further be required to testify on why, if at all, Kgosi was ever reprimanded or punished for the alleged expenditure and its status in so far as it obtained under the then administration.”
As the then minister to which security agencies including the DIS report, he is expected to testify fully on all matters regarding the transaction and expenditure.
As the former minister for the ministry to which the funds were sourced, he is alleged to have authorised the variation of the funds in dispute. He is best placed to speak on the genesis of the procurement from strategic fuel storage reserves to the ultimate expenditure-according to Ngakaagae.
She is required to answer on all meetings that she attended with clients regarding the transaction and disbursements as the DIS director Finance.
Dignia System representative will answer on the procurement aspect of the project and all matters incidental thereto and delivery status; To explain the relationship between the DIS and his company and the delivery status of the current contract. Last week, Kgosi, was warned and cautioned by the DCEC as a suspect and is expected to appear arraignment before the court on the same matter soon.
Initially, Kgosi was to be a star witness for the state against his alleged co-accused Bakang, Botho Leburu and Kenneth Kerekang before the then Regional Magistrate Christopher Gabanagae at the Broadhurst Magistrate Court. They were arraigned before court last year December.
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Mascom, Letshego partner to deliver the MyZaka instant loan
Letshego Botswana has recently partnered with Mascom to launch the Mascom MyZaka Instant Loan, a customer focused mobile money microloan service designed to provide customers with swift and convenient access to funds, driven by the underlying theme of “Ithuse” meaning “help yourself”
The loan is said to have been developed through a partnership driven by a deep customer focus with the key objectives of access, convenience and flexible financial support to customers of Letshego Botswana and Mascom through instantly disbursed short-term loans from P50 to P1 500 over the period of one month.
Letshego’s head of transformation, Molebogeng Malomo highlighted that working through agile methodologies, the partnership was able to develop and be released as what they call a Minimum Viable Product (MVP) or solution. “In keeping up with the spirit of design thinking and agile methodologies, the experiences and viewpoints of both Letshego Botswana and Mascom’s customers will be valuable to inform further enhancements to the Mascom MyZaka solution,” he said.
He further noted that the partnership and the development of the MyZaka instant loan will provide both the organizations to diversify their offering and customer base, while also offering the customer more choices and flexibility to initiate and be in control of their loan requests through the self-service mobile based application.
Mascom’s Chief Executive Officer, Dzene Makhwade-Seboni also alluded that their origins, priorities and initiatives are firmly rooted in Botswana and in the success of all Batswana, and that their strategy and intent is supported by embracing innovative problem-solving.
“The speed with which Letshego has grown over the years gives us confidence that we have partnered with the right service provider. Their expertise and most of all, innovation, a value we both share, will be beneficial to MyZaka Mobile Money for growth and for the convenience of our subscribers,” she concluded.
DCEC granted warrant to arrest Khama twins
The Directorate on Corruption and Economic Crime (DCEC) has been granted permission to apprehend the former Minister of Environment, Wildlife and Tourism, Tshekedi Khama, and his twin brother Anthony Khama.
Information gathered by this publication suggests that the DCEC is actively searching for the Khama brothers, this is in connection with events that transpired whilst Tshekedi was Minister of Environment. The duo is currently in exile in South Africa together with their elder brother, and former President Lt Gen Ian Khama.
Approximately two weeks ago, the corruption-busting agency discreetly filed for an arrest warrant that was approved by the Broadhurst Magistrate Court for the two to be taken into custody, according to a highly placed source within the government enclave.
DCEC is also said to have filed an affidavit signed by a high-ranking officer known to this publication. Reports indicate that after being presented with details of the case, the Broadhurst magistrate issued the agency an arrest warrant.
It is also believed that the agency has been conducting extensive investigations into the supposed suspects for quite some time. Furthermore, Weekend Post has it on good word that the DCEC has been looking for methods to summon the two for questioning but has been unsuccessful.
According to unconfirmed reports, DCEC met with attorney Victor Ramalepa, who refused to accept the summons, saying that he is not their attorney. Furthermore, it is believed that DCEC has enlisted the assistance of the Botswana Police Service (BPS) in flagging the suspects’ names in the International Criminal Police Organisation INTERPOL.
Responding to WeekendPost enquiries, DCEC spokesperson Lentswe Motshoganetsi said, “I am not in good position to confirm or deny the allegation,” adding that such allegations may fall within the operational purview of the DCEC.
When contacted for comment, Ramalepa briefly stated that he is unaware of the purported arrest warrant. “I know nothing about the warrant and I haven’t been served with anything,” he said.
Meanwhile, former president Lt Gen Ian Khama recently issued a statement stating that DIS is intensifying the harassment and intimidation of him, family, friends and office employees.
“It is reprehensible for state officials and agencies to abuse government resources to terrorise their own citizens for personal gain,” said the former president in a statement.
He also stated that his brother TK’s staff and security were ordered to falsely implicate him. “Their desperate tactics will never work, it only serves to motivate me more to pursue regime change and free Botswana from tyranny,” he said
This comes after the corruption busting agency wants to interview the alleged suspects as they are still hiding in South Africa since last year.
Despite the hostility between government and Khama family going unabated, last month, Masisi extended an olive branch to Khama in political rally, indicating that he hopes the two of them settle their differences, of which the former responded by welcoming the gesture.
Khama further said his brother, Tshekedi, will facilitate the reconciliation of his behalf. Many have indicated that Masisi did not say what he said in good faith, and was only scoring political brownies since he was in Khama’s territory in Shoshong.
DCEC’s Tshepo Pilane still has his mojo
Tshepo Pilane silenced his critics after being named the head of the Directorate on Corruption and Economic Crime (DCEC) in May of last year and served his opponents humble pie. Many believed he would only last for a month, but almost a year later, he is still standing.
Pilane, a trained soldier whose appointment surprised both the general public and some officers within the DCEC walls, has never glanced back in his duty to steer the DCEC ship forward.
It is alleged that immediately after his appointment the man embarked on a nation-wide trip touring the DCEC offices across the country in order to confirm and reaffirm the DCEC’s mandate. Sources from inside the DCEC claim that Pilane won the hearts of many DCEC employees due to his humility and plain message; “people at the top of the DCEC will come and go but the mandate of the DCEC remains relevant and unchanged.”
Pilane was appointed the Acting DCEC Director General at a time when the organisation was undergoing turbulence through court proceedings in which the suspended Director General Tymon Katlholo had interdicted the Directorate of Intelligence and Security (DIS) from accessing the DCEC premises. At the time, the DIS had raided the DCEC offices in the absence of Katlholo claiming to be looking for high profile corruption cases allegedly held by Katlholo.
At the time Pilane was Head of the DCEC Intelligence Division holding the position of Senior Assistant Director General reporting directly to the Deputy Director General Operations Ms Priscilla Israel. Contrary to his detractors, Pilane who is a reserved and humble person by nature won the support and backing of many DCEC officers due to his unassuming nature.
In a recent questionnaire sent to the DCEC regarding Pilane’s term in office, the DCEC was resolute on its commitment towards the fight against corruption. When quizzed on allegations of rife corruption since he took over, Pilane through his Public Relations (PR) office stated that the corruption landscape in Botswana remains unchanged as the DCEC continues to receive reports on allegations of corruption with sectors such as procurement (tenders and supplies), Transport (licensing and certificates), and land (dubious allocation and collusion) still leading issues reported. This trend has been consistence in the DCEC database for more than 10 years.
When further quizzed on accusations that suggest that due to the infighting at the agency, particularly at the top management, Investigations of cases has dropped significantly the DCEC claimed ignorance to the matter, stating that they are not aware of any “infights” at the DCEC “at the top management”, further stating that, investigations of cases has increased significantly, contrary to the allegations raised. “The DCEC is currently seeking new ways of expediting the investigations in order to fast track its enforcement role,” said the DCEC Head of Public Relations Lentswe Motshoganetsi. He further stated that the DCEC is in pursuit of high profile cases involving money and assets valued over P900 million. Three companies are involved in the scandal and two cases have already been committed to court while on one, investigations are about to be completed.
When WeekendPost inquired about Pilane’s roadmap, the DCEC stated that in the past, anti-corruption interventions were reactive, particularly in dealing with national projects that involve large sums of money. It was further started that in most instances investigating such matters takes a long time and in most instances, the money looted form Government in never recovered. As a result, the DCEC has taken a deliberate stance to attach its officers from the Corruption Prevention Division to be part of the implementation of these projects before, during, and after implementation.
The DCEC cited the Economic Stimulus Programme which, although meant to grow the economy and uplift Batswana from poverty, yielded incidents of corruption and poor workmanship. To date, the DCEC is still grappling with cases as some projects were not done, or were completed with defects beyond repair. Currently the DCEC is involved at the Ministry of Education conducting project risk management in the Multiple Path Ways Program at Moeng College and Maun Senior School. This intervention will spread to other sectors of the economy as part of the DCEC’s corruption prevention strategy.
Of recent, the DCEC has been in the media for all the wrong reasons following leakage of high profile cases and allegations claiming that the executive management is at war with each other more particularly with some within the agency harbouring ambitions to dethrone Pilane from the Directorship.
Although the infighting was denied by Pilane’s Office, he acknowledged that leakage of information is a problem across Government and stated that it is a pain at the DCEC. He however stated that Staff has been cautioned against leakage of investigation information and that they have roped in the Botswana Police to assist in investigating incidents of leakage. He further stated that they have increased continuous vetting and lifestyle audits for DCEC employees in order to enforce discipline.
Pilane’s term comes to an end in May 2023 after serving the DCEC for a year on acting basis. It will be in the public interest to see who will be given the baton to continue the anti-corruption journey if Pilane’s contract is not renewed. The DCEC has seen arrival and departure of Director Generals having alternated the top seat five times in less than seven years.