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DCEC declares Kgosi a suspect in NPF scandal

In a new twist of events, former Directorate on Intelligence and Security (DIS) boss, Colonel Isaac Kgosi, has been warned and cautioned by the Directorate on Corruption and Economic Crime (DCEC) as a suspect in the on-going multi-million National Petroleum Fund (NPF) money laundering case this week.

Initially, Kgosi was to be a star witness for the state against his alleged co-accused Bakang Seretse, Botho Leburu and Kenneth Kerekang before the then Regional Magistrate Christopher Gabanagae at the Broadhurst Magistrate Court. Kgosi had earlier on deposited an affidavit on behalf of the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) on a related matter where the state was forfeiting assets belonging to Bakang. 

In the affidavit Kgosi denies knowledge of Khulaco, Bakang and Leburu. Khulaco is the Company at the centre of the NPF P250 million payment to the Israeli Company. It was later proved otherwise, where it showed that to the contrary; the DIS officially appointed Khulaco and provided all necessary documentation of Bakang and Leburu. This was further supported by a contract between Dignia Systems and Office of the President.  Kgosi’s interview comes on the back of strong resistance from him last week, but was otherwise persuaded by his advisors to consent to the interview.  

“Earlier he had threatened the DCEC investigators whom he felt were overreaching and way too junior to have a conversation with him,” said a source. He was interviewed by investigators Andries German, Lebogang Moshasho and Thuso Motsheganetso. WeekendPost is reliably informed that the interview which eventually took place on Monday ran for several hours and was in the presence of Kgosi’s lawyer, Unoda Mack.

“Of interest to the DCEC was the P250 million paid to the Israelis; Kgosi’s relationship with the company and if he derived any personal benefit from the procurement; the need for procurement, and if any study motivated the procurement; Kgosi’s spending habits; possessions and relations, and his relationship with the accused persons in the money laundering case.” Sources who were part of the meeting also hinted that Kgosi was perplexed at the extent to which DCEC wants to review all state secrets.

“He was uncomfortable sharing state secrets with people who he deems way too junior,” said a source. The warning and cautioning of Kgosi comes at a time when those following the NPF money laundering case are asking themselves if Kgosi forms part of the list that DPP wish to add to the charge sheet come November, 29. 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. “This is because the case bears no hallmark of money laundering. The sources of funds are known, the destination of money is known, the use of money is known, the payers or facilitators were all vetted locally and internationally. “

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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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