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DIS budget chopped after NPF funds fiasco

The Directorate on Intelligence and Security (DIS) has failed to illustrate to the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) how they spent the P230 million they dubiously received from the National Petroleum Fund (NPF) last year.

DIS acting Director General (DG), Tefo Kgotlhane revealed on Thursday that the institution was a one man’s show during the leadership of the fired Colonel Isaac Kgosi. Kgosi was removed from the position and replaced by retired Brigadier Peter Magosi by President Mokgweetsi Masisi in May this year. When answering questions posed to him by PAC members especially Samson Moyo Guma, Kgotlhane was unable to provide the information required by the panel.  

Another DIS official, acting Finance Director Sehunelo Khunou admitted that they have not fully accounted for the money. “We have not really accounted for the P230 million, we are still working on it.” “The former Director General used to do things on his own including buying goods, he and the ministry of energy agreed on the P230 million prices, we were only involved in receiving the goods,” Kgotlhane said.

Already the DIS acting Finance Director revealed that 30 people were taken for VIP protection training in Israel, but could not furnish the PAC as to how much was spent on the assignment.  “As of now personally I don’t have any information on that one,” Khunou responded. He said only the Director General at the time had knowledge of the funds and how they were used. “The former accounting officer used to do things alone,” he said.

“My belief is they used the NPF funds,   I do not have any clue of the breakdown of how the money was spent. Part of it yes I know, but I do not have the exact amount,” he said to the astonishment of Guma as to how the finance director is clueless on how much was spent on the training of their personnel. The P230 million was initially taken by the DIS from the NPF to build fuel storage facilities but later was diverted to buy spy equipment.

Office of the President signed a deal with the Israeli security company Dignia Systems (Pty) Ltd for the acquisition of security equipment and surveillance platform with association training. The DIS has also received the equipment in the form of firearms and Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV) – an aircraft with no pilot on board.

UAVs can be remote controlled aircraft (e.g. flown by a pilot at a ground control station) or can fly autonomously based on pre-programmed flight plans or more complex dynamic automation system. The equipment saw the DIS paying P 9 million, where the DIS requested not to the Commissioner General not to pay Duty. “I can only believe they were paid from NPF fund,” Kgotlhane said when asked where the money was from.

He went on to divulge that DIS did not go through proper procurement process which saw them dodging duty. The controversial contract is already paining the DIS and wants the deal to be suspended pending cancellation of the agreement. The acting DG said that they found discrepancies on the deal. The intelligence organ has contacted the attorney general for legal advice.

 “A legal instruction has already been issued to the supplier to cease the delivery of pending equipment as it is now before the courts,” Khunou said before his boss added; “Sir I am totally in the dark as to how much was spent on the expected equipment maybe the courts would help. I cannot exactly remember the amount spent,” Kgotlhane said.

The lump sum of P114, 800 has been deducted from DIS 2018/19 developmental budget to settle part of the amount taken from the NPF. This, Khunou says, was a directive from the parliamentary Finance and Estimate committee to pay back not a cabinet directive like it was said.  “But there is nothing in our records that cabinet said we should pay back,” Kgotlhane said. “It is unfortunate that the only information we have is from files and the transaction were made directly by the then DG,” Kgotlhane said.

DIS CLUELESS ON KHULACO

The acting Director General further revealed that they have written to Khulaco to account for the P230 million disbursed to them but to this day, the company has not responded.  Khulaco Management Services was appointed with the responsibility for payments of a deal signed by the government and Dignia Systems equipment and surveillance platforms with associated training over three years.

“We have no access to the contract,” Khunou said before Kgotlhane added. “We had very little documents to explain transactions. We relied on Dignia and it made us uncomfortable.” Khulaco has already made part payment to Dignia which the DIS do not know how much has been paid.

MAGOSI, KGOSI EVASIVE MEETING

Still at the PAC Kgotlhane disclosed that there was no proper handover between Kgosi and Magosi. Kgotlhane told the four member committee on Thursday that they have asked the two to meet to clarify the NPF matter but in vain. “Up to now we can confirm that they have not met, we do not know the reasons sir,” he said.

The handover according to Kgotlhane could help as the DIS will now have the contract and access to Khulaco accounts which for now is a close secret despite the DIS being a partner. Meanwhile PAC member, Guma Moyo pointed out that people at the DIS are busy fighting each other and settling scores. He expressed concern that there was a possibility that the DIS was not paying tax and or fulfilling some requirements stipulated by the Botswana Unified Revenue Services (BURS).

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Masisi to dump Tsogwane?

28th November 2022

Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) and some senior government officials are abuzz with reports that President Mokgweetsi Masisi has requested his Vice President, Slumber Tsogwane not to contest the next general elections in 2024.

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African DFIs gear to combat climate change

25th November 2022

The impacts of climate change are increasing in frequency and intensity every year and this is forecast to continue for the foreseeable future. African CEOs in the Global South are finally coming to the party on how to tackle the crisis.

Following the completion of COP27 in Egypt recently, CEOs of Africa DFIs converged in Botswana for the CEO Forum of the Association of African Development Finance Institutions. One of the key themes was on green financing and building partnerships for resource mobilization in financing SDGs in Africa

A report; “Weathering the storm; African Development Banks response to Covid-19” presented shocking findings during the seminar. Among them; African DFI’s have proven to be financially resilient, and they are fast shifting to a green transition and it’s financing.

COO, CEDA, James Moribame highlighted that; “Everyone needs food, shelter and all basic needs in general, but climate change is putting the achievement of this at bay. “It is expensive for businesses to do business, for instance; it is much challenging for the agricultural sector due to climate change, and the risks have gone up. If a famer plants crops, they should be ready for any potential natural disaster which will cost them their hard work.”

According to Moribame, Start-up businesses will forever require help if there is no change.

“There is no doubt that the Russia- Ukraine war disrupted supply chains. SMMEs have felt the most impact as some start-up businesses acquire their materials internationally, therefore as inflation peaks, this means the exchange rate rises which makes commodities expensive and challenging for SMMEs to progress. Basically, the cost of doing business has gone up. Governments are no longer able to support DFI’s.”

Moribame shared remedies to the situation, noting that; “What we need is leadership that will be able to address this. CEOs should ensure companies operate within a framework of responsible lending. They also ought to scout for opportunities that would be attractive to investors, this include investors who are willing to put money into green financing. Botswana is a prime spot for green financing due to the great opportunity that lies in solar projects. ”

Technology has been hailed as the economy of the future and thus needs to be embraced to drive operational efficiency both internally and externally.

Executive Director, bank of Industry Nigeria, Simon Aranou mentioned that for investors to pump money to climate financing in Africa, African states need to be in alignment with global standards.

“Do what meets world standards if you want money from international investors. Have a strong risk management system. Also be a good borrower, if you have a loan, honour the obligation of paying it back because this will ensure countries have a clean financial record which will then pave way for easier lending of money in the future. African states cannot just be demanding for mitigation from rich countries. Financing needs infrastructure to complement it, you cannot be seating on billions of dollars without the necessary support systems to make it work for you. Domestic resource mobilisation is key. Use public money to mobilise private money.” He said.

For his part, the Minster of Minister of Entrepreneurship, Karabo Gare enunciated that, over the past three years, governments across the world have had to readjust their priorities as the world dealt with the effects and impact of the COVID 19 pandemic both to human life and economic prosperity.

“The role of DFIs, during this tough period, which is to support governments through countercyclical measures, including funding of COVID-19 related development projects, has become more important than ever before. However, with the increasingly limited resources from governments, DFIs are now expected to mobilise resources to meet the fiscal gaps and continue to meet their developmental mandates across the various affected sectors of their economies.” Said Gare.

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TotalEnergies Botswana launches Road safety campaign in Letlhakeng

22nd November 2022

Letlhakeng:TotalEnergies Botswana today launched a Road Safety Campaign as part of their annual Stakeholder Relationship Management (SRM), in partnership with Unitrans, MVA Fund, TotalEnergies Letlhakeng Filling Station and the Letlhakeng Sub District Road Safety Committee during an event held in Letlhakeng under the theme, #IamTrafficToo.

The Supplier Relationship Management initiative is an undertaking by TotalEnergies through which TotalEnergie annually explores and implements social responsibility activities in communities within which we operate, by engaging key stakeholders who are aligned with the organization’s objectives. Speaking during the launch event, TotalEnergies’ Operations and HSSEQ,   Patrick Thedi said,  “We at TotalEnergies pride ourselves in being an industrial operator with a strategy centered on respect, listening, dialogue and stakeholder involvement, and a partner in the sustainable social and economic development of its host communities and countries. We are also very fortunate to have stakeholders who are in alignment with our organizational objectives. We assess relationships with our key stakeholders to understand their concerns and expectations as well as identify priority areas for improvement to strengthen the integration of Total Energies in the community. As our organization transitions from Total to Total Energies, we are committed to exploring sustainable initiatives that will be equally indicative of our growth and this Campaign is a step in the right direction. ”

As part of this campaign roll out, stakeholders  will be refurbishing and upgrading and installing road signs around schools in the area, and generally where required. One of the objectives of the Campaign is to bring awareness and training on how to manage and share the road/parking with bulk vehicles, as the number of bulk vehicles using the Letlhakeng road to bypass Trans Kalahari increases. When welcoming guests to Letlhakeng, Kgosi Balepi said he welcomed the initiative as it will reduce the number of road incidents in the area.

Also present was District Traffic Officer ASP, Reuben Moleele,  who gave a statistical overview of accidents in the region, as well as the rest of the country. Moleele applauded TotalEnergies and partners on the Campaign, especially ahead of the festive season, a time he pointed out is always one with high road statistics. The campaign name #IamTrafficToo, is a reminder to all road users, including pedestrians that they too need to be vigilant and play their part in ensuring a reduction in road incidents.

The official proceedings of the day included a handover of reflectors and stop/Go signs to the Letlhakeng Cluster from TotalEnerigies, injury prevention from tips from MVA’s Onkabetse Petlwana, as  well as  bulk vehicle safety tips delivered from Adolf Namate of Unitrans.

TotalEnergies, which is committed to having zero carbon emissions by 2050,  has committed to rolling out the Road safety Campaign to the rest of the country in the future.

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