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Controversial DIS, Dignia contract flouted PPADB Act

A contract between the coveted Directorate on Intelligence and Security (DIS) and a controversial Israeli company Dignia (Pty) Ltd involving the acquisition of security equipment and surveillance platform with associated training has flouted basic tendering procedures, Weekend Post has learnt.

The revelations have been exposed in the Attorney General’s highly classified report titled “Preliminary findings by the Attorney General on the contract between Office of the President and Dignia Systems (Pty) Ltd for the acquisition of security equipment and surveillance platform with association training.” The report unearthed many shocking revelations on the controversial DIS and the Dignia company and exposed that in essence the contract is not in compliance with the provisions of the Public Procurement and Asset Disposal Board (PPADB) Act.

In the confidential report, the AG found out that “the effective date of the contract is not stipulated” and that there is “no indication that the request for quotation method was authorized by PPADB” on the duo’s agreement. It further goes on to highlight that the contract also exceeds both the Request for Quotation (RFQ) and Ministerial Tender Committee (MTC) thresholds. The AG also found out that: “no invitation to tender was floated which could have clearly stipulated the deliverables, meaning the deliverables are only known to the contractor” which is against established tendering norms.

In addition, the Attorney General pointed out that “payment was effected before delivery and no advance payment guarantee has been provided by the contractor.” Furthermore, the secret report brought to light that there are also “no provisions for risk of loss exposing government to risk and possible loss in the event something happens to the goods whilst on transit before delivery” adding that there are also “no provisions for defect liabilities, warranties and quality assurance checks.”

The findings also uncovered that the contract does not make provision for withholding taxes that are due on each component of the contract. In light of the sneering AG findings, the new DIS Director General Peter Magosi earlier in July wrote to the controversial Israeli company, in particular Mordechai Barashi informing him to find time to meet up and discuss further the dubious contract that was entered in by the company and ex spy Chief Isaac Kgosi at the time he was at the helm.

Magosi told Barashi that: “kindly find attached the points raised by the Attorney General which are fundamental in crafting the way forward in implementing this contract. I hope you will find time to indulge and reflect on the points raised and act accordingly.” He further stated that “in that regard I invite Dignia System Ltd to a meeting in Gaborone, Botswana preferably on the 29th to 30th July 2018 failing which the alternative date would be 5th to 6th August 2018. The purpose of the meeting will be to resolve the issues as raised herein by the Attorney General.”

Earlier on, in June, Kenamile Badubi who was acting for Director General Peter Magosi also wrote to Barashi at Dignia System Ltd highlighting that they “have since received feedback from the Attorney General regarding the status of the contract.” Badubi stressed that “the contract has been found to be in contravention against the PPADB rules and regulations.” He said the Attorney General has also noticed that the due diligence in crafting the contract was not followed hence a lot of mistakes and omissions which render the contract implementation impossible.

“In that regard, we have been advised to renegotiate and re-draft the contract and align it with the laws governing procurement in Botswana and the requirements of the regulatory bodies.” Before that, on May Magosi also wrote: “As you are aware, Col. Isaac Kgosi is no longer the Director General of the Directorate of Intelligence and Security (DIS) of Botswana. I also understand that your company Dignia Systems Ltd and/or Aeronautics Ltd had earlier made some arrangements involving training in various courses. The Director Training is equally not privy to the details of the contract pertaining to the provision of these training courses.”

The irregularities in the deal compelled Magosi to suspend the contract for the acquisition of security equipment and surveillance platform with associated training. The deal was financed by the biggest financial scandal in the country involving P230 million that was diverted from the National Petroleum Fund (NPF) last year by the intelligence organ under Kgosi. The money was transferred to the DIS for construction of fuel storage tanks before being diverted for the alleged purchase of military hardware from Dignia Systems. Meanwhile Gaborone socialite and businessman Bakang Seretse, Botho Leburu and Kenneth Kerekang are facing money-laundering charges in relation to the contract in question while Kgosi is still at large.

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Khan: Boko, Masisi are fake politicians

18th January 2021
Masisi & Boko

While there is no hard-and-fast rule in politics, former Molepolole North Member of Parliament, Mohamed Khan says populism acts in the body politic have forced him to quit active partisan politics. He brands this ancient ascription of politics as fake and says it lowers the moral compass of the society.

Khan who finally tasted political victory in the 2014 elections after numerous failed attempts, has decided to leave the ‘dirty game’, and on his way out he characteristically lashed at the current political leaders; including his own party president, Advocate Duma Boko. “I arrived at this decision because I have noticed that there are no genuine politics and politicians. The current leaders, Boko and President Dr Mokgweetsi Masisi are fake politicians who are just practicing populist politics to feed their egos,” he said.

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Ookeditse rejects lobby for BPF top post

18th January 2021
LAWRENCE-OOKEDITSE

Former Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) parliamentary hopeful, Lawrence Ookeditse has rejected the idea of taking up a crucial role in the Botswana Patriotic Front (BPF) Central Committee following his arrival in the party this week. According to sources close to development, BPF power brokers are coaxing Ookeditse to take up the secretary general position, left vacant by death of Roseline Panzirah-Matshome in November 2020.

Ookeditse’s arrival at BPF is projected to cause conflicts, as some believe they are being overlooked, in favour of a new arrival. The former ruling party strategist has however ruled out the possibility of serving in the party central committee as secretary general, and committed that he will turn down the overture if availed to him by party leadership.

Ookeditse, nevertheless, has indicated that if offered another opportunity to serve in a different capacity, he will gladly accept. “I still need to learn the party, how it functions and all its structures; I must be guided, but given any responsibility I will serve the party as long as it is not the SG position.”

“I joined the BPF with a clear conscious, to further advance my voice and the interests of the constituents of Nata/Gweta which I believe the BDP is no longer capable to execute.” Ookeditse speaks of abject poverty in his constituency and prevalent unemployment among the youth, issues he hopes his new home will prioritise.

He dismissed further allegations that he resigned from the BDP because he was not rewarded for his efforts towards the 2019 general elections. After losing in the BDP primaries in 2018, Ookeditse said, he was offered a job in government but declined to take the post due to his political ambitions. Ookeditse stated that he rejected the offer because, working for government clashed with his political journey.

He insists there are many activists who are more deserving than him; he could have chosen to take up the opportunity that was before him but his conscious for the entire populace’s wellbeing held him back. Ookeditse said there many people in the party who also contributed towards party success, asserting that he only left the BDP because he was concerned about the greater good of the majority not individualism purposes.

According to observers, Ookeditse has been enticed by the prospects of contesting Nata/Gweta constituency in the 2024 general election, following the party’s impressive performance in the last general elections. Nata/Gweta which is a traditional BDP stronghold saw its numbers shrinking to a margin of 1568. BDP represented by Polson Majaga garnered 4754, while BPF which had fielded Joe Linga received 3186 with UDC coming a distant with 1442 votes.

There are reports that Linga will pave way for Ookeditse to contest the constituency in 2024 and the latter is upbeat about the prospects of being elected to parliament. Despite Ookeditse dismissing reports that he is eying the secretary general position, insiders argue that the position will be availed to him nevertheless.

Alternative favourite for the position is Vuyo Notha who is the party Deputy Secretary General. Notha has since assumed duties of the secretariat office on the interim basis. BPF politburo is expected to meet on 25th of January 2020, where the vacancy will be filled.

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BDP cancels MPs retreat

18th January 2021
President Masisi

Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) big wigs have decided to cancel a retreat with the party legislators this weekend owing to increasing numbers of Covid-19 cases. The meeting was billed for this weekend at a place that was to be confirmed, however a communique from the party this past Tuesday reversed the highly anticipated meeting.

“We received a communication this week that the meeting will not go as planned because of rapid spread of Covid-19,” one member of the party Central Committee confirmed to this publication.
The gathering was to follow the first of its kind held late last year at party Treasurer Satar Dada’s place.

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