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Chief DCEC investigator reinstated

Head of Investigations Unit at the Directorate on Corruption and Economic Crime (DCEC), Itumeleng Phuthego, has returned to work following a controversial decision to put him on indefinite suspension.

WeekendPost has it in good authority that, Phutego was among individuals who were restored to their positions in the civil service following the ascendance of President Mokgweetsi Masisi to the state presidency last month. Phuthego reported for duty three weeks ago, WeekendPost can reveal.

Meanwhile in his absence, a new director general, Bruno Paledi was appointed, replacing Rose Seretse who has since joined the newly formed Botswana Energy Regulator Authority (BERA). The ascendancy of President Masisi has seen him making several key decisions with deployment in government agencies, including the sacking of Isaac Kgosi, the former Director of Directorate of Intelligence and Security Services (DIS).

Information gathered by this publication has indicated that the DCEC had planned to frustrate Phuthego by throwing him in the wilderness for a while and eventually sack him. In recent months, there has been discontent within DCEC as some staff were redeployed or transferred unceremoniously. 

The suspension of Phuthego, the man in charge of the most important unit in the DCEC, had sent panic within the institution and raised concern over the independence and resilience of the crime busting agency. His suspension along with other officers followed investigations launched against the then Minister of Lands, Water and Sanitation, Prince Maele. Maele is no longer part of cabinet. According to informants, DCEC accused Phuthego of having divulged important information to the media relating to an ongoing investigation of the then minister Maele.

Maele, who has been subject of the DCEC investigation more than twice, has since been dropped from cabinet by Masisi. Sadique Kebonang, another minister who was also a subject of DCEC investigations was also dropped from the newly constituted cabinet.
Last year DCEC denied any witch-hunt against its staff following revelations that it was trying to protect the elite against alleged corruption.

“There is no dispute that there are a few DCEC officials who are on suspension, the fact of the matter is that none of these officers were suspended on the basis of having questioned management as to why certain cases are not prosecuted. It must be stated that suspension of public officers is an internal administrative issue anchored on the remits of the Public Service Act and other regulatory instruments regulating the conduct of public officers,” a statement from DCEC explained.

The reports of DCEC top brass developing cold feet and deciding against investigating high profile officials in corruption matters was not helped by the agency’s failure to instigate prosecution against Isaac Kgosi, the former Director General of the Directorate of Intelligence Security Services (DISS).

In 2014, embarrassing information was leaked to the media, indicating that the DCEC had completed investigations on Kgosi, which could have warranted legal action against him. DCEC officials were at pains trying to explain the reason the docket was not sent to Directorate of Public Prosecution (DPP) for prosecution. The docket has been lying at DCEC offices for years now, with reports from sources within DCEC indicating that Kgosi had infiltrated the corruption investigation organisation.

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Masisi to make things right with Dangote

26th October 2020

High Commissioner of the Federal Government of Nigeria to Botswana, His Excellency Umar Zainab Salisu, has challenged President Dr Mokgweetsi Masisi to move swiftly and lobby Africa’s richest man, Nigerian Billionaire, Aliko Dangote to invest in Botswana.

Speaking during a meeting with President Masisi at Office of President on Thursday Zainab Salisu said Dangote has expressed massive interest in setting up billion dollar industries in Botswana.  “We have a lot of investors who wish to come and invest in Botswana , when we look at Botswana we don’t see Botswana itself , but we are lured by its geographic location , being in the centre of Southern Africa presents a good opportunity for strategic penetration into other markets of the region,” said Salisu.

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Dow wants GBV culprits isolated

26th October 2020
Unity Dow

As murder cases and violent incidents involving couples and or lovers continue to be recorded daily, Specially Elected Member of Parliament, Dr Unity Dow has called for more funding of non-governmental organizations and accelerated action from government to come up with laws that could inhibit would-be perpetrators of crimes related to Gender Based Violence (GBV).

Just after Dr Dow had deposited her views on this subject with this reporter, a young man in Molepolole opened fire on a married woman he was having an affair with; and ended her life instantly. While it is this heinous cases that get projected to the public space, the former minister argues that the secrecy culture is keeping other real GBV cases under wraps in many spaces in the country.

The former Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation said there is GBV all the time in all kinds of places. “We have become accustomed to stories of rapes, marital rapes, defilement of children, beatings and psychological violence and even killings,” she said.

Gender-based violence is a phenomenon deeply rooted in gender inequality, Dow is worried that there is absolutely no social punishment for perpetrators; they will continue to have the same friends, jobs, wives, homes, as before. Yet another factor, she said, is that there is little or no “justice” for victims of GBV.

The renowned activist said justice for GBV victims is not just the jailing of the perpetrator. “Justice for victims means an agile, victim-friendly, accessible (time, money and procedures) and restorative justice system.”

Asked what could be leading to a spike in Gender Based Violence cases or incidents, she observed that there is no one factor to which this spike can be attributed. “The most obvious factor is stress as a result of economic distress and or poverty. Poverty makes one vulnerable and open to compromises that they would otherwise not make. For perpetrators with anger management issues, economic stress leads to lashing out to those closest to them. Another factor is the disintegration of families and family values,” she opined.

According to Dow, no government anywhere in the world is doing enough, period. “We know the places and spaces where women and girls are unsafe. We know the challenges they face in their attempts to exit those spaces and places.” The former Judge of the High Court said GBV undermines the health, dignity, security and autonomy of its victims, yet it remains shrouded in the culture of silence.

Asked what could be done to arrest GBV cases, Dow said it is critical to involve and fund civil society organizations. She observed that much of the progress done in the area of women’s human rights was during the time when Botswana had strong and funded civil society organizations.

“The funding dried up when Botswana was declared a middle-income country but unfortunately external funding was not replaced by local funding,” she acknowledged.

Further Dow said relevant government institutions must be funded and strengthened.

“Thirdly, create a society in which it is not okay to humiliate, rape, beat or kill women. You create this by responding to GBV the same way we have responded to livestock theft. We need to create agile mechanisms that hear cases quickly and allow for the removal of suspected perpetrators from their homes, work places, boards, committees, etc.”

The former Minister said the much anticipated Inter-Ministerial Task Force on Gender Based Violence will have its work cut out for it. According to Dow, GBV is not just a justice issue, it’s not just a gender issue, but rather an issue that cuts across health, education, labour, economic, housing and politics. “As long as any one believes it is someone else’s problem, we will all have the problem,” she said.

In her view, Dow said every work, educational and other place must have a GBV Policy and/or Code of Conduct. “It is important that we acknowledge that the majority of men are law-abiding. The problem is their silence, in the face of injustice,” she observed.

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State ignores Butterfly P85 million suit threat

26th October 2020
Butterfly

The State has chosen to ignore intents by kingpins in the P100 billion scandal to sue for a combined P85 million as tables turn against the Directorate of Public Prosecution (DPP) in the matter.

Key players in the matter; the Directorate on Corruption and Economic Crime (DCEC) and Bank of Botswana (BoB) have eroded the prospects of success following the duo’s institutions’ appearance before parliamentary committees recently.

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