The Ministry of Mineral Resources, Green Technology & Energy Security has put the Director of Directorate of Intelligence and Security, Isaac Kgosi in a tight corner, insisting that he gives them the exact date as to when he will pay back the National Petroleum Fund (NPF) loot.
In a savingram dated March 7, 2018 with the subject line: REFUND-NATIONAL PETROLEUM FUND, from the Energy Permanent Secretary and routed through the Ministry of Finance and Economic Development, the ministry wants Kgosi to furnish them with a date as to when he will pay back the funds to help them (ministry) communicate with creditors. The savingram was also copied to Kgosi and the Office of the President.
“We refer to communication between us and Director General, Directorate of Intelligence and Security (DIS) relating to the question of refunding the NPF by DIS of which the communication has been copied to yourself previously. The ministry is under tremendous pressure to settle several creditors, some of whom have gone to court in relation to Tshele Construction. The Attorney General has since advised that there is a court order that requires the parties to meet and report to the court on or before Thursday 8 March, 2018,” states the savingram. “Whilst we appreciate your discussion with DIS, we will be grateful as to when the repayment by DIS would be credited to NPF. This will help us communicate definitive position with our creditors,” the Savingram further reads.
In another savingram leaked to this publication, the Ministry of Minerals wrote directly to Kgosi on March 5, 2018 under the subject line: REIMBURSEMENT OF THE NATIONAL PETROLEUM FUND. The savingram states that, “As far as we can ascertain at the moment, about P230m was transacted into Khulaco Pty Ltd as evidenced with documentary proof.” Kebonang’s ministry also noted that it was unfortunate that they did not have details of payment made from the lump sum as they were not privy to the instructions Kgosi directed to Khulaco.
According to the documents NPF deposited the said amount into Khulaco’s account on three different dates. On August 25, 2017 NPF deposited P80m; another P80m was deposited on September 18, 2017 and P70m on October 16, 2017. Kebonang’s ministry further stated that while they appreciate the consultation between Kgosi and the Ministry of Finance, they wanted for the ministry to be put in the loop, “as the Fund is currently undergoing some financial strain limiting it to make good payments due to its clients”.
The background information of the case is that Bakang Seretse, Botho Leburu and Kenneth Kerekang were last year arraigned before a magistrate court on charges of money laundering. They were alleged to have between September, 05, 2017 and November, 27, 2017 in Gaborone, received over P250m.
Kgosi asked for funding from NPF to build strategic fuel storages across the country. The P250 million was approved by the Department of Energy. Kgosi then instructed Kenneth Kerekang, a Director at the Department of Energy to release funds to Khulaco (PTY) Ltd. Kgosi then later said procurement of petroleum facilities is no longer a priority, saying he would divert the funds to wildlife poaching, human and drug trafficking.
‘KGOSI DID NOT AUTHORISE SOME PAYMENTS’
While Bakang Seretse and his lawyer, Kgosietsile Ngakaagae are demanding that Kgosi and others be charged because they authorized the transactions by Bakang’s company, inside sources say Kgosi has denied authorizing some of the payments. He is said to have stated that he only authorized payments to DIS suppliers whom he has proof. As things stand the DIS Director General is only aware of about P118 million which was used to procure equipment for the DIS in Israel.
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.
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.
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.