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DIS targets PAC members over NPF saga

Things have now turned ugly in the most publicized multimillion pula corruption scandal implicating names of high profile people including politicians and technocrats.

Former minister of Energy Sadique Kebonang was at the helm when Bakang Seretse, Botho Leburu and Kenneth Kerekang were slapped with money laundering charges in relation to the illegal drawing of money from the National Petroleum Fund (NPF).

Fresh information reaching this publication is to the effect that members of the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) who have been tasked to review the said National Petroleum fund (NPF) and report back to parliament are living in fear after being warned that there was a plan within the DIS to either harm or kill them.

The PAC is currently seized with what is possibly considered as the worst financial scandal ever to hit the country. The financial scandal which is a matter of court determination and has been a subject of public scrutiny in various media and social platforms has also currently come under the scrutiny of the PAC.

The PAC is chaired by Kanye South legislator Abraham Kesupile; and comprises of other members of parliament in Samson Guma Moyo, Ndaba Gaolathe, Ignatoius Moswaane, Konstantinos Markos, Mephato Reatile and Shaun Nthaile. Keorapetse had yesterday (Friday) reported the matter to the Deputy Speaker of the National Assembly and the Commissioner of Police. In his affidavit to the police, the lawmaker for Selibe-Phikwe West stated that, “In our last siting in the Parliament Public Accounts Committee Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Minerals Resources was extensively questioned on the transactions related to the National Petroleum Fund. Following that enquiry and in subsequent days particularly on the 5th April 2018 in the late afternoon I received a phone call from Guma Samson Moyo relating to our work in the PAC concerning and relating to the NPF.”

“In the cause of our conversation aforesaid Moyo informed me that he had received a tip off from an anonymous member of the DIS that there was a plan within the DIS to either harm me or kill myself and him following what was perceived as our hostile and intense attitude in the questioning and interrogation of the National Petroleum Funds in particular the permanent Secretary who appeared before us.”

Keorapetse went on to narrate that Moyo pointed out to him that his anonymous source whom he said was a member of the DIS had informed him that they had been particularly so targeted because of their unrelenting interest and extensive questioning which seemed to expose maladministration and short comings within the government bureaucracy in respect of how the NPF was dealt with.

“I subsequently called Moyo later in the evening to discuss further this matter. We later met physically at the National Assembly on the following day. Our conversation in large part was to echo the concerns and strategies as to how best we can deal with this matter.”

He said following their conversation, he went to meet the Chairman of the PAC, Kesupile. Kesupile Informed him that Moyo had met with him to inform him about the threats that had been made to him and suggested that the entire members of the Parliament Public Accounts Committee must be given public protection following these threats.

“Kesupile informed me that following his discussion with Moyo he had met with the Vice President with respect to the need to provide Parliamentary protection for all those dealing with matter and that those discussions are ongoing and remain inconclusive.” It was then agreed between me and Mr Kesupile that I must perhaps take the matter up with the office of the Speaker of the National Assembly, of which I did-he narrated.

Keorapetse stated that he was advised by the Deputy Speaker to take the matter forward with the police who may be well best suited to investigate the matter further. “I therefore submit this statement as a report to the police for further investigation and request that I be accorded the necessary protection whilst the matter is being investigated.

In this regard it seems to me that the matter of my protection is an eminent urgent matter which must be attended to so as to afford me the opportunity to interrogate the issue of the National Petroleum Fund as an elected representative of the people of Selebi Phikwe and Batswana at large,” he told the commissioner in his affidavit.

This publication has further learnt of the fact that Kesupile has since recused himself from chairing the committee. Keorapetse is expected to chair the meeting as the committee resumes on Monday. When contacted for comment, Kesupile only said “people like talking too much.”

In an interview with the speaker of the National Assembly, Gladys Kokorwe on Friday, she confirmed receiving reports from Moyo, but stated that, “I told him to come on Monday so we discuss the issue further.” Kgosi’s phone rang unanswered. He has been subpoenaed by the PAC to give evidence in the matter

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Opposition Will Never Achieve Anything- Nkaigwa

8th April 2021
Haskins Nkaigwa

Former Umbrella for Democratic Change (UDC) Member of Parliament for Gaborone North, Haskins Nkaigwa has confirmed his departure from opposition fold to re-join the ruling Botswana Democratic Party (BDP).

Nkaigwa said opposition is extremely divided and the leadership not in talking terms.  “They are planning evil against each other. Nothing much will be achieved,” Nkaigwa told WeekendPost.

“I believe my time in the opposition has come to an end. It’s time to be of value to rebuilding our nation and economy of the country. Remember the BDP is where I started my political journey. It is home,” he said.

“Despite all challenges currently facing the world, President Masisi will be far with his promises to Batswana. A leader always have the interest of the people at heart despite how some decisions may look to be unpopular with the people.

“I have faith and full confidence in President Dr Masisi leadership. We shall overcome as party and nation the current challenges bedevilling nations. BDP will emerge stronger. President Masisi will always have my backing.”

Nkaigwa served as opposition legislator between 2014-2019 representing Botswana Movement for Democracy (BMD) under UDC banner.  He joined BMD in 2011 at the height public servant strike whilst Gaborone City Deputy Mayor. He eventually rose to become the mayor same year, after BDP lost majority in the GCC.

Nkaigwa had been a member of Botswana National Front (BNF), having joined from Alliance for Progressives (AP) in 2019.

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Botswana benefits over P100 million in grants from Japan

7th April 2021
Ambassador HOSHIYAMA

Botswana has received assistance worth over P100 million from Japanese government since 2019, making the latter of the largest donors to Botswana in recent years.

The assistance include relatively large-scale grant aid programmes such as the COVID-19 programme (to provide medical equipment; P34 million), the digital terrestrial television programme (to distribute receivers to the underprivileged, P17 million), the agriculture promotion programme (to provide agricultural machinery and equipment, P53million).

“As 2020 was a particularly difficult year, where COVID-19 hit Botswana’s economy and society hard, Japan felt the need to assist Botswana as our friend,” said Japan’s new Ambassador to Botswana, Hoshiyama Takashi.

“It is for this reason that grants of over P100 million were awarded to Botswana for the above mentioned projects.”

Japan is now the world’s fourth highest ranking donor country in terms of Official Development Assistance (ODA).

From 1991 to 2000, Japan continued as the top donor country in the world and contributed to Asia’s miracle economic development.

From 1993 onwards, the TICAD process commenced through Japan’s initiative as stated earlier. Japan’s main contribution has been in the form of Yen Loans, which are at a concessional rate, to suit large scale infrastructure construction.

“In Botswana, only a few projects have been implemented using the Yen Loan such as the Morupule “A” Power Station Rehabilitation and Pollution Abatement in 1986, the Railway Rolling Stock Increase Project in 1987, the Trans-Kalahari Road Construction Project in 1991, the North-South Carrier Water Project in 1995 and the Kazungula Bridge Construction Project in 2012,” said Ambassador Hoshiyama.

“In terms of grant aid and technical assistance, Japan has various aid schemes including development survey and master planning, expert dispatch to recipient countries, expert training in Japan, scholarships, small scale grass-roots program, culture-related assistance, aid through international organizations and so on.”

In 1993, Japan launched Tokyo International Conference on African Development (TICAD) to promote Africa’s development, peace and security, through the strengthening of relations in multilateral cooperation and partnership.

TICAD discuss development issues across Africa and, at the same time, present “aid menus” to African countries provided by Japan and the main aid-related international organizations, United Nations (UN), United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and the World Bank.

“As TICAD provides vision and guidance, it is up to each African country to take ownership and to implement her own development following TICAD polices and make use of the programmes shown in the aid menus,” Ambassordor Hoshiyama noted.

“This would include using ODA loans for quality infrastructure, suited to the country’s own nation-building needs. It is my fervent hope that Botswana will take full advantage of the TICAD process.”

Since then, seven conferences where held, the latest, TICAD 7 being in 2019 at Yokohama. TICAD 7’s agenda on African development focused on three pillars, among them the first pillar being “Accelerating economic transformation and improving business environment through innovation and private sector engagement”.

“Yes, private investment is very important, while public investment through ODA (Official Development Assistance) still plays an indispensable role in development,” the Japanese Ambassador said.

“For further economic development in Africa, Japan recognizes that strengthening regional connectivity and integration through investment in quality infrastructure is key.”

Japan has emphasized the following; effective implementation of economic corridors such as the East Africa Northern Corridor, Nacala Corridor and West Africa Growth Ring; Quality infrastructure investment in line with the G20 Principles for Quality Infrastructure Investment should be promoted by co-financing or cooperation through the African Development Bank (AfDB) and Japan.

Japan also emphasized the establishment of mechanisms to encourage private investment and to improve the business environment.

According to the statistics issued by Japan’s Finance Ministry, Japan invested approximately 10 billion US dollars in Africa after TICAD 7 (2019) to year end 2020, but Japanese investment through third countries are not included in this figure.

“With the other points factored in, the figure isn’t established yet,” Ambassador Hoshiyama said.

The next conference, TICAD 8 will be held in Tunisia in 2022. This will be the second TICAD summit to be held on the African continent after TICAD 6 which was held in Nairobi, Kenya, in 2016.

According to Ambassador Hoshiyama, in preparation for TICAD 8, the TICAD ministerial meeting will be held in Tokyo this year. The agenda to be discussed during TICAD 8 has not yet been fully deliberated on amongst TICAD Co-organizers (Japan, UN, UNDP, the World Bank and AU).

“Though not officially concluded, given the world situation caused by COVID-19, I believe that TICAD 8 will highlight health and medical issues including the promotion of a Universal Health Coverage (UHC),” said Hoshiyama.

“As the African economy has seriously taken a knock by COVID-19, economic issues, including debt, could be an item for serious discussion.”

The promotion of business is expected to be one of the most important topics. Japan and its partners, together with the business sector, will work closely to help revitalize private investment in Africa.

 

“All in all, the follow-up of the various programs that were committed by the Co-Organizers during the Yokohama Plan of Actions 2019 will also be reviewed as an important item of the agenda,” Ambassador Hoshiyama said.

“I believe that this TICAD follow-up mechanism has secured transparency and accountability as well as effective implementation of agreed actions by all parties. The guiding principle of TICAD is African ownership and international partnership.”

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Magosi pushes for Cabinet reshuffle

6th April 2021
President Masisi

Directorate on Intelligence Services (DIS) Director General, Brigadier Peter Magosi is said to be hell-bent and pushing President Mokgweetsi Masisi to reshuffle his cabinet as a matter of urgency since a number of his ministers are conflicted.

The request by Magosi comes at a time when time is ticking on his contract which is awaiting renewal from Masisi.

This publication learns that Magosi is unshaken by the development and continues to wield power despite uncertainty hovering around his contractual renewal.

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