The omission of the Directorate of Intelligence and Security Services (DISS) Director General Isaac Kgosi from prosecution in the ongoing case of money laundering involving Bakang Seretse and company has opened a can worms.
It is understood that Seretse has divulged in his affidavit before court that the P250 million transfers to an Israeli company named Dignia Systems’s bank account were at the written instruction of the DIS chief. Dr. Obolokile Obakeng, acting Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Minerals, Green Technology and Energy Security, is said to have authorised the variation at the request of the DIS.
High Court Judge Godfrey Radijeng has also stated in his judgement in December that “the applicant averred that the P250 million disbursement to a Khulaco (Pty) Ltd account at Capital Bank was not approved by the NPF Management Committee, did not follow established procedure for disbursements, there was no tender for the project, and one Kenneth Kerekang alone purported to approve the request by the Directorate of Intelligence and Security (DIS) on same date (7th August 2017) the request was made by DIS.”
Seretse’s lawyer, a Gaborone based audacious attorney, Kgosietsile Ngakaagae also has stated this week when his clients appeared for mention before the Broadhurst Magistrate Court having moved from Gaborone Regional Magistrate south, Christopher Gabanagae that Kgosi should also be prosecuted in the matter.
Ngakaagae told court in his oral submissions that the Directorate on Corruption and Economic Crime (DCEC) says that they have a case with them to answer for, “we say bring it on, and I must say they must bring other people. We will be talking about them as we go forward.”
When the Magistrate interjected to ask who he was referring to, he mentioned DIS boss Isaac Kgosi, Dr. (Obolokile) Obakeng from the Ministry of Minerals, Green Technology and Energy Security;saying they must bring all the other people from government who are involved in this matter.
Seretse threatened that if they failed to do so, “and I had thought I would leave this note for the future but we will file for the review of the DPP’s decision not to charge these individuals if at all my clients are guilty. We will not bow down to selective justice at the hands of DPP and government. We will then ask for a review of their decision.” So next time, he said Isaac Kgosi will have to sit there (pointing) in the docket including Dr. Obakeng and the others left out in the matter.
When he stated this, the Director of Prosecution Ambrose Mobika (DPP) rose to say that was not the issue that was brought by Ngakaagae. In turn Ngakaagae defended himself saying it was an instant answer that was asked by the Magistrate as to whom he was referring to by those people. Outside the Regional Magistrate court, after the hearing, Ngakaagae told WeekendPost that they have always been asking the DCEC that if at all his clients are guilty, why then are particular people not being prosecuted.
“And then all we get is harassment from the DCEC. The main issue is we are questioning power and because we are questioning power we are being harassed. Our clients are being harassed simply because they are demanding answers as to why some people like Kgosi are not being charged when they were charged when the initiators of the corruption have been left out,” he said.
According to Ngakaagae, one cannot say someone transferred 250 million pula at the instruction of someone, and then only the one who transferred the funds gets charged while the instructor gets left out. He said DCEC is a hopeless department that does not fight corruption but protects it adding that this simple act of “selective charging” is in of itself simple an act of corruption done by the DCEC.
“And we will not back off in demanding that things be done properly. We are not going to back off, neither are we going to be intimated, we are not scared, indeed they can shoot us and do whatever they want to do to us. But we are going to deal with this matter in our best judgement in terms of our best discretion and we are going to leave no stone unturned to ensure that there is no selective justice,” the oddball attorney pointed out.
He continued: “if our clients have committed any offence so be it, let them be charged but if anyone else has committed the offence that they are alleged to have committed then let that same people suffer the same treatment.” Ngakaagae went on to state that they are not going to allow Seretse and the co-accused to become scape goats for what the executive did. “It is absolute rubbish,” he added in a poignant voice.
When further quizzed by this publication on his assessment on why Kgosi was not charged he stated that “the trouble is I cannot discuss the merits of the trial as it will be unlawful. I will be in trouble with Magistrate if I try to do that. Right now am not going into the merits of the trial.” He added that “I am simply asking why if at all it is said my clients stole the money, then why are those people who came up with the instruction for the money to be transferred (DIS) not in the court, that’s all we asking.”
He however said he is not sure whether the exclusion of Kgosi in the case would or would not jeopardize the case and that therefore it’s upon the DPP to make judgement in that regard. According to Ngakaagae, his clients have not committed any offence. “I want everyone to understand that. If at all having to transfer money was an offence then it was an offence by those who told him to do so. So that’s essentially the long and short of what I am saying,” he said.
When WeekendPost approached the DPP to respond to Ngakaagae’s comments on Kgosi after the court session he said that “nnyaa o bua hela, nnyaa o bua hela (he is just lying to the court),” that is why I was objecting that no it cannot be the case.” When pressed further to state if they could have charged Kgosi and others he insisted “I have no idea,” and then refused to comment further. Kgosi’s mobile phone also rang unanswered at the time of going to print.
This publication also sought clarity from Ngakaagae about the letter written to the Attorney General implicating the President, Vice president, Ministers together with Isaac Kgosi that they may have benefitted somehow from the controversial 250 million pula from the National Petroleum Fund (NDF) which the DPP has charged his clients on as proceeds of crime.
On the authenticity of the controversial letter, Ngakaagae could only reluctantly say: “no comment, I can’t comment on that. I can’t comment on any letter especially those said to have been leaked or edited. I can’t comment on that.” The letter had also implied that there are some within the Intelligence community that plan to kill Bakang Seretse and those associated with him.
“We have been put under instructions to advice the public of the intentions thereof. The Commissioner of Police and the Directorate on Corruption and Economic Crime (DCEC) have already been alerted of the threat. As indicated in the correspondence, we will be proceeding in our own deliberate judgement and will not be intimidated by the threats, however grave,” he asserted in the said letter. In light of the afore-going threats, Ngakaagae stated that the state shall be held responsible for the deaths of his clients, their attorneys thereof or their family members.
In a classic and shocking case of disgrace and dishonour to this country, the law enforcement agencies are currently struggling to cover up a damaging and humiliating scandal of having conspired to forge the signature of a Palapye Chief Magistrate, Rebecca Motsamai in an unlawful acquisition of the much-publicised 2019 warrant of arrest against Isaac Kgosi, the former director of the Directorate of Intelligence Services (DIS).
The cloak-and-dagger arrest was led by the DIS director, Brigadier Peter Magosi supported by the Botswana Police, Botswana Defence Force (BDF), with the Botswana Unified Revenue Services (BURS) which accused Kgosi of tax evasion, in the backseat.
Umbrella for Democratic Change (UDC) constituent members are struggling to reach an agreement over the allocation of wards for the imminent ward by-elections across the country.
Despite a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between Umbrella for Democratic Change (UDC), Botswana Patriotic Front (BPF) and Alliance for Progressives (AP) are said to be active, but the nitty-gritties are far from being settled.
The eight bye-elections will be a precursor of a somewhat delayed finalisation of the brittle MoU. The three parties want to draw a plan on how and who will contest in each of the available wards.
This publication has gathered that the negotiations will not be a run off the mill because there is already an impasse between the Botswana Congress Party (BCP) which is a UDC constituent and AP (currently negotiating to join umbrella).
The by-elections joint committee met last week at Cresta President Hotel in a bid to finalise allocation but nothing tangible came out of the gathering, sources say.
The cause of the stalemate according to those close to events, is the Metsimotlhabe Ward which the two parties have set their eyes on.
In 2019, he ward was won by Botswana Democratic Party’s (BDP) Andrew Sebobi who unfortunately died in a tragic accident in February last year.
Sebobi had convincingly won by 1 109 votes in the last elections; and was trailed by Sephuthi Thelo of the UDC trailed him with 631 votes; while Alliance for Progressives’ Innocent Moamogwe got 371 votes.
Thelo is a BCP candidate and as per UDC norm, incumbency prevails meaning that the BCP will contest since they were runners up. On the other hand, AP has also raised its hand for the same.
“AP asked for it on the basis that they have a good candidate but BCP did not agree to that request also arguing they have a better contestant,” one UDC member confided to this publication.
Notwithstanding Metsimotlhabe Ward squabble, it is said the by-election talks are almost a done deal, with Botswana National Front (BNF) tipped to take Boseja South ward in Mochudi East constituency. Botswana Patriotic Front (BPF) will be awarded Tamasane Ward in Lerala/Maunatlala constituency, sources say.
“But the agreement has to be closed by National Executive Committee (NEC),” emphasized the informant.
The NEC is said to have been cautioned not to back the wrong horse but rather rate with reason and facts.
UDC President, Duma Boko has told this publication that, “allocation is complete with two wards already awarded but with only one yet to be finalized,” he could not dwell into much details as to which party got what and the reasons for the delay in finalisation.
Chairperson of the by-elections committee, Dr. Phenyo Butale responded to this publication regarding the matter: “As AP we contested and as you may be aware we signed the MoU with UDC and BPF to collaborate on bye-elections. The opposition candidate for all bye-elections will be agreed by these parties and that process is still ongoing,” he said when asked if AP is interested on the ward and how far with the talks on bye-elections.
Butale, a former Gaborone Central Member of Parliament, who is also AP Secretary General continued to say, “As the chairperson of the bye-elections committee we are still seized with that matter. We should also do some consultations with the local structures. Once the process is complete we will issue a notice for now we cannot talk about the other two while the other is still pending the other one”.
Butale further clarified: “There is no such thing as AP and BCP not in agreement. It is an issue of signatories discussing and determining the opposition candidates across the three wards.”
Apart from the three wards, there are five more council wards that UDC is yet to allocate to cooperating partners.
FROM PALAPYE MEET: BPP CAUTION NEC MEMBERS
With the UDC cheerful from last weekend’s meeting in Palapye, the meeting however was very tense on the side of both BCP and BNF, with only BPP flexing its muscle and even lashing out.
BCP going into the meeting, had promised to ask difficult questions to the UDC NEC.
BCP VP and also acting Secretary General, Dr. Kesitegile Gobotswang, presented their qualms which were addressed by UDC Chairperson Motlatsi Molapisi, informants say.
It is said Molapisi is fed up and concerned by some UDC members especially those in the NEC who ‘wash party’s dirty linen in public’.
Insiders say the veteran politician cautioned the NEC members that they “will not expel any party but individuals who tarnish the image of the UDC.”
It is not the first time BPP play a paternalistic role as it once expressed its discontent with BCP in 2020, saying it should never wash UDC linen in public.
At first it is said, BPP, the oldest political formation in Botswana, claims disappointment on BCP stance that UDC should be democratised especially by sharing their stand with the media. Again, BPP was not happy with BCP leader Dumelang Saleshando’s decision to air his personal views on social media regarding the merger of UDC party.
Botswana Police Service (BPS) Commissioner, Keabetswe Makgophe, has of late been dousing raging fires from various quarters of society following the infiltration of the police fingerprint system by the Directorate on Intelligence and Security (DIS), WeekendPost has learnt.
Fresh information gleaned from a number of impeccable sources, points to a pitiable working relationship between the two state organs. Cause of concern is the DIS continuous big brother role to an extent that it is now interfering with other institutions’ established mandates.
BPS which works closely with the DIS has been left exasperated by the works of the institution formed in 2008. It is said, the DIS through its Information Technology (IT) experts in collusion with some at BPS forensics department managed to infiltrate the Fingerprint system.
The infiltration, according to those in the know, was for the DIS to “teach a lesson” to some who are on their radar. It is said the DIS is playing and fighting dirty to win the fights they have lost before.
By managing to hack the police finger print system, a number of renowned businessmen and other politically exposed persons found their fingers in the system. What surprised the victims is the fact that they have never been charged of any wrongdoing by the police and they were left reeling in shock to learn that their fingers are on the data-base of criminals.
In fact, some of those who their fingerprints were falsely included in the records of those on the wrong side of law learnt later when other errands demanded their fingerprints.
“We learnt later when we had to submit and buy some documents and we were very shocked,” one politician who is also a businessman confided to this publication this week.
“We then learn that there are some fabricated criminality recorded for us, as to when did we commit those remained secret to the police, but then we had to engage our lawyers on the matter and that is when we were cleared,” said the politician-cum- tenderpreneur.
The lawyers have confirmed engaging the police and that the matters were settled in a gentlemen’s agreement and concluded.
All these happened behind the scenes with the police top brass oblivious only to be confronted by the irked lot, police sources also add. The victimized group who most of them have been fighting lengthy battles with the DIS read malice and did not blink when it was revealed that these were done by the DIS.
“And it was clear that they (DIS) are the ones in this dirty war which we don’t understand. Remember when we sue, it will be the Police at the courts not the DIS and that is why we agreed to a ceasefire more so they also requested that be kept under carpet,” said the victim.
Nonetheless, the Police through its spokesperson Assistant Commissioner, Dipheko Motube, briefly said: “we do not have any system that has been hacked.” On the other hand DIS mouthpiece Edward Robert was not in office this week to comment on the matter.
Reports however say DIS boss, Peter Magosi, who most of the victims accuse of the job, is said to have met his police counterpart Makgophe to put the matter to bed.
COVID-19 RAVAGES POLICE
As frontline workers, Police have not escaped the wrath of Covid-19. Already the numbers of those infected has reached the highest of high and they suggest that they be priorities on vaccine rollout.
“Our job is complicated, firstly we arrest including those who are non-compliant to Covid protocols and we go to accidents and many more. These put us at risk and it seems our superiors are not bothered,” said one police officer this week.
The cops further complain about that working spaces are small, as such expose them to contact the virus.
“Some tests positive and go for quarantine while the rest of the unit will be left without even test carried out. If at all the bosses are serious all the police officers should every now and then be subjected to testing or else we will be no more because of the virus,” added another officer based in Gaborone.
The government has since placed teachers on the priority list for the vaccines, it remains to be seen whether the police, who also man road blocks, will be considered.
“But our bosses should convince the country leadership about this, if not then we are doomed,” concluded a more senior officer.