New investigations in the landmark case in which Bakang Seretse and two others are accused of money laundering, have indicated that the money in question is not just P250m as initially alleged, but close to P600m.
In the case, Seretse, Botho Leburu and Kenneth Kerekang were alleged to have between September, 05, 2017 and November, 27, 2017 in Gaborone, illegally received the sum from the National Petroleum Fund (NPF). In the last seating of parliament around November last year, it was instructed that the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) should interrogate the saga and report back to parliament.
In an interview, PAC Chairman and Member of Parliament for Kanye South, Abram Kesupile, said they were only waiting for the audited financial statements from the Office of Auditor General (OAG) to commence the work. “I do not know when the OAG will finish whatever work they are doing and furnish us with the information we need. They might have established some difficulties along the exercise because there are allegations of new developments in the matter,” said Kesupile.
“DCEC is doing investigations, and whatever information they come across they will give it to the OAG,” he said, stressing that, DCEC is not obliged to inform the PAC whatever difficulties they come across. Kesupile said he last spoke with Auditor General, Pulane Letebele last week whereupon she told him some significant progress has been done but could not specify when they will complete the work.
In an interview with Letebele on Tuesday, she could not specify the time frame as to when her office will submit the documents needed by the PAC. She told this publication that, “we are working on that and we will give information to the relevant authorities when it is complete.”
MP for Mmankgodi and Manyana Constituency, Pius Mokgware said in an interview on Thursday that the process was taking longer than anticipated. “It is a worrying situation. Government has last year asked PAC to investigate this matter and provide a report, but up to now nothing is happening. There is nothing that we are being told. They are just silent.”
Mokgware also stated his displeasure at the way the case is being handled. “I do not think enough is being done. You see, if you have public servants who are implicated in the corruption case and they are left to perform their normal duties as if nothing has happened is very questionable and frustrating. You wonder if these individuals are not manipulating the case.”
“This shows you that some people are above the law. The Directorate of Intelligence and Security boss, Isaac Kgosi is mentioned in this case from time to time, but he continues working. And the government is not even saying a thing, not even in their budget speech,” said Mokgware. He said this alone was an embarrassment on the part of the government. He said the government was supposed to take action to make sure the same thing does not happen in other ministries. “But government sees it as normal.”
Government Spokesperson Jeff Ramsay would not comment on whether government would release a statement addressing the ongoing saga or why Kgosi was not suspended from work pending the case. When asked to comment on Mokgware’s sentiments, Ramsay only said, “I said I’m not going to say anything. That one is a politician.” Umbrella for Democratic Congress (UDC) President Duma Boko had on his response to the budget speech last week also expressed his disappointment.
“It is still fresh in our minds that over P 250 million was stolen from the National Petroleum Fund through a manifestly fraudulent scheme, but senior people under whose watch and perhaps with whose collusion this happened remain firmly in their positions. One has in mind here the Director of Intelligence and Security Services, whose agency obtained funds under the guise of building fuel storage facilities only to divert the funds toward the purchase of spying equipment, all in contravention of the Public finance Management Act,” he stated in his speech.
Boko decried that there has been deafening silence from the President and the Minister of Finance and Economic Development.
OF SADIQUE AND GUMA MOYO
MP for Tati East, Guma Moyo has recently accused the Minister of Minerals and Energy and MP for Lobatse Sadique Kebonang of abuse of power. Moyo had said that even if Kebonang was present in parliament he was going to tell him to his face to stop abusing power.
In an interview on Wednesday, Kebonang dismissed Moyo’s sentiments as silly. “Moyo’s comments were made in my absence, and they were very unfortunate,” he said.
“When you say someone has abused power, you are saying they have used powers they do not have. And I have never acted contrary to powers I do have. There has never been abuse of power. It was a silly political statement.” Bakang Seretse’s attorney Kgosietsile Ngakaagae had on the previous mentions told the court that the key players in the ‘money laundering movie’ were walking free men, saying law enforcement officials were afraid of them.
He decried that the matter was a ministerial issue which involved people at the top, saying his clients were just working on instructions. According to Ngakaagae, the money was properly released in all the transactions that involved his clients as transactions were made with the best knowledge of the ministry.
IT WAS A SECRET
This publication has also learnt from impeccable sources that some in Government want the matter withdrawn from the courts because it should have never reached that stage. It is said that that Kebonang’s Ministry is puzzled as to how the matter reached the DCEC because it was a closely kept secret. The concerns raised at Government enclave is that the case is tarnishing names of senior people – some of whom have already complained that they have children and parents, who are always asking them, “what is all these?”.
Weekend Post learns that the DIS money request was a secret appeal and the ministry was asked to keep it tight. “The thing is we do not have those storage tanks, so to me they were not wrong to divert the money. They did not do any wrong. It is not true the money is around P600m, The P600m is the large sum that was given to the fund, and it is always fluctuating,” said a source within Government.
The Botswana DanceSport Association (BODANSA) has been graced with a financial boon of P45,000 courtesy of Turnstar Holdings. This generous endowment is earmarked for the illustrious Botswana International Dance Sport Grand Prix Championships, which are scheduled to animate Gaborone from Friday to Saturday.
At a media engagement held early today, BODANSA’s Marketing Maestro, Tiro Ntwayagae, shared that Turnstar Holdings Limited has bestowed a gift of P45,000 towards the grand spectacle.
This enchanting space will also serve as the battleground for the preliminaries of traditional dance ensemblesâ€”spanning the rhythmically rich Setapa to the euphoric beats of Sebirwa, the spirited Seperu, the heavenly Hosana, and moreâ€”in a competition folded into the Traditional Dance Groups Category. The ensemble that dances into the judges’ hearts will clinch a grand prize of P10,000,” elaborated Ntwayagae.
He further illuminated that the cultural eve would not only celebrate traditional melodies but also the fresh beats of contemporary dance variants including Hip Hop, Sbujwa, Amapiano, among others, in a dazzling display of modern dance mastery.
Moreover, these championships carry the prestigious recognition by the World DanceSport Federation as a qualifying round for the Breakdance category for the Paris 2024 Olympics. “This is a monumental opportunity for athletes to leap towards their Olympic dreams during one of the penultimate qualifiers,” underscored Ntwayagae.
Looking ahead to March 2, 2024, the festivities will propel into the University of Botswana Indoor Sports Arena for the championship’s climactic showdowns encompassing Breakdance, Latin, and Ballroom Dancing.
In Botswana, a beacon of democracy in Africa, the right to participate in the political discourse is a cornerstone of its societal structure. It’s an avenue through which citizens shape the rules and systems that govern their everyday lives. Despite this, recent studies indicate that Individuals with Disabilities (IWDs) are notably absent from political dialogues and face substantial hurdles in exercising their democratic freedoms.
Research within the nation has uncovered that IWDs encounter difficulties in engaging fully with the political process, with a pronounced gap in activities beyond mere voting. The call for environments that are both accessible and welcoming to IWDs is loud, with one participant, who has a physical disability, spotlighting the absence of ramps at voting venues and the dire need for enhanced support to facilitate equitable involvement in the electoral process.
The challenges highlighted by the study participants pinpoint the structural and social obstacles that deter IWDs from participating wholly in democracy. The inaccessibility of voting facilities and the lack of special accommodations for people with disabilities are critical barriers. Those with more significant or intellectual disabilities face even steeper challenges, often feeling marginalized and detached from political engagement.
To surmount these obstacles, there is an urgent appeal for Botswana to stride towards more inclusive and accessible political stages for IWDs. This necessitates a committed effort from both the government and relevant entities to enforce laws and policies that protect the rights of IWDs to partake in the political framework. Enhancing awareness and understanding of the political landscape among IWDs, alongside integrating inclusive practices within political entities and governmental bodies, is crucial.
By dismantling these barriers and nurturing an inclusive political environment, Botswana can live up to its democratic ideals, ensuring every citizen, regardless of ability, can have a substantive stake in the country’s political future.
Individuals challenged by disabilities encounter formidable obstacles when endeavoring to partake in political processes within the context of Botswana. Political involvement, a cornerstone of democratic governance, empowers citizens to shape the legislative landscape that impacts their daily existence. Despite Botswana’s reputation for upholding democratic ideals, recent insights unveil a troubling reality – those with disabilities find themselves marginalized in the realm of politics, contending with substantial barriers obstructing the exercise of their democratic liberties.
A recent inquiry in Botswana unveiled a panorama where individuals with disabilities confront hurdles in navigating the political arena, their involvement often restricted to the basic act of voting. Voices emerged from the study, underscoring the critical necessity of fostering environments that are accessible and welcoming, affording individuals with disabilities the active engagement they rightfully deserve in political processes. Noteworthy was the account of a participant grappling with physical impairments, shedding light on the glaring absence of ramps at polling stations and the urgent call for enhanced support mechanisms to ensure an equitable electoral participation.
The echoes reverberating from these narratives serve as poignant reminders of the entrenched obstacles impeding the full integration of individuals with disabilities into the democratic tapestry. The inaccessibility of polling stations and the glaring absence of provisions tailored to the needs of persons with disabilities loom large as formidable barricades to their political engagement. Particularly pronounced is the plight of those grappling with severe impairments and intellectual challenges, who face even steeper hurdles in seizing political participation opportunities, often grappling with feelings of isolation and exclusion from the political discourse.
Calls for decisive action cascade forth, urging the establishment of more inclusive and accessible political ecosystems that embrace individuals with disabilities in Botswana. Government bodies and concerned stakeholders are urged to prioritize the enactment of laws and policies designed to safeguard the political rights of individuals with disabilities. Furthermore, initiatives geared towards enhancing awareness and education on political processes and rights for this segment of society must be spearheaded, alongside the adoption of inclusive measures within political institutions and party structures.
By dismantling these barriers and nurturing a political landscape that is truly inclusive, Botswana can earnestly uphold its democratic ethos and afford every citizen, including those with disabilities, a substantive opportunity to partake in the political fabric of the nation.