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 United States (US) will on the 3rd of November 2020 chose between incumbent Donald Trump of the Republicans and former Vice President Joe Biden of the Democrats amid the coronavirus pandemics, which has affected how voting is conducted in the world’s biggest economy.
Trump (74) seeks re-election after trouncing Hillary Clinton in 2016, while Biden (77) is going for his first shot as Democratic nominee after previous unsuccessful spells.
US Presidents mostly succeed in their re-election bid, but there have been nine individuals who failed to garner a second term mandate, the latest being George W H. Bush, a Republican who served as the 41st US President between 1989 and 1993.
Dr Mark Rozell, a Dean of the School of Policy and Government at George Mason University in Arlington, Virginia describes the complex US electoral system that will deliver the winner at the 3rd November elections.
“The founders of our Republic de-centralised authority significantly in creating our constitutional system, which means that they gave an enormous amount of independent power and authority to State and local governments,” Dr Rozell told international media on Elections 2020 Virtual Reporting Tour.
Unlike parliamentary democracies, like Botswana the United States does not have all of the national government elected in one year. They do not have what is commonly called mandate elections where the entire federal government is elected all in one election cycle giving a “mandate” to a particular political party to lead, and instead US have what are called staggered elections, elections over time.
The two house Congress, members of the House of Representatives have two-year long terms of office. Every two years the entire House of Representatives is up for re-election, but senators serve for six years and one third of the Senate is elected every two years.
For this election cycle, US citizens will be electing the President and Vice
President, the entire House of Representatives and one third of the open or contested seats in the Senate, whereas two thirds are still fulfilling the remainder of their terms beyond this year.
An important facet of US electoral system to understand given the federalism nature of the republic, the US elect presidents State by State, therefore they do not have a national popular vote for the presidency.
“We have a national popular vote total that says that Hillary Clinton got three million more votes than Donald Trump or in Year 2000 that Al Gore got a half million more votes than George W. Bush, but we have what is called a State by State winner takes all system where each State is assigned a number of electors to our Electoral College and the candidate who wins the popular vote within each State takes 100 percent of the electors to the Electoral College,” explained Dr Rozell.
“And that is why mathematically, it is possible for someone to win the popular vote but lose the presidency.”
Dr Rozell indicated that in 2016, Hillary Clinton won very large popular majorities in some big population States like California, but the system allows a candidate to only have to win a State by one vote to win a 100 percent of its electors, the margin does not matter.
“Donald Trump won many more States by smaller margins, hence he got an Electoral College majority.”
Another interesting features by the way of US constitutional system, according to Dr Rozell, but extremely rare, is what is called the faithless elector.
“That’s the elector to the Electoral College who says, ‘I’m not going to vote the popular vote in my State, I think my State made a bad decision and I’m going to break with the popular vote,’’ Dr Rozell said.
“That’s constitutionally a very complicated matter in our federalism system because although the federal constitution says electors may exercise discretion, most States have passed State laws making it illegal for any elector to the Electoral College to break faith with the popular vote of that State, it is a criminal act that can be penalized if one is to do that. And we just had an important Supreme Court case that upheld the right of the states to impose and to enforce this restriction”
There are 538 electors at the Electoral College, 270 is the magic number, the candidate who gets 270 or more becomes President of the United States.
If however there are more candidates, and this happens extremely rarely, and a third candidate got some electors to the Electoral College denying the two major party candidates, either one getting a majority, nobody gets 270 or more, then the election goes to the House of Representatives and the House of Representatives votes among the top three vote getters as to who should be the next President.
“You’d have to go back to the early 19th century to have such a scenario, and that’s not going to happen this year unless there is a statistical oddity, which would be a perfect statistical tie of 269 to 269 which could happen but you can just imagine how incredibly unlikely that is,” stated Dr Rozell.
BLUE STATES vs RED STATES
Since the 2000 United States presidential election, red states and blue states have referred to states of the United States whose voters predominantly choose either the Republican Party (red) or Democratic Party (blue) presidential candidates.
Many states have populations that are so heavily concentrated in the Democratic party or the Republican party that there is really no competition in those states.
California is a heavily Democratic State, so is New York and Maryland. It is given that Joe Biden will win those states. Meanwhile Texas, Florida and Alabama are republicans. So, the candidates will spent no time campaigning in those states because it is already a given.
However there are swing states, where there is a competition between about five and 10 states total in each election cycle that make a difference, and that is where the candidates end up spending almost all of their time.
“So it ends up making a national contest for the presidency actually look like several state-wide contests with candidates spending a lot of time talking about State and local issues in those parts of the country,” said Dr Rozell.
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.
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.