The High Court will soon listen to heated arguments in the multimillion money laundering scandal in which the Government is seeking an order to possess permanently Bakang Seretse’s properties and credit account balances.
In the case, Bakang, Botho Leburu and Kenneth Kerekang were alleged to have between September, 05, 2017 and November, 27, 2017 in Gaborone, received over P320 million stolen from the National Petroleum Fund (NPF). The case also implicates the who’s who of this country.
Only a month after High Court Judge Godfrey Radijeng granted the Government an application to freeze Bakang’s properties and credit account balances pending the finalisation of the saga, the Government has approached the court again, now demanding forfeiture of the said assets. The application is dated January 23, 2018.
Bakang’s attorney Kgosietsile Ngakaagae is however challenging the application. He is of the view that though it was not in dispute that the P69 million belonged to Government, Government intended to rob his client of his own properties and assets. Things started taking a nasty turn in December 13, 2017 when the Directorate of Public Prosecutions (DPP) applied for an ex parte application against Seretse’s properties and credit account balances, and was granted the application. Seretse had later in December 28, through his attorney Kgosietsile Ngakaagae approached the court on urgency and applied for the order to be reversed. But he was dismissed with costs in January 12, 2018.
THE WHO’S WHO
Since the case was registered before the courts last year, there has been a mention of names of several people in high positions in the public sector though they never appeared before the court to join their alleged co-accused. Ngakaage has on the past mentions decried that the prosecution was chasing after small fish while the big fish walk free men.
This has now become more like a slogan in the courts of this country that the prosecution always runs after the nobody’s and let alone the big men who rob the nation of billions of pulas. The names that are always heard in the courts through the bar are the DIS boss, Isaac Kgosi, Minister of Minerals and Energy, Sadique Kebonang and permanent secretary in the ministry Dr Obakeng. Ngakaagae has challenged the DPP to bring them to book.
His argument has always been that Kgosi and Dr Obakeng who were authorising the transactions have not been charged or accused. He said the deal was a ministerial issue which involved people at the top. He noted that his clients were just working on instructions. He averred that if there was misappropriation of such funds then Kgosi, Dr Obakeng and the portfolio Minister Kebonang would have been charged alongside his clients. “Kgosi has paid P118 million to a company in Israel, and DPP is just running away from this reality.”
THE ASSETS IN QUESTION
The list of bank accounts and assets All the following listed properties and credit account balances namely:-
Positive balance of BWP69, 734, 260. 00 standing to the credit of Call Account number 0002504001499 held by Khulaco (Proprietary) Limited with Capital Bank Limited as at 30 November 2017;
Positive balance of BWP24, 953, 63 standing to the credit of Current Account number 0002704015955 held by Khulaco (Proprietary) Limited as at 30 November 2017;
The amount of BWP118, 945, 045.70 telegraphically transferred on 21 November to Dignia System Limited a company situate at 9 Shenkar St Herzliya in Israel being holders of Account No. 528379 with Mizrahi Tefahot Bank Limited Bank in Israel;
Positive balance of BWP10, 881,199.64 standing to the credit of Call Account number 0002504001550 held by M&B Properties (Proprietary) Limited with Capital Bank Limited as 30 November 2017;
Positive balance of BWP 199, 971. 00 standing to the credit of Current Account number 0002704016860 held by M&B Properties (Proprietary) Limited with Capital Bank Limited as at 30 November 2017, whose registered office is 1st Floor, Plot 8881, African Mall, Gaborone. M&B Properties (Proprietary) Limited is the interested person in this property.
Positive balance of BWP162, 000. 00 standing to the credit Account 62415126417 held by Outer Limit (Proprietary) Limited with First National Bank Botswana Limited;
Positive balance of BWP57,186. 15 standing to the credit of Current Account number 1509505 held by STM Connections (Proprietary) Limited formerly known as STM Holdings (Proprietary) Limited with Barclays Bank Botswana Limited as at 24 November 2017;
Positive balance of BWP76, 186. 15 standing to the credit of Current Account number 1028225 held by Sandune International (Proprietary) Limited with Barclays Bank Botswana Limited as at 27 November 2017;
Positive balance of BWP750, 000. 00 standing to the credit account number 62655842790 held by Leomog Investment (Pty) Ltd with First National Bank Botswana Limited;
Positive balance of BWP430, 000. 00 standing to the credit account number 62088477528 held by Bakang Seretse with First National Bank Limited;
Positive balance of BWP384, 600. 30 standing to the credit Account number 6236672300099 held by Bakang Seretse with First National Bank Botswana Limited;
Property being lease area No. 3338- KO bought for the sum of BWP 2, 850, 000. 00 passed on the 25 October 2017 in favour of Raging Bull (Proprietary) Limited held under Notarial Deed Cession No. MA901/2017;
Property being a Unit consisting of Section No. 17, iTowers Scheme bought bought for the sum of BWP2,400,000. 00 passed on the 3 November 2017 in favour of raging Bull (Proprietary) Limited held under Deed of Sectional Transfer No. ST 307/ 2017;
Property being a Parking Bay P125, iTowers Scheme bought together Plot 54368 iTowers passed on the 3 November 2017 in favour of Raging Bull (Proprietary) Limited held under Notarial Deed of Cession of Real Right: Exclusive Use Areas CRR 161/ 2017;
Property being Townhouse Unit D4 Bemcoville, Sectional title scheme on Lot 75448, Gaborone bought for the sum of BWP1, 284, 800. 00 stiill held under Certificate of Consolidated Title No. 747/2015 in favour of Mwinda Alley (Proprietary) Limited;
Mercedes Benz GLC 250, Station Wagon, B 693 BFI, Chasis No. WDC2539462F280030, Engine No. 27492031092897 registered in the names of Kelebogile Ngwenya;
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.