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Maele blames “Powerful People”

The Minister of Land Development, Water and Sanitation, Prince Maele says he is ready to put his head on the bloc to prove that he has not been corrupted or is being corrupt in any format.

This follows a series of media reports that link him to controversial deals and decisions, with some questioning the manner in which he has acquired some of his assets. The Minister has reserved his rights in all the allegations made against him, however he pointed out that “this matter may be more than what meets the eye.”


POWERFUL PEOPLE TARGETING MAELE?


According to Maele, the matter is politically motivated because it stems from a decision that he made to unbundle a water 5 billion pula project into four so that it may be implemented faster in the interest of Batswana, particularly in the southern part of the country.
He says most people were going for months without water hence his decision to unbundle the project.


“Unfortunately, unbundling the project deprived some powerful people a chance to further enrich themselves from the misery of thirsty citizens in the southern part of Botswana. Had the project continued as it were, the project would have been completed in 5-7 years, and cost more than the original price, while the unbundling will see it completed in 2-3 years,” he told Weekend Post in a statement. Maele says the malicious people behind the smear campaign are hell bent on tarnishing anyone who gets in their way. “While I am a firm proponent of freedom of the press, I will not stand idle when this freedom is abused at the instance of nefarious characters. I therefore intend to do everything to restore my integrity and reputation, including taking legal recourse.”


MAELE TAKES AIM AT DCEC


The minister says he also takes note that the conduct of the Directorate on Corruption and Economic Crime (DCEC) leaves much to be desired. If the DCEC progress report was leaked, then it suffices to doubt the integrity and credibility of the whole process of investigations.


“To see snippets of an investigation or investigations purportedly about me appearing in newspapers when I have not been warned of them, nor been told what I am being investigated for or the scope of the probe is troubling in the extreme. I shudder to imagine how the reporter got hold of the progress report when my side of the story is not being put forward. Of course, I am not above the law and so I have no problem with any organ of state investigating me if it believes it has cause to investigate me, in good faith,” said Maele.     

 
Maele said as a Minister, he is aware that he is subject to public scrutiny. “I do not mind much because I have nothing to hide. But I will never confuse pursuit of my personal interests with my duties and responsibilities as a Minister in which my country and fellow citizens come first. I take full responsibility for what happens in my Ministry; its successes and failures together. Above all, I have the Constitution of the Republic of Botswana and an oath of office to uphold.”


BUT WHAT DOES MAELE SAY TO THE ALLEGATIONS   


Maele confirms reports that he went to China with his wife, accompanied by a friend of Chinese origin, on a private trip. However, Maele says the Chinese companion did not and does not have any contract with his Ministry. “The trip was therefore not in exchange of any tender. But most of all, like any other Motswana, I have freedom of movement in the global village that the world has become, and am at liberty to choose where to go and with whom.”


Furthermore, Maele confirms that he has more than 200 cattle at his farm in Kaka. He says the purchasing of the cattle was a matter of straightforward commercial transactions “that entailed no money laundering because no such shady conduct was necessary”. Maele also confirms that he purchased a vehicle worth P100,000.00 in cash, some six years ago. “I was not a Minister, then. The vehicle, is a 2004 model BMW 725. When I purchased it in 2011, it was a 7-year old second-hand that no bank was prepared to finance. A personal loan was therefore raised to pay for the car.”

Furthermore the Minister says he has been in a helicopter to his farm with some friends. He says he sees nothing wrong with his actions. He labels allegations of suspicious transactions in his bank account as “fallacious”.

MAELE’S VERSION OF ‘LIES’ IN THE ALLEGATIONS

The embattled minister says he never had P300, 000.00 cash in my house or anywhere. “More importantly, no such sums were found by the DCEC or any person or organ in my house or any other place I have control over.” He rubbishes reports that he was involved in improper and corrupt dealings that led to the award of tenders such as the Phakalane link road without following due process.

Furthermore, he says, “I was neither involved in the adjudication of the said tender nor am I aware of any investigations that were or are being carried out by the DCEC or any organ of the state with regard to the tendering and/or execution of such a project. Ministers in government do not adjudicate, evaluate nor award tenders.”  Maele says he did not exert pressure for a change of land use in favour of Khato Civils, he calls this a blatant lie. He points out that Kgatleng Landboard took an independent resolution without any coercion from anybody.

“Documentation, as in minutes, is readily available for public scrutiny. That I attended the Bot50 party sponsored by Khato Civils in Sandton, South Africa can best be described as hallucination. I do not know anything about such a party or who may have attended it.”
Maele further denies issuing instructions to the PPADB to cancel a tender for the benefit of Khato Civils.

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State forged Kgosi’s arrest warrant

22nd July 2021
FORMER DIS BOSS: ISAAC KGOSI

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.

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UDC parties discuss by-elections

22nd July 2021
UDC

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.

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DIS infiltrates Police fingerprint system

22nd July 2021
Makgope

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.

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