The power struggle between Directorate on Corruption and Economic Crime (DCEC) senior officials has led to Office of the President (OP) strategically overhauling the country crime busting agency, with Rose Seretse’s era having come to an end as of Thursday.
Seretse’s end of era, usher in a new broom. The arrival of Victor Paledi it is expected, will build a new regime for the embattled crime busting agency. The announcement of Seretse’s departure after being at the helm since 2009 was followed by the suspension of DCEC Head of Investigations Unit, Itumeleng Phutego for supposedly sharing information relating to the corruption case involving Minister of Lands, Water and Sanitation, Prince Maele. Seretse reluctantly left her post on Thursday, and has taken a lucrative new post at newly formed Botswana Engineers Regulatory Authority (BERA).
Prior to that, another top official Botlhale Makgekgene who was serving as Seretse’s understudy responsible for policy was transferred from the agency to the Ministry of Defence, Justice and Security. Government defended the move as just another ‘routine deployment in the civil service’. According to inside sources, following the widely reported Maele case, tension grew between officers and the DCEC top brass with another fall out being experienced among head of the agency units. The officers were summoned and threatened that stern action will be taken against them if they divulge the crime busting agency’s investigation.
“Everyone is being strictly monitored and threatened with expulsion if they speak to the media about investigations,” said the source. “The leakage of information to the press was proving difficult to contain, and it is something which has happened since the Isaac Kgosi case.” Not long ago, DCEC also redeployed its chief spokesperson, Motshoganetsi Lentswe who has since been transferred to Maun on a different post. The DCEC controversial policy bars officers from confirming ongoing investigations but it has lately been challenged by officers who feel it is unnecessarily stifling the agency from dealing with the media.
“Some feel it does not hurt for DCEC to confirm when they are carrying out a particular investigation, just like the Botswana Police who do so without necessarily revealing any information that will jeopardize the investigations,” said the source. Phutego reportedly went over board when he revealed to Sunday Standard the details surrounding the Maele case. The paper quotes Phutego revealing that currently DCEC is conducting two parallel investigations centred on Khato Civils and its Executive Chairman Simbi Phiri.
“More information is forth coming from the public to build up our case. So far we are closely working with our counterparts in South Africa who are honestly helping us with crucial information to beef up our case against the allegations levelled against the company,” Phutego reportedly said. “If it requires DCEC to extend our investigations beyond our borders, we will go to any country.” The no nonsense investigator reportedly also promised that no stone will be left unturned on the case. Seretse, who has been at the helm since 2009, is viewed as not having been friendly to media, which ordinarily should be perceived as a partner to fighting corruption efforts.
Under her leadership, she presided over the controversial Director of Directorate of Intelligence Services (DIS), Isaac Kgosi’s case. At the time of her departure the case was still under DCEC investigations, as per Seretse’s revelation before Public Accounts Committee (PAC) in May this year. Although Seretse’s administration was said to have been cagey when dealing with the media, her predecessor Tymon Katlholo’s was however, credited as having been a great partner to the media and preferred to engage them on regular basis.
“It depends on the leadership, as you have noticed the current [Seretse] Director General preferred not to involve media much as compared to her predecessor [Katlholo],” the source indicated. The Maele case is one of few corruption cases involving senior public figures that have come to the attention of the public, and like many others it will again test the resilience of DCEC under the new regime.
The Director General of the Directorate on Corruption and Economic Crime (DCEC) Tymon Katholo has revealed why he took a decision to engage private lawyers against the State. The DCEC boss engaged Monthe and Marumo Attorneys in his application to interdict the Directorate of Intelligence and Security (DIS) from accessing files and dockets in the custody of the corruption busting agency.
In his affidavit, Katholo says that by virtue of my appointment as the Director General of the DCEC, he is obliged to defend the administration and operational activities of the DCEC. He added that, “I have however been advised about a provision in the State Proceedings Act which grants the authority of public institution to undertake legal proceedings to the Attorney General.” Katholo contends that the provision is not absolute and the High Court may in the exercise of its original jurisdiction permit such, like in this circumstance authorise such proceedings to be instituted by the DCEC or its Director General.
Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) has gone through transformation over the years, with new faces coming and going, but some figures have become part and parcel of the furniture at Tsholetsa House. From founding in 1962, BDP has seen five leaders changing the baton during the party’s 60 years of existence. The party has successfully contested 12 general elections, albeit the outcome of the last polls were disputed in court.
While party splits were not synonymous with the BDP for the better part of its existence, the party suffered two splits in the last 12 years; the first in 2010 when a Barataphathi faction broke ranks to found the now defunct Botswana Movement for Democracy (BMD). The Barataphathi faction was in the main protesting the ill-treatment of then recently elected party secretary general, Gomolemo Motswaledi, who had been suspended ostensibly for challenging the authority of then president, Ian Khama.
Mr Abdoola has known Mr. Uzair Razi for many years from the time he was a young boy. Uzair’s father, Mr Razi Ahmed, was the head of BCCI Bank in Botswana and “a very good man,” his close associates say.
Uzair and his wife went to settle in Dubai, the latter’s birthplace. He stayed in touch and was working for a real estate company owned by Mr. Sameer Lakhani. “Our understanding is that Uzair approached Mr. Abdoola to utilize their services for any property-related interests in Dubai. He did some work for Mr.Abdoola and others in the Botswana business community,” narrates a friend of Mr Abdoola.