The Minister of Environment, Natural Resources Conservation and Tourism, Tshekedi Khama has denied the existence of a unit named Tourism Intelligence Services (TIS) his Ministry. Instead, he said, his Minister has however, developed and continue to develop capacity within the Department of Wildlife and National Parks Law Enforcement Division to detect, apprehend and investigate all types of wildlife crime.
He told Parliament that members of this department are empowered to arrest individuals and criminal gangs in wildlife crimes. “My Ministry deals with management of wildlife crimes without organisational affiliation. Where individuals who are suspected to be involved in wildlife crime are apprehended and convicted, the relevant penalties are imposed as prescribed in the law,” he said.
Umbrella for Democratic Change (UDC) Members of Parliament, Noah Salakae of Ghanzi North and Dithapelo Keorapetse of Selibe Phikwe West had asked the Minister to state the role of Tourism Intelligence Services (TIS) currently housed under his Ministry. They had also wanted to know when the unit was established and the legal authority that established it.
Minister Khama further shared that the Department of Wildlife and National Parks (DWNP) derives its mandate from the Wildlife Conservation and National Parks Act which provides that, “there shall be designated a public officer to be the Director of Wildlife and National Parks, and there shall be within the Public Service such Wildlife Officers as are necessary for the purposes of this Act”.
He said determining officers necessary for the purpose of this Act is an operational responsibility of the Director, and at times the Minister, to enhance the efficiency of the department in carrying out its mandate. “Some of the necessary assignments have been identified as intelligence, anti-poaching, park management, transport, research and project implementation amongst others; hence the establishment of units for the purpose. This may change from time to time. The Department of Wildlife and National Parks is not part of the intelligence community,” he said.
President Lt Gen Ian Khama has in the recent past found himself caught between a rock and hard place as he has to deal with a simmering war between his younger brother who is also Minister Environment, Natural Resources Conservation and Tourism, Tshekedi Khama and Directorate on Intelligence and Security Services (DISS) Director General, Isaac Kgosi, Weekend Post has reported in the past.
The two are throwing jabs at each other at every opportunity with Minister Tshekedi leading the onslaught because of public space and freedom. In the wake of public outcry about his retirement benefits, President Khama this matter to address before he leaves office in April 2018. There have been reports that there is a Wildlife anti-poaching intelligence, a brainchild of Tshekedi himself, in a bid to protect the wildlife. Tshekedi appointed Brigadier Peter Magosi to head the wildlife intelligence unit. Brigadier Magosi was fired by President Khama from the army at the time of his appointment, following a perceived battle between him, Kgosi and others close to President Khama. His expulsion came in the back of the recommendation of the then commander of Botswana Defence Force (BDF) Lt Gen Gaolathe Galaebotswe.
Botswana Police Service (BPS) has indicated concern about the ongoing trend where the general public falls victim to criminals purporting to be police officers.
According to BPS Assistant Commissioner, Dipheko Motube, the criminals target individuals at shopping malls and Automated Teller Machines (ATMs) where upon approaching the unsuspecting individual the criminals would pretend to have picked a substantial amount of money and they would make a proposal to the victims that the money is counted and shared in an isolated place.
“On the way, as they stop at the isolated place, they would start to count and sharing of the money, a criminal syndicate claiming to be Criminal Investigation Department (CID) officer investigating a case of stolen money will approach them,” said Motube in a statement.
The Commissioner indicated that the fake police officers would instruct the victims to hand over all the cash they have in their possession, including bank cards and Personal Identification Number (PIN), the perpetrators would then proceed to withdraw money from the victim’s bank account.
Motube also revealed that they are also investigating a case in which a 69 year old Motswana woman from Molepolole- who is a victim of the scam- lost over P62 000 last week Friday to the said perpetrators.
“The Criminal syndicate introduced themselves as CID officers investigating a case of robbery where a man accompanying the woman was the suspect.’’
They subsequently went to the woman’s place and took cash amounting to over P12 000 and further swindled amount of P50 000 from the woman’s bank account under the pretext of the further investigations.
In addition, Motube said they are currently investigating the matter and therefore warned the public to be vigilant of such characters and further reminds the public that no police officer would ask for bank cards and PINs during the investigations.
Botswana Congress Party (BCP) leadership walked out of Umbrella for Democratic Change (UDC) National Executive Committee (NEC) meeting this week on account of being targeted by other cooperating partners.
UDC meet for the first time since 2020 after previous futile attempts, but the meeting turned into a circus after other members of the executive pushed for BCP to explain its role in media statements that disparate either UDC and/or contracting parties.
The Director General of the Directorate on Corruption and Economic Crimes (DCEC), Tymon Katlholo’s spirited fight against the contentious transfers of his management team has forced the Office of the President to rescind the controversial decision. However, some insiders suggest that the reversal of the transfers may have left some interested parties with bruised egos and nursing red wounds.
The transfers were seen by observers as a badly calculated move to emasculate the DCEC which is seen as defiant against certain objectionable objectives by certain law enforcement agencies – who are proven decisionists with very little regard for the law and principle.