The newly appointed Specially Elected Member of Parliament, Mephato Reatile has implied that corruption and bad management had ruled the roost at the now defunct BCL mine.
Reatile said this in his maiden address to parliament, responding to the National Development Plan 11, which was presented by Minister of Finance and Economic Development, Kenneth Matambo last week. Reatile stated that parliament is now left to clean up the mess caused by the BCL management as if parliamentarians were part of the BCL’s decision makers. He further seemed to suggest that all BCL was doing was to try to employ copy cat tactics by emulating Debswana’s mining model through its ill-fated foray into diamond mining joint ventures.
He further said that in retrospect the backtracking of BCL from these joint ventures when the processes had already gone a distance was a colossal squandering of public money in ways major. Reatile also stated that a Minister for the Mineral Resources, Green Technology and Energy Security would naturally be hamstrung to intervene because he will be accused of meddling in the control of the mine, before asking parliament to sleep over the question of suspicious family ties between the now redundant BCL management and its board and those who held the mining licences.
“The issue we have today is how are the licence holders related to the management and board members of BCL?” He continued, “If a minister tries to intervene, it becomes a crime. They will say he is interfering in the work of the board. That is the type of problem we are faced with,” boomed Reatile.
He further wondered why BCL procured an aircraft because it did not need its use. He stated that with Debswana, it was understandable for it to procure two aircraft for its Letlhakane and Orapa mines because it had to transport the country’s diamonds in a safe manner, to London via Johannesburg.
He further stated that it is imperative for parliamentarians and Batswana to ask themselves about the decisions taken by BCL management. Reatile further cautioned against BCL’s trend of imitation. He said that calls for BCL to start an electro-refinery plant were also misguided because the country has few mines, compared to other big time mining countries such as Canada and Australia.
“Australia has 405 different mines, even if 10 of them can shut down, Australian refinery plants will continue to operate. Canada also has 60 different minerals so we cannot go to Canada, come back and tell people that we should have refinery plants while we have few mines.” he noted.
Reatile was recently brought back to parliament by President Ian Khama together with famed economist Bogolo Kenewendo. He is former Member of Parliament (MP) for Goodhope-Mabutsane constituency for two terms before he was defeated by a onetime Botswana National Front (BNF) youth leader, Shawn Nthaile, in the 2014 general election.
While Kenewendo was largely accepted in the BDP, many in the party feigned shock at Reatile’s retrieval back into parliament over BDP secretary general, Botsalo Ntuane.
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.