Botswana Police Service (BPS) Commissioner Makgope and Public Relations officer Assistant Commissioner, Christopher Mbulawa
As the story of corruption unfolds, a police officer has swindled government close to 2 million pula while seconded to the Accountant General department in the Ministry of Finance and Development Planning.
The arm and a leg amount in the tune of P1 912 582.62 to be specific, is deemed to be the value of the benefits that were reimbursed by David Loftus William from serious crime related activities “of stealing by a person employed in the public service.”
It is understood that on several occasions between 2000 and 2002, the then police officer had cashed money meant for salaries of government employees and diverted the moneys to his associates, including his wife.
“William transferred the said amount as salary in to different accounts maintained at Standard Charted Mall Branch and Barclays Bank respectively,” a statement from DCEC confirmed.
The corruption busting agency was roped-in to detect the police officer’s alleged misdemeanor and consequently “the accused person was charged with 64 counts of stealing by a person employed in the public service contrary to Section 271 as read with Section 277 of the penal code Cap 08:01 Laws of Botswana.”
The former police officer was arraigned before the Gaborone Principal Magistrate Munashe Ndlovu who ordered him to pay back the defrauded P1 912 582.62 to government coffers.
“The huge money could have gone somewhere. This kind of corruption derails development. The funds could have been used for a good governmental project. This therefore derails the government developmental agenda,” DCEC Public Relations Officer, Nyaladzi Gambule pointed out to Weekend Post while confirming the matter.
The soft-spoken Gambule cited that such issues are worrying, especially when committed by public officers and in particular police officers who are entrusted to safeguard the law itself. “You will assume that someone working in the police service, by the virtue of his/her office will have moral consciousness and observe ethics than an ordinary person.”
According to the DCEC spokesperson, there is a societal expectation regarding how public officers and by extension police officers should behave. “If one police officer can be corrupt it means that there is a probability that many others may be doing the same thing and that hurts government.”
Subsequent to investigations by the corruption busting agency, the verdict implied: “the accused person William between the 20th March 2000 and 22 August 2002 in Gaborone, whilst employed by Botswana Government as a Police Office and seconded at the Accountant General Department in the Ministry of Finance stole the sum of P1 912 582.62 (One Million Nine Hundred and Twelve Thousand Five Hundred and Eighty Two Pula Sixty Two Thebe.”
This publication has gathered that the accused has since been suspended has been on bail. It is understood that some of his automobiles such as buses have been confiscated by DCEC pending finalization of the criminal matter which still stands with regard to the case. The accused is facing a civil and criminal suit. The civil suit has been dealt with and he has been ordered by court to pay back the money while the criminal one is pending.
Meanwhile the Botswana Police Service (BPS) Public Relations officer Assistant Commissioner, Christopher Mbulawa was playing his cards close to his chest when asked to confirm if he is aware of such incident. “I will not want to be drawn into discussing it,” he said referring this publication to the DCEC.
However, he said the organization has internal affairs branch which investigates any possible misbehaving by a police officer. “We launched anti-corruption policy and toll free number and this shows we don’t tolerate corruption by our officers.”
The calm and collected spokesperson pointed out to Weekend Post that as a police service, they have demonstrated a policy on zero tolerance to acts of corruption. Mbulawa said “that’s why even at our offices we have posters, monthly magazines to educate staff on corruption.”
According to the Assistant Commissioner, corruption in the police service can damage the image of not only their organization but the nation.
While there is no hard-and-fast rule in politics, former Molepolole North Member of Parliament, Mohamed Khan says populism acts in the body politic have forced him to quit active partisan politics. He brands this ancient ascription of politics as fake and says it lowers the moral compass of the society.
Khan who finally tasted political victory in the 2014 elections after numerous failed attempts, has decided to leave the ‘dirty game’, and on his way out he characteristically lashed at the current political leaders; including his own party president, Advocate Duma Boko. “I arrived at this decision because I have noticed that there are no genuine politics and politicians. The current leaders, Boko and President Dr Mokgweetsi Masisi are fake politicians who are just practicing populist politics to feed their egos,” he said.
Former Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) parliamentary hopeful, Lawrence Ookeditse has rejected the idea of taking up a crucial role in the Botswana Patriotic Front (BPF) Central Committee following his arrival in the party this week. According to sources close to development, BPF power brokers are coaxing Ookeditse to take up the secretary general position, left vacant by death of Roseline Panzirah-Matshome in November 2020.
Ookeditse’s arrival at BPF is projected to cause conflicts, as some believe they are being overlooked, in favour of a new arrival. The former ruling party strategist has however ruled out the possibility of serving in the party central committee as secretary general, and committed that he will turn down the overture if availed to him by party leadership.
Ookeditse, nevertheless, has indicated that if offered another opportunity to serve in a different capacity, he will gladly accept. “I still need to learn the party, how it functions and all its structures; I must be guided, but given any responsibility I will serve the party as long as it is not the SG position.”
“I joined the BPF with a clear conscious, to further advance my voice and the interests of the constituents of Nata/Gweta which I believe the BDP is no longer capable to execute.” Ookeditse speaks of abject poverty in his constituency and prevalent unemployment among the youth, issues he hopes his new home will prioritise.
He dismissed further allegations that he resigned from the BDP because he was not rewarded for his efforts towards the 2019 general elections. After losing in the BDP primaries in 2018, Ookeditse said, he was offered a job in government but declined to take the post due to his political ambitions. Ookeditse stated that he rejected the offer because, working for government clashed with his political journey.
He insists there are many activists who are more deserving than him; he could have chosen to take up the opportunity that was before him but his conscious for the entire populace’s wellbeing held him back. Ookeditse said there many people in the party who also contributed towards party success, asserting that he only left the BDP because he was concerned about the greater good of the majority not individualism purposes.
According to observers, Ookeditse has been enticed by the prospects of contesting Nata/Gweta constituency in the 2024 general election, following the party’s impressive performance in the last general elections. Nata/Gweta which is a traditional BDP stronghold saw its numbers shrinking to a margin of 1568. BDP represented by Polson Majaga garnered 4754, while BPF which had fielded Joe Linga received 3186 with UDC coming a distant with 1442 votes.
There are reports that Linga will pave way for Ookeditse to contest the constituency in 2024 and the latter is upbeat about the prospects of being elected to parliament. Despite Ookeditse dismissing reports that he is eying the secretary general position, insiders argue that the position will be availed to him nevertheless.
Alternative favourite for the position is Vuyo Notha who is the party Deputy Secretary General. Notha has since assumed duties of the secretariat office on the interim basis. BPF politburo is expected to meet on 25th of January 2020, where the vacancy will be filled.
Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) big wigs have decided to cancel a retreat with the party legislators this weekend owing to increasing numbers of Covid-19 cases. The meeting was billed for this weekend at a place that was to be confirmed, however a communique from the party this past Tuesday reversed the highly anticipated meeting.
“We received a communication this week that the meeting will not go as planned because of rapid spread of Covid-19,” one member of the party Central Committee confirmed to this publication. The gathering was to follow the first of its kind held late last year at party Treasurer Satar Dada’s place.