The office of the President has been ordered to pay back the money it inappropriately diverted from the national disaster relief fund and used to form the Directorate of Intelligence Services back in 2008.
The Public Accounts Committee (PAC) warned the O.P on Thursday this week that if it does not put the money back into the fund, the matter would never die away and it would keep cropping up before the committee until the debt is settled.
“You don’t just decide to ignore the resolutions of Parliament. How are you going to balance the books? You have deliberately ignored the matter hoping it will die away?” MP Moyo Guma accused the O.P.
In 2008, the O.P transferred over P12 Million from the national disaster relief fund to form the secret intelligence service just before President Seretse Khama Ian Khama was inaugurated as the country’s fourth President. The order to divert the money came through a cabinet memo and the officers had no choice but to oblige to the instruction.
The Office of the President then argued that the fund was the only available source of funding at the time but Parliament insisted that the decision was inappropriate. Although the Parliament had in a number of occasions ordered the O.P to correct the anomaly, to date the debt remains outstanding and the PAC expressed its disappointment on Thursday this week when the O.P appeared before it with nothing noted on the subject matter.
The accounting officer has therefore promised to make a resubmission on the issue.
The national disaster relief fund was established in 1996 to provide financial assistance to natural disaster victims through reconstruction and repairs to their shelters, rehabilitation of transport infrastructure and such other disaster related relief.
However the O.P had in the past been accused by the same committee for abusing the Fund when it paid disaster victims 18 years after the disaster struck. In the last sitting, the Auditor General could not find logic in the payout of P92 500 as relief compensation to residents of Makabanyane and Thotayamorula in Molepolole area for a disaster that happened way back in 1994. The victims were allegedly paid at the rate of P2500 per person.
“While the occurrence of the disaster at that time may not be in doubt, it is disheartening to note that relief measure to assist victims in distress from the impact of a disaster could be so delayed by as much as 18 years, that those compensation payments no longer relate to the ravages of the disaster,” the Auditor General revealed.
On Thursday, the O.P was further asked to account for the monies transferred from other government Ministries to its account for e-governance coordination services which it said it was not aware of.
The O.P is given an annual vote of P1.5 Million to coordinate e-governance. When it appeared before the PAC this week, it was not ready with information on the subject.
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.