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DCEC, media clash over Corruption Law

DCEC Director propose to edit investigative stories

Media practitioners and the Directorate on Corruption and Economic Crime (DCEC) are at loggerheads over section 44 of the DCEC Act. The friction gained traction following the search of News Company Botswana premises and seizure of a computer by DCEC operatives.

The media is against the said section citing that it infringes on media freedom while on the other hand DCEC is resolute on implementing the law because it is critical to ensuring sound investigation. The DCEC is accusing the media of leaking critical information to parties that may interfere with investigations. In essence the DCEC is saying the media is therefore jeopardizing their investigations.

While DCEC gets immense powers from the Corruption and Economic Crime Act (CECA) in the line of investigating corruption, media practitioners on the other hand insist that section 12 of the constitution provides them with sufficient authority to carry parallel investigations.

DCEC Director General, Rose Seretse acceded in her address to the media on Friday that in the recent past DCEC has had a standoff with the media regarding some reports that they (DCEC) felt compromised some of their investigations. “Section 44 of the Corruption on Economic Crime Act (CECA) prohibits any indulgence of information which is still under DCEC investigation,” she maintained.

She stated that an investigation that is disclosed prematurely is compromised because even the suspect at that stage may not even be aware that they are being investigated and once alerted it is very obvious that they will destroy the very vital evidence that we need.”

According to Seretse there is need for a sober assessment of the whole issue surrounding this matter and other similar matters that may arise in the future, to create a conducive environment whereby the DCEC can be given enough space to carry out its investigations on reports of alleged corruption without those investigations being compromised by unauthorized and/or premature disclosure of information.

DCEC Director General suggested that she could assist in editing news investigative pieces so that she may withhold the story if she sees that it may jeorpadise their investigations. Infact she admitted that section 44 of CECA give them powers as they prohibit divulging information to matters that are under their investigations.

The section 44 (of CECA) states that, “any person who, without lawful authority or reasonable excuse, discloses to any person who is subject of any investigation in respect of any offence alleged or suspected to have been committed by him under this Act the fact that he is subject to such investigations or any details of such investigation, or publishes or discloses to any person either the identity of any person who is subject of such investigation or any details of such investigation, shall be guilty of an offence and shall be liable, on conviction, to imprisonment for a term not exceeding one year or to a fine not exceeding P2000.00 or both.”

In reference to the Act, Media Institute of Southern Africa (MISA) has already instituted a court case, as a friend of the court, in the substantive application brought by the Attorney General against Tsodilo Services (pty) Ltd (Sunday Standard and its editor Outsa Mokone). MISA observes that section 44 of DCEC Act has limitations placed on the freedom of expression and therefore it is unconstitutional as it is not in the public interest.

MISA stated in the papers that the CECA is against the spirit of section 12 of the constitution which clearly states that, “except with his or her consent, no person shall be hindered in the enjoyment of his or her freedom of expression, that is to say, freedom to hold opinion without interference, freedom to receive ideas and information without interference, freedom to communicate ideas and information without interference, (whether the communication be to the public generally or to any person or class of persons) and freedom from interference with his or her correspondence.”

Recently the media, Botswana Gazette in particular, clashed with DCEC authorities over a story concerning corruption allegations of one Jerry Chitube in relation to P150 million worth of alleged oil deals and smuggling of diamonds. According to Seretse, the matter was still under investigation by officers at the corruption busting agency. She said she was shocked to see the story published in the media. Seretse stated on the sidelines of the press conference to the WeekendPost that “the story has jeorpadised their investigation and therefore negatively affected the case.”

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6th February 2023

After falling to close the gap on Arsenal by losing to a record breaking goal by Kane at the Tottenham stadium.Manchester City now find themselves being charged by the Premier League with more than 100 breaches of its financial rules following a four-year investigation.

According to BBC , it has referred the club to an independent commission over alleged rule breaches between 2009 and 2018 , and also that Man-city has not been co-operating since the investigation which started in 2018 .

BBC further states that The commission can impose punishment including a fine , points deduction and expelling the club from the Premier league.

The alleged breaches include ,  breaching rules for requiring full details of manager remuneration,from 2009-2010, to 2012-2013 seasons when Roberto Mancini was in charge . Also player remuneration between 2010-2011 and 2015-2016.

The Premier league stated that City breached rules related to UEFA regulations , including Financial Fair Play , from 2013-2014 to 2017-2018 ,as well as Premier League rules on profitability and sustainability from 2014-2016 to 2017-2018

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South Korean Embassy aids students living with disabilities

6th February 2023

South Korean Ambassador in South Africa has donated e-learning equipment through Botswana Red Cross Society (BRCS) to Tlamelong Rehabilitation Centre in Tlokweng recently, in a bid to fine tune the student’s textile skills.  

When talking at the handing over ceremony, Chull-Joo Park, said they agreed with BRCS to give out e-learning equipment to better the training skills of students living with disabilities.

“With the Information and Communication Technology (ICT) equipment and job training skills, we will be able to help the students living with disabilities to do e-learning and to better their education and job training,” said Chull-Joo Park.

It was revealed that the South Korean Embassy approached BRCS with the intent to donate equipment and educational material that includes an embroidery machine, photo copier machine, tablets and interactive boards to be utilized by the trainees.

The industrial printer is a machine that works with embroidery machine to print designs for clothing and it will enable the learners to have more material available to them to facilitate learning.

Through this embroidery machine, students will be exposed to better technologies which ultimately improve the quality of materials they produce. It will also allow students to learn business skills and run profitable ventures.

Smart board gadgets will provide the students with an elevated learning process to be fostered by e-learning. The gadgets provide a more visual element to the learning process, which in turn improves learner mental retention.

Tlamelong Rehabilitation serves the marginalized and underserved less privileged persons living with disability in Botswana. The center offers boarding services, vocational training, social services, physiotherapy and rehabilitation services for young people living disabilities aged 18-35 from across the country over a period of two (2) years per cohort which has a maximum intake capacity of 35. BRCS through International Federation of the Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) have managed to create great working synergy with the South Korean Embassy in Pretoria based in South Africa to support or augment the National Society’s Rehabilitation Centre’s learning challenges.

For his part, BRSC Secretary General Kutlwano Mokokomani said they are delighted to convey their gratitude as BRSC to the South Korean Embassy for donation and they look forward to an enduring partnership for such worthy causes.

“South Korean Embassy’s great gesture will enable trainees to thrive, to fulfil their dreams to become a reality as this equipments will go a long way in creating great impact in the lives of trainees and their families. We wish to convey our sincere gratitude to the South Korean Embassy for their noble gesture of donating the E-learning equipments.”

BRCS offers rehabilitation services spread across three (3) areas in Botswana being Sefhare Stimulation center in Sefhare, Tshimologo stimulation center in Francistown and Tlamelong rehabilitation center in Tlokweng.

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DIS alleges plot to kill Masisi hatched in South Africa

6th February 2023

A dispute is brewing between Botswana and South Africa intelligence agencies over alleged mercenary training camps discovered in South Africa by the Directorate of Intelligence and Security (DIS). 

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