In 2019, the Directorate of Intelligence and Security (DIS) Brigadier Peter Magosi’s job was reported to be on shaky grounds after speculation that President Dr Mokgweetsi Masisi has slapped him with a suspension letter.
Magosi was accused of presenting before courts several flawed high profile corruption, terrorism and money laundering cases that have immensely bruised the government’s image. When this publication inquired then, Magosi denied and rubbished the allegations, claiming that he and Masisi have a very tight professional relationship. However, reliable sources within the intelligence community revealed to this publication this week that speculation that Magosi was placed on suspension is indeed true.
After numerous reports indicating that Magosi was on suspension, he toned down, and was no longer seen actively being involved in guarding the President. But he has re-emerged of late. Magosi is record stating that the President’s life is under threat. It is however alleged that Magosi’s suspension has been kept as top secret by the intelligence unit and Office of the President (OP). Sources further revealed that this decision came long and hard.
Allegedly, Magosi currently does not have direct contact with the President. He however camouflages this by attending some of the events Masisi is seen at, the latest being at the Budget Speech on Monday. Despite this damning allegations, information received is that Magosi will not entertain any suspension and has been seen at the State house on his duties from time to time. WeekendPost has gathered that Masisi and Magosi in their routine meetings, discussed the matter relating to preserving DIS credibility.
Masisi is said to be very concerned by the manner in which Magosi does his business, as it has the potential to further tarnish the image of the institution. “Not like he was hard on him, but it was just an advise for Magosi to tone down and not be trigger happy as it could put the institution in a bad light,” revealed a source.â€¨ The meeting is said to have been staged prior to elections where Masisi expressed his concerns. UDC has also reported Magosi to the Ombudsman for acts of mal-administration and abuse of office.
“It is our greatest concern that the Director General has overstepped his security functions and crossed into political landscape. His overzealous body guard behaviour, seemingly to impress his political appointor, has left many Batswana puzzled by the state of affairs. The important question is; can an unethical and unprofessional public servant be expected to deliver on his mandate? In the case of Mr Magosi, we say he can’t,” wrote the UDC President Duma Boko in a complaint letter to the Ombudsman.â€¨
MAGOSI TROUBLES OUTLINED
â€¨The Sebina brothers, Tshepo and Kegone Sebina have swiftly moved an application to counter sue the State, over an ex parte search warrant that was issued against them earlier this year, after being sought by Magosi. Earlier this year, Magosi successfully applied for ex parte search warrant on the brothers before the Village Magistrate Court.â€¨â€¨The two brothers were accused of being involved in corrupt dealings with former DIS spy Chief, Colonel Isaac Kgosi.
It was alleged that the brothers had been corruptly awarded tenders from about 52 companies in which 48 of these pointed to have the three brothers as Directors/shareholders. Whilst the properties of Kegone and Tshepo were raided and the properties were also allegedly linked to Kgosi. The investigators allegedly made way with documents. Former President Khama and his brother Tshekedi Khama, along with Ms. Tahlia Naledi Khama (Tshekedi’s daughter) are also suing the Director General, for defamation of character.
This came after Magosi revealed that an amount of P5.6 billion was stolen from the Bank of Botswana when Dr. Khama was President; and the monies were maintained in a certain ‘‘offshore’’ bank account in Ms. Tahlia Naledi Khama’s names.â€¨â€¨High profile investigative officers at the Directorate on Corruption and Economic Crime (DCEC) have also written a letter in which they complained about the interference of the Directorate of Intelligence and Security Services (DIS) in the operations of the DCEC.
The letter, which has been seen by this publication, details the frustrations of investigating officers and make allegations against the Director Generals.â€¨â€¨The officers complain that they have lost their independence to the DIS Director General and in some instances the Financial Intelligence Agency (FIA) Director General. They complain that their Director General, Brigadier Joseph Mathambo, gets operational direction, especially regarding high profile investigations from the two DGs at FIA and DIS. In the letter, they complain that in terms of the DCEC Act and international best practices, investigations must remain confidential and not communicated to any unauthorized persons.
â€¨â€¨They allege that in their case, the DIS Chief, Magosi dictates to their DG Mathambo, on who to investigate and who not to investigate. Because of this, some reports are not authorized for investigations and if authorized, the investigations are being frustrated and investigating officers victimised. They state in the letter that when he first addressed them after his appointment, Mathambo told them that he was appointed by DIS DG Peter Magosi and President Mokgweetsi Masisi and he has to serve their interests. â€¨â€¨â€¨
The officers say that they are inundated with reports against the DIS DG but because of his close relationship with their DG, they are scared of forwarding the reports for classification to investigate. The officers complain that they were investigating their DG and his wife, who was working at Botswana Telecommunications Corporation (BTC), on accounts of corruption and also for insurance fraud, but they don't know what happened to his files after the departure of Bruno Paledi.â€¨â€¨â€¨
They also complain that they have been investigating the DIS DG Magosi but they don't know what happened to his files after the appointment of Joseph Mathambo. Magosi’s investigations involved his time at the Botswana Defence Force (BDF). At the time when the DCEC was investigating this case, the DCEC DG was an Inspector General at the BDF doing audits, it is alleged that he was already close to the DIS DG at the time. Attempts to reach Magosi for comment were unfruitful as he declined this publication’s calls.
Despite being hailed and still regarded as a hero who saved many lives through his decision to crash the BF5 fighter Jet around the national stadium on the eve of the 2018 BDF day, the deceased Pilot, Major Clifford Manyuni’s actions were treated as a letdown within the army, especially by his master-Commander of the Air Arm, Major General Innocent Phatshwane.
Manyuni’s master says he was utterly disappointed with his Pilot’s failure to perform “simple basics.”
Manyuni was regarded as a hero through social media for his ‘colourful exploits’, but Phatshwane who recently retired as the Air Arm Commander, revealed to WeekendPost in an exclusive interview that while he appreciated Batswana’s outpouring of emotions and love towards his departed Pilot, he strongly felt let down by the Pilot “because there was nothing wrong with that Fighter Jet and Manyuni did not report any problem either.”
The deceased Pilot, Manyuni was known within the army to be an upwardly mobile aviator and in particular an air power proponent.
“I was hurt and very disappointed because nobody knows why he decided to crash a well-functioning aircraft,” stated Phatshwane – a veteran pilot with over 40 years of experience under the Air Arm unit.
Phatshwane went on to express shock at Manyuni’s flagrant disregard for the rules of the game, “they were in a formation if you recall well and the guiding principle in that set-up is that if you have any problem, you immediately report to the formation team leader and signal a break-away from the formation.
Manyuni disregarded all these basic rules, not even to report to anybody-team members or even the barracks,” revealed Phatshwane when engaged on the much-publicised 2018 incident that took the life of a Rakops-born Pilot of BDF Class 27 of 2003/2004.
Phatshwane quickly dismisses the suggestion that perhaps the Fighter Jet could have been faulty, “the reasons why I am saying I was disappointed is that the aircraft was also in good condition and well-functioning. It was in our best interest to know what could have caused the accident and we launched a wholesale post-accident investigation which revealed that everything in the structure was working perfectly well,” he stated.
Phatshwane continued: “we thoroughly assessed the condition of the engine of the aircraft as well as the safety measures-especially the ejection seat which is the Pilot’s best safety companion under any life-threatening situation. All were perfectly functional.”
In aircrafts, an ejection seat or ejector seat is a system designed to rescue the pilot or other crew of an aircraft in an emergency. The seat is propelled out of the aircraft by an explosive charge or rocket motor, carrying the pilot with it.”
Manyuni knew about all these safety measures and had checked their functionality prior to using the Aircraft as is routine practice, according to Phatshwane. Could Manyuni have been going through emotional distress of some sort? Phatshwane says while he may never really know about that, what he can say is that there are laid out procedures in aviation guiding instances of emotional instability which Manyuni also knew about.
“We don’t allow or condone emotionally or physically unfit Pilots to take charge of an aircraft. If a Pilot feels unfit, he reports and requests to be excused. We will subsequently shift the task to another Pilot. We do this because we know the risks of leaving an unfit pilot to fly an aircraft,” says Phatshwane.
Despite having happened a day before the BDF day, Phatshwane says the BDF day mishap did not really affect the BDF day preparations, although it emotionally distracted Manyuni’s flying formation squad a bit, having seen him break away from the formation to the stone-hearted ground. The team soldiered on and immediately reported back to base for advice and way forward, according to Phatshwane.
Sharing the details of the ordeal and his Pilots’ experiences, Phatshwane said: “they (pilots) were in distress, who wouldn’t? They were especially hurt by the deceased‘s lack of communication. I immediately called a chaplain to attend to their emotional needs.
He came and offered them counselling. But soldiers don’t cry, they immediately accepted that a warrior has been called, wiped off their tears and instantly reported back for duty. I am sure you saw them performing miracles the following day at the BDF day as arranged.”
Despite the matter having attracted wide publicity, the BDF kept the crash details a distance away from the public, a move that Phatshwane felt was not in the best interest of the army and public.
“The incident attracted overwhelming public attention. Not only that, there were some misconceptions attached to the incident and I thought it was upon the BDF to come out and address those for the benefit of the public and army’s reputation,” he said.
One disturbing narrative linked to the incident was that Manyuni heroically wrestled the ‘faulty’ aircraft away from the endangered public to die alone, a narrative which Phatshwane disputes as just people’s imaginations. “Like I said the Aircraft was functioning perfectly,” he responded.
A close family member has hinted that the traumatised Manyuni family, at the time of their son’s tragedy, strongly accused the BDF ‘of killing their son’. Phatshwane admits to this development, emphasising that “Manyuni’s mother was visibly and understandably in inconsolable pain when she uttered those words”.
Phatshwane was the one who had to travel to Rakops through the Directorate of Intelligence Services (DIS) aircraft to deliver the sad news to the family but says he found the family already in the know, through social media. At the time of his death, Manyuni was survived by both parents, two brothers, a sister, fiancée and one child. He was buried in Rakops in an emotionally-charged burial. Like his remains, the BDF fighter jets have been permanently rested.
A matter in which former President Lt Gen Ian Khama had brought before Broadhurst Police Station in Gaborone, requesting the State to charge Directorate on Corruption and Economic Crime (DCEC) lead investigator, Jako Hubona and others with perjury has been committed to Headquarters because it involves “elders.”
Broadhurst Police Station Commander, Obusitswe Lokae, told this publication this week that the case in its nature is high profile so the matter has been allocated to his Officer Commanding No.3 District who then reported to the Divisional Commander who then sort to commit it to Police Headquarters.