Directorate of Public Prosecution (DPP) Chief Stephen Tiroyakgosi has come out of the woods and explicitly revealed that his office needs to be endowed with more powers if it is to be effective in delivering its crucial mandate.
DPP is tasked with instituting legal proceedings for those sued by the government. The institution was created with the objective of giving prosecuting office independence from excessive executive oversight on the Attorney General. When it was formed the intention was there should not be interference on how prosecution should be done from the Office of the President. According to Tiroyakgosi, given the objective of the DPP office when it was created, autonomy remains a key component of the prosecuting office, as it is the case in many progressive jurisdictions.
At the top of his lamentation is lack of resources which end up obstructing his sensitive mandate. “We should be resourced as an office,” he said in an interview. “Right now we share cars, drivers and corporate services personnel with the Attorney General and it is not okay. At times it delays us from discharging our duties as efficient as we would have loved to.”
The lack of resources has seen cases at DPP piling up, and reaching 7200. Not only that, there are others at various police stations estimated at thousands. “These include simpler cases of traffic, rape, housebreaking and simple fraud cases,” highlighted Tiroyakgosi.
Currently, the DPP has 200 prosecutors in its six offices countrywide and rely on police officers in some instance because of their practical experience.
“But for now we need 150 prosecutors but it is difficult because we will have to hire other support staff which will be more costly to the government and this effects negatively on our job,” he decried. DPP boss says that apart from resources they also want independence. When the institution was established it was purposefully taken from OP in a bid to take off executive influence out but it is still not enough. “The DPP should be free from the Attorney General, that is the best international model and that is where we should be directed to,” he advised.
In essence, Tiroyakgosi wants to report to a tribunal and not the AG which somehow could have influence on how decisions are taken. Previously, Selibe-Phikwe West legislator Dithapelo Keorapetse has called for judges and DPP Director and Ombudsman to have a fixed contract term which is not renewable, Tiroyakgosi wholeheartedly agrees. “That should be the way to go. I should be given a contract for a specific period and it should not be renewable,” he says.
“That way the officer bearers will only focus on their job and not try to impress their bosses with hope of getting renewal at the end. It is the best practice by the way and weeds out any possibilities of corruption and office abuse.” Tiroyakgosi was appointed to this position in 2017 by former President Ian Khama with his contract coming to an end in 2022. He will hear from the President by then if his contract will be renewed.
Currently the DPP has a number of Political Exposed Persons (PEP) files including former DIS boss Isaac Kgosi, former Minister Prince Maele and several incumbent Ministers. The institution boss says it is taking time to close some matters, adding that they will take their time before going to the courts to avoid malicious prosecution which at the end might see them being sued for reckless prosecution.
Over 2,000 civil servants in the public sector have been interdicted for a variety of reasons, the majority of which are criminal in nature.
According to reports, some officers have been under interdiction for more than two years because such matters are still being investigated. Information reachingÂ WeekendPostÂ shows that local government, particularly councils, has the highest number of suspended officers.
In its annual report, the Directorate on Corruption and Economic Crime (DCEC) revealed that councils lead in corrupt activities throughout the country, and dozens of council employees are being investigated for alleged corrupt activities. It is also reported that disciplined forces, including the Botswana Defence Force (BDF), police, and prisons, and the Directorate of Intelligence and Security (DIS) have suspended a significant number of officers.
The Ministry of Education and Skills Development has also recorded a good number of teachers who have implicated in love relationships with students, while some are accused of impregnating students both in primary and secondary school. Regional education officers have been tasked to investigate such matters and are believed to be far from completion as some students are dragging their feet in assisting the investigations to be completed.
This year, Mmadinare Senior Secondary reportedly had the highest number of pregnancies, especially among form five students who were later forcibly expelled from school. Responding to this publicationâ€™s queries, Permanent Secretary to the Office of the President Emma Peloetletse said, â€śas you might be aware, I am currently addressing public servants across the length and breadth of our beautiful republic. Due to your detailed enquiry, I am not able to respond within your schedule,â€ť she said.
She said some of the issues raised need verification of facts, some are still under investigation while some are still before the courts of law.
Meanwhile, it is close to six months since the Police Commissioner Keabetwe Makgophe, Director General of the Directorate on Corruption and Economic Crime (DCEC) Tymon Katlholo and the Deputy Director of the DIS Tefo Kgothane were suspended from their official duties on various charges.
Efforts to solicit comment from trade unions were futile at the time of going to press.
Some suspended officers who opted for anonymity claimed that they have close to two years while on suspension. One stated that the investigations that led him to be suspended have not been completed.
â€śIt is heartbreaking that at this time the investigations have not been completed,â€ť he toldÂ WeekendPost, adding that â€śwhen a person is suspended, they get their salary fully without fail until the matter is resolvedâ€ť.
Makgophe, Katlholo and Kgothane are the three most high-ranking government officials that are under interdiction.
Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) and some senior government officials are abuzz with reports that President Mokgweetsi Masisi has requested his Vice President, Slumber Tsogwane not to contest the next general elections in 2024.
The impacts of climate change are increasing in frequency and intensity every year and this is forecast to continue for the foreseeable future. African CEOs in the Global South are finally coming to the party on how to tackle the crisis.
Following the completion of COP27 in Egypt recently, CEOs of Africa DFIs converged in Botswana for the CEO Forum of the Association of African Development Finance Institutions. One of the key themes was on green financing and building partnerships for resource mobilization in financing SDGs in Africa
A report; “Weathering the storm; African Development Banks response to Covid-19” presented shocking findings during the seminar. Among them; African DFI’s have proven to be financially resilient, and they are fast shifting to a green transition and it’s financing.
COO, CEDA, James Moribame highlighted that; “Everyone needs food, shelter and all basic needs in general, but climate change is putting the achievement of this at bay. “It is expensive for businesses to do business, for instance; it is much challenging for the agricultural sector due to climate change, and the risks have gone up. If a famer plants crops, they should be ready for any potential natural disaster which will cost them their hard work.”
According to Moribame, Start-up businesses will forever require help if there is no change.
“There is no doubt that the Russia- Ukraine war disrupted supply chains. SMMEs have felt the most impact as some start-up businesses acquire their materials internationally, therefore as inflation peaks, this means the exchange rate rises which makes commodities expensive and challenging for SMMEs to progress. Basically, the cost of doing business has gone up. Governments are no longer able to support DFI’s.”
Moribame shared remedies to the situation, noting that; “What we need is leadership that will be able to address this. CEOs should ensure companies operate within a framework of responsible lending. They also ought to scout for opportunities that would be attractive to investors, this include investors who are willing to put money into green financing. Botswana is a prime spot for green financing due to the great opportunity that lies in solar projects. ”
Technology has been hailed as the economy of the future and thus needs to be embraced to drive operational efficiency both internally and externally.
Executive Director, bank of Industry Nigeria, Simon Aranou mentioned that for investors to pump money to climate financing in Africa, African states need to be in alignment with global standards.
“Do what meets world standards if you want money from international investors. Have a strong risk management system. Also be a good borrower, if you have a loan, honour the obligation of paying it back because this will ensure countries have a clean financial record which will then pave way for easier lending of money in the future. African states cannot just be demanding for mitigation from rich countries. Financing needs infrastructure to complement it, you cannot be seating on billions of dollars without the necessary support systems to make it work for you. Domestic resource mobilisation is key. Use public money to mobilise private money.” He said.
For his part, the Minster of Minister of Entrepreneurship, Karabo Gare enunciated that, over the past three years, governments across the world have had to readjust their priorities as the world dealt with the effects and impact of the COVID 19 pandemic both to human life and economic prosperity.
“The role of DFIs, during this tough period, which is to support governments through countercyclical measures, including funding of COVID-19 related development projects, has become more important than ever before. However, with the increasingly limited resources from governments, DFIs are now expected to mobilise resources to meet the fiscal gaps and continue to meet their developmental mandates across the various affected sectors of their economies.” Said Gare.