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Butterfly appeal postponed to next session


The appeal by the State against the acquittal of the suspended spy agent, Welheminah ‘Butterfly’ Maswabi has been postponed to the next session of the Court of Appeal (CoA) at the instance of the new Judge President Tebogo Tau. Justice Tau postponed it with the hope that the foreign Judges of the CoA would be available in the country.

These are the CoA Judges who have not been coming here because of COVID-19 pandemic. Administration of Justice sources said Justice Tau’s other reason to postpone this controversial matter is to give it a balance because “sometimes locals can be politicians”. In August 2021 High Court Judge Dr Zein Kebonang discharged and acquitted Maswabi from charges possession of unexplained property and false declaration of a passport. Another charge of financing terrorism was later withdrawn by the state. She was implicated alongside former president Ian Khama, ex spy chief Isaac Kgosi and South African businesswoman Bridgette Motsepe in having allegedly stolen P100 billion from Bank of Botswana.

Before her acquittal the State had withdrawn all the charges with an option to reinstate in future. The State had appeal Justice Dr Kebonang’s judgment has they feel they should be given an opportunity to reinstate the charges in future. Maswabi was sensationally arrested on October 17, 2019 and brought before the Broadhurst Magistrate’s Court the following under unprecedented heavy security escort.

She spent a month in jail because the Directorate of Public Prosecutions (DPP) alleged that she posed a significant threat to the State. In her review application she contended that there was no evidence before the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) that could have justified a decision to prosecute her.

Maswabi through her attorney Unoda Mack submitted that the entire case against her was a fabrication of evidence by the State and the DPP and others were parties to this fabrication. In his judgment Kebonang ordered that it is declared that the allegations and accusations against the applicant were fabricated and outright false.

He also declared that the accusations contained in the opposing affidavit of Directorate on Corruption and Economic Crime (DCEC) investigator Jako Hubona to the effect that Maswabai is a signatory to various bank accounts held in various South African commercial banks under companies called Blue Files and Fire Files with a total balance in excess of US10 billion were fabricated and are outright false as such accounts do not exist and the said companies are also non-existent.

He also ordered that the first respondent, DPP Stephen Tiroyakgosi “is referred to the President of Botswana as the appointing authority to consider his removal from office of the DPP…” Kebonang also ordered that Tiroyakgosi be referred to the Law Society of Botswana (LSB) for investigation and appropriate sanction.

“The first respondent is also referred to the Attorney General as his line supervisor for investigation and possible prosecution,” Kebonang ordered. Investigator Hubona is referred to the Commissioner of Police for prosecution for perjury and to the DCEC Director General as his line supervisor for disciplinary action. Attorney Priscilla Israel is also referred to the LSB for investigation and appropriate sanction.

He directed the Registrar of the High Court to submit a copy of this judgment to President Mokgweetsi Masisi, Director General of the DCEC, the chairperson of the LSB, the Permanent Secretary to the President, the Commissioner of Police and the Attorney General for appropriate remedial action. In conclusion he ruled that the respondents pay costs for this application.


Over 2 000 civil servants interdicted

6th December 2022

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 reaching WeekendPost 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 publication’s queries, Permanent Secretary to the Office of the President Emma Peloetletse said, “as 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,” 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.

“It is heartbreaking that at this time the investigations have not been completed,” he told WeekendPost, adding that “when a person is suspended, they get their salary fully without fail until the matter is resolved”.

Makgophe, Katlholo and Kgothane are the three most high-ranking government officials that are under interdiction.

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Masisi to dump Tsogwane?

28th November 2022

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.

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African DFIs gear to combat climate change

25th November 2022

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.

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