Former Debswana Managing Director, Balisi Bonyongo is scheduled to give evidence in court next week, in a case in which Debswana is disputing its liability in a P110 million debt emanating from its contractual obligations with intelligence consultancy, Infotrac (Pty) Ltd.
This week, the court heard that Debswana has indeed purchased spying equipment, despite previous refutation by the world’s leading diamond miner by value. When testifying in the P110 million case, Tawana Chilume, Debswana’s Diamond Control and Security Risk Manager, confirmed that there are spying installations in the Debswana facilities, including toilets. He, however, denied that the installations are meant to spy on employees, but to provide security for diamonds.
Chilume was being cross-examined by Infotrac lawyer, Kgosi Ngakaagae, who wanted him to confirm his familiarity with spy installations in the Debswana facilities. According to documents seen by this publication, Infotrac in its dispute with Debswana over P110 million payment, has submitted purchase orders to the court as part of its evidence.
Purchase Order number 4300292617, made on the 28th of February 2019 to Infotrac indicates that Debswana procured at least 11 different types of spying equipment. The purchased equipment comprises; USB Camstick Camera with Night Vision; Coffee Thermos Hidden Camera, Key Chain HD DVR Camera, Hidden Camera Backpack by Extreme Life Plus, Eon International GPS Tracker, 49 Neckloop Transmitter for V1-10612 Wireless Ear Receiver, Cell Phone & GPS Detector, Mobile Phone Spy Protector, Counter Surveillance Kit, Body Worn Camera Kit and 25-Day Standby Voice Recorder.
The discreet purchase of spying equipment was procured through Infotrac, and the equipment was simply referred to as “boardroom equipment” in order to conceal the nature of the devices the company was purchasing, the court heard this week.
Debswana further commissioned and paid Infotrac to provide training to its select staff on the use of the newly acquired spying equipment. The training did not materialize, but Debswana had already paid for the service in advance.
Mompoloki Motshidi, Infotrac Managing Director, has told the court that the spying equipment were placed in strategic places, including in company cars and in the staff residences. The primary target were union employees, who were perceived to be always ahead of the management in terms of key issues.
Meanwhile, former Debswana MD, Bonyongo is scheduled to testify in court next week. Bonyongo’s name has featured prominently in the ongoing case owing to his previous position at Debswana. The court was told that, the P110 million job came into being because Bonyongo was among those who threatened the ascendancy of Milton as his successor in 2018.
Last week, the High Court was informed that as part of its scope, Infotrac was expected to reach out to key figures in echelons of power to lobby for the appointment of the late Albert Milton as the Managing Director of Debswana. Though Milton was already earmarked for the post, it has been revealed that his ascendency faced sabotage from various quarters, including the then outgoing Debswana MD, Bonyongo, who did not see eye-to-eye with his would-be successor.
In the grand scheme of things, an outgoing Debswana MD is an influential figure who could have a say on their successor. As part of lobbying for Milton, the court heard on Thursday that Infotrac engaged Banyongo on reports of bad blood between him and Milton. Bonyongo, according to evidence given in court, denied the allegations and ascertained that he supports Milton as the next MD of Debswana.
Initially, there were reports that Milton’s personal life could be used against him in his bid to become MD. Infotrac, the court heard, was involved not only to ascertain his suitability for the MD post, but to also advise him on how to conduct his personal life, as well as lobbying key players to be favourably disposed towards him.
Asked by Debswana lawyer, John Carr-Hartley of Armstrongs on why would Bonyongo sabotage Milton, Motshidi said the then Debswana MD was said to have established that Milton was having a marital affair with his wife. Motshidi said, during lobbying, he also confronted Bonyongo on the allegations. Bonyongo will take the stand next week Thursday to testify on various issues before the court.
The Director General of the Directorate on Corruption and Economic Crime (DCEC) Tymon Katholo has revealed why he took a decision to engage private lawyers against the State. The DCEC boss engaged Monthe and Marumo Attorneys in his application to interdict the Directorate of Intelligence and Security (DIS) from accessing files and dockets in the custody of the corruption busting agency.
In his affidavit, Katholo says that by virtue of my appointment as the Director General of the DCEC, he is obliged to defend the administration and operational activities of the DCEC. He added that, “I have however been advised about a provision in the State Proceedings Act which grants the authority of public institution to undertake legal proceedings to the Attorney General.” Katholo contends that the provision is not absolute and the High Court may in the exercise of its original jurisdiction permit such, like in this circumstance authorise such proceedings to be instituted by the DCEC or its Director General.
Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) has gone through transformation over the years, with new faces coming and going, but some figures have become part and parcel of the furniture at Tsholetsa House. From founding in 1962, BDP has seen five leaders changing the baton during the party’s 60 years of existence. The party has successfully contested 12 general elections, albeit the outcome of the last polls were disputed in court.
While party splits were not synonymous with the BDP for the better part of its existence, the party suffered two splits in the last 12 years; the first in 2010 when a Barataphathi faction broke ranks to found the now defunct Botswana Movement for Democracy (BMD). The Barataphathi faction was in the main protesting the ill-treatment of then recently elected party secretary general, Gomolemo Motswaledi, who had been suspended ostensibly for challenging the authority of then president, Ian Khama.
Mr Abdoola has known Mr. Uzair Razi for many years from the time he was a young boy. Uzair’s father, Mr Razi Ahmed, was the head of BCCI Bank in Botswana and “a very good man,” his close associates say.
Uzair and his wife went to settle in Dubai, the latter’s birthplace. He stayed in touch and was working for a real estate company owned by Mr. Sameer Lakhani. “Our understanding is that Uzair approached Mr. Abdoola to utilize their services for any property-related interests in Dubai. He did some work for Mr.Abdoola and others in the Botswana business community,” narrates a friend of Mr Abdoola.