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Freeway for Israeli spy firm P130M suit as court trashes NPF case?

Isaac Kgosi

The recent High Court National Petroleum Fund (NPF) judgement by the Court of Appeal may have smoothly cleared the way for the Israeli spy company, Dignia System currently seeking an order compelling the DIS and the Attorney General (defendants) to accept delivery of the remainder of the orders under the contract and pay them USD 11 320 000.00 (over P130 million).

The government has been pinning their hopes on the court challenge, hoping for the NPF transactions to be declared illegal to give force and legitimacy to their refusal to accede to the Dignia Systems’ demands.  Unfortunately, the apex court has ruled that the state’s NPF transactions challenge were nothing but a guessing game backed by no evidence. The case has been thrown out paving way for the defendants and accused in many cases pending before the courts, including the one in which Dignia systems wants its millions from government.

In the Dignia case, the state argues that the NPF amount of P230 Million having been disbursed in an irregular manner or as an illegal transaction painted every subsequent transaction flowing from it with the same brush of illegality and subsequently as proceeds of crime. The state’s contention in the Dignia case is that the NPF money was requested by the former director-general of Intelligence Services, Isaac Kgosi, to construct petroleum facilities and was to be received from the Fund manager, Kgori Capital.

But surprisingly, P230 million was disbursed from the Fund account held with Stanbic Bank Botswana to an account held by Khulaco PTY LTD, a private person’s account at a capital bank at the instruction of Kgosi-hence the state alleging that irregularities and illegalities marred the processes.

The DISS has suspended the Dignia System contract arguing that it was invalid as the methodology used in the transaction does not conform with provisions of the Public Procurement and Asset Disposal Board, which a procuring and disposing entity should follow. Insiders say should Dignia win their case, the current bill against the state could sky rocket given the period upon which Dignia’s has had to wait. The 5 year interest, equipment storage costs and many others factors, they say, could leave the taxman financial hamstrung.

“Not only that, this is a reputable firm and could sue for their name being dragged in the mud as a result of political battles which they could argue did not have to affect their dealings or contract with the government,” further revealed our source. The Directorate of Public Prosecutions, Stephen Tiroyakgosi has said they will be analysing the apex court’s ruling upon which they will advice themselves as the state on the way forward. Could this mean backtracking on many decision made as a result of the NPF case including suspension of the Dignia Systems deal, only time will tell.

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Dada to break Kwelagobe’s BDP long standing record

16th May 2022
Dada

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.

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The Gulaam Husain Abdoola – Dubai sting detailed

16th May 2022
Gulaam Husain Abdoola

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.

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Kgamane: I leave with a heavy heart

16th May 2022
Kgamane

“When President Mokgwetsi Masisi and Bangwato converged at the Serowe main Kgotla last year, I made a sincere appeal to both government and Morafe to protect me. I did so because I felt so vulnerable and weak in a moment of war.

I made this appeal in anticipation of an uncomfortable future where the sacrificial lamb will be none other than myself. This prophesy has come to pass. I leave with a heavy heart, especially by the way in which the government has treated me in light of all these. Not even accorded a time to say my goodbyes or do a proper handover after 34 years of national service.”

Above is a heart-piercing account of Kgosi Sidiegeng Harrigan Kgamane, the sacked Bangwato regent king and a man behind the longest regency in the history of Botswana, having held for 34 years, the fort for Ian Khama since his days at the barracks. History, without a doubt will best remember Kgamane as a victim of circumstances who did not live to see and say his goodbyes to his people and his masters-the state and paramount Chief -Ian Khama. When the conflict between the president, Masisi and his predecessor, Ian Khama reached its crescendo, Kgamane, by virtue of his position, was in the crossfire, caught between two masters, all of whom he had served diligently.

By his grace, an opportunity presented itself that all affected parties, expect Khama, were under the same roof in Serowe. Kgamane says he then decided to seize the opportunity to make desperate appeal to all to spare him for he was not born a warrior but a servant. “I made that appeal thinking all have ears. I said to all-please protect me. My point of departure on that note was that ha di lwa digata marojana (it’s the grass that will suffer when two elephants fight). All did not listen. The bickering continued and I was torn between the two authorities pulling apart. The pressure was too much to bear, I felt weak in mind and body. I felt helpless,” he says.

Kgamane says when this all happened, all parts of his life suffered, including his family. A father of four, three daughters and a son, his worry, he says was how his family was being affected by his situation given especially his advanced age. “Some of my children are government officers and they would be asked all sorts of questions by whoever thought could get a better explanation from them. I felt defeated and without options. I felt for my Morafe, he adds.

When the government moved to misdirect its wrath towards him as a mere messenger of the King, Kgamane says deep anguish enveloped him: “Upon realizing that I may not be able to keep up with the developments and their pace, I approached Kgosikgolo Khama for release to go and rest. It was on the 22 of April 2022. He agreed and upon requesting to serve a three months notice to government to do my goodbyes, I was to my shock, slapped with a dismissal letter.”

Kgamane says his heart nearly stopped pumping. “Nobody wants to leave like that, especially after my sacrifices and undivided service to the people. I felt betrayed and abused by my government given my long and dutiful service. I felt a deep anger and frustration because I don’t think I deserved that treatment. I felt disrespected fired in a manner in which I was when I had especially requested to bow out in peace. Of all the developments accompanying this case, my dismissal has hurt me the most and with a permanent scar. I did not even have time to say goodbye to my people, my paramount chief, the people of Botswana and my government,” he said.

Kgamane has vacated his house given to him by Bogosi and says he is now back to his roots, Shoshong where he comes from and where he was plunged from to the service of Bangwato. Interestingly, it appears like he does not own land or a house in Serowe despite his long stay at the village. “I have always stayed in a house provided to me by Bogosi. I did not have an idea to own residence in Serowe because I knew that I have a home in Shoshong to go back to once my term was over,” he explains.

On his state of mind amid everything that has occurred, Kgamane says: “I have counseled myself. Time heals everything. I will forgive but nobody in my situation will forget what my government has done to me. I do not think they did not understand my predicament. It was pure heartlessness and an insensitive act. I am deeply hurt and I won’t lie about it.” On the way forward, Kgamane says he is taking things slow but will be focusing on his farming hobby. “I have just drilled a borehole and will be pursuing irrigation system.”

He takes long to respond when asked about his legacy, a clear testimony that the end is not what he had anticipated. Finally he responds with a heavy sigh, “I will leave that for you to judge. If you ask me, I will say I have done my utmost to fulfill my duty. Like all men I am not a saint but I do not think my shortcomings should define me either, just as my successes. All I can say is that I did my part and did it with pride and a great sense of duty. How all has ended I believe should not be what defines my legacy.”

Given a chance to say his last messages to Khama as he could not according to his account, Kgamane says: “I am sorry my master for the turn of things. If you felt I did not measure up to anything, please pardon me. I am sorry that I did not handover the way I had wanted to. I am sorry that I leave the tribe in this state and I want to tell you that I remain available to serve in different capacities as may be seen fit by yourself in the future.”

To Morafe, he says: “Nobody anticipated and knew about this turbulence. Neither did I. If I have fallen short of your expectations please find it in your heart to pardon me. Like you, circumstances were beyond my control. I remain at your service should the need arise in the future. Remain united and at peace as you and I had hoped.” To the government? “I did not think it will end like this. I hope one day I will forgive those who did this to me. My heart bleeds for the way I was treated and fired like a dog after my service to this country. Everybody knows I did not deserve this kind of treatment.”

Once a chairperson of Ntlo Ya Dikgosi, which plays advisory role to government, Kgosi Kgamane says he dreams of a day Dikgosi will be respected and acknowledged for their role in nation building as it used to be the case. A somewhat devoted servant of the people with an abiding commitment to his people, the 73-year-old Kgamane’s national service stretches back to 1974 during his days as an employee of the Central District Council before his installment as a regent in 1988 aged only 39 year. He was asked to pack his bags, leave his home in Shoshong to assume the Bangwato chieftaincy which to date, has been subjected to regency since 1926 during Tshekedi Khama’s regency.

Like their father, Sir Seretse ‘s three sons Ian Khama (heir apparent) and his two twin brothers, Anthony Khama and Tshekedi Khama were still available to take up the seat, and also available were Seretse’s uncle, Kgosi Tshekedi Khama’s four sons who could be regents. In an interview this week, Khama described Kgamane as a loyal and obedient man who like many of his associates was sacrificed by the government to get back at him. “He is truthful and humble gentleman who has served with so much devotion to this country and Bangwato. I wish him well,” said Khama

As would be known, Kgamane’s departure has left a vacancy and tribe in destitution. Khama who is currently in South Africa does not hint much on taking over the seat but rather saying serving and submitting to the current vindictive regime will be like giving it legitimacy. “If resuming usurping full chieftainship duties means being on the regime’s payroll and reporting to such incompetents that would be like a teacher having to be taught by primary school kids,” he said.

Addressing Dikgosi this week, the Minister of Local government, Kgotla Autlwetse said Kgamane was dismissed following his repeated hosting of Kgotla meetings where the subject Ian Khama was discussed. “He rebelled over several warnings to cease doing so hence a decision for his dismissal. He said Kgamane will be given all his dues by the government. On whether sacrificing Kgamane will pave way for peace or set anybody free as is common occurrence with many sacrifices remains a mystery which can only be explained by the future.

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