Katlholo accuses Attorney General of sanctioning ‘rogue’ DIS
The Director General of the Directorate on Corruption and Economic Crime (DCEC) Tymon Katlholo has accused Attorney General Abraham Keetshabe of abandoning his mandate and in the process adding the Directorate of Intelligence and Security (DIS).
In a fresh replying affidavit to DIS officer Jet Mafute’s affidavit, Katholo states that, “The AG (Attorney General) has abandoned the functions of his office and where that is the clear case, I am well within my rights in terms of the DCEC Act to ensure that the organization continues to operate without outside influence.”
Katlholo makes the accusations in the case in which he had approached the High Court to bar the Directorate of Intelligence Services (DIS) from accessing some of his agency’s highly classified files.
Judgement in the matter is yet to be delivered.
Confirming that he spoke with Keetshabe requesting him to intervene in the war of words between DCEC and DIS, Katlholo stated that, “I must express my shock at the fact that the AG claimed ignorance over a national development such as this and did not believe me or appeared not to believe me as the person directly affected and sought to verify the allegations.”
He said he also could not understand the basis for the expectation by the Attorney General that the Directorate of Public Prosecution (DPP) would have to inform him of the investigations undertaken in relation to my office. “The DPP does not deal with any investigations and this should be known to and by the AG,” said Katholo.
He said a day and later after the sealing and barricading of the DCEC office, the AG claims not to be privy to the developments, and had not taken the initiative to contact either the DG DISS or on his own interest, the DPP whom he had an expectation from to be briefed. “The AG only called the DPP following my follow up call. Even then, the AG did not get back to me upon his failure to speak with the DPP,” said Katlholo.
He said he did raise with the AG his concerns and fears of his arrest on arrival. From Rwanda. He said subsequent event relating to the questioning of the DCEC officers as “to my whereabouts on 9 May 2022 and confiscation of their cellphones is clear testimony of the DISS intention to arrest me upon my arrival.” Katlholo said it seems the arrest was not carried out because of the matter that was already pending before court and their lack of information as to his itinerary.
“Even as at the 5th May 2022, two days after the office was sealed, the AG still had no information, and had no desire and made absolute no effort to obtain information on the circumstances of the sealing and barricading of the DCEC office,” he said. Katlholo said there was nothing urgent nor of importance which compelled the AG to act.
“To him, and in his mind, things were normal and going according to plan or expectation. By not acting, the AG has elected to sanction the conduct of the DISS and or has failed to prevail over them to comply with the law. It is reasonable to aver that the AG has elected to side with DISS over its intrusion on the DCEC mandate,” said Katholo. He said the AG is enjoined to act in the interest of the organization and the larger public interest.
“The conduct of the AG, in undermining the mandate of the DCEC as he has, with the aid of the DISS is not only unprecedented but has the potential to throw the country into a constitutional crisis and feed into the public narrative that DISS is a rogue institution which is above the law,” said Katholo. The AG as a protector of the constitution has in fact failed to protect it and has abandoned his oath of office.
According to Katlholo, Keetshabe “has placed monetary value over constitutional principles.” He said, where the protection of the constitution and the safeguarding of its imperatives necessitates a cost to the fiscus, however small and temporary, the “AG is essentially saying that the inconveniences of a financial costs must be avoided over a constitutional crisis and the nation abandon its values.”
“The defenders of the constitution have now become the greatest violators of it. The AG doesn’t disclose what advise he rendered, either to me nor the DISS as to how best to avoid the situation where two institutions or organisations of the state are seemingly at loggerheads. The best way to discern from this conduct is that one organisation must prevail over the other and coerce it into submission,” said Katlholo.
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Letshegoâ€™s head of transformation, Molebogeng Malomo highlighted that working through agile methodologies, the partnership was able to develop and be released as what they call a Minimum Viable Product (MVP) or solution. â€śIn keeping up with the spirit of design thinking and agile methodologies, the experiences and viewpoints of both Letshego Botswana and Mascomâ€™s customers will be valuable to inform further enhancements to the Mascom MyZaka solution,â€ť he said.
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Mascomâ€™s Chief Executive Officer, Dzene Makhwade-Seboni also alluded that their origins, priorities and initiatives are firmly rooted in Botswana and in the success of all Batswana, and that their strategy and intent is supported by embracing innovative problem-solving.
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DCEC granted warrant to arrest Khama twins
The Directorate on Corruption and Economic Crime (DCEC) has been granted permission to apprehend the former Minister of Environment, Wildlife and Tourism, Tshekedi Khama, and his twin brother Anthony Khama.
Information gathered by this publication suggests that the DCEC is actively searching for the Khama brothers, this is in connection with events that transpired whilst Tshekedi was Minister of Environment. The duo is currently in exile in South Africa together with their elder brother, and former President Lt Gen Ian Khama.
Approximately two weeks ago, the corruption-busting agency discreetly filed for an arrest warrant that was approved by the Broadhurst Magistrate Court for the two to be taken into custody, according to a highly placed source within the government enclave.
DCEC is also said to have filed an affidavit signed by a high-ranking officer known to this publication. Reports indicate that after being presented with details of the case, the Broadhurst magistrate issued the agency an arrest warrant.
It is also believed that the agency has been conducting extensive investigations into the supposed suspects for quite some time. Furthermore, Weekend Post has it on good word that the DCEC has been looking for methods to summon the two for questioning but has been unsuccessful.
According to unconfirmed reports, DCEC met with attorney Victor Ramalepa, who refused to accept the summons, saying that he is not their attorney. Furthermore, it is believed that DCEC has enlisted the assistance of the Botswana Police Service (BPS) in flagging the suspects’ names in the International Criminal Police Organisation INTERPOL.
Responding toÂ WeekendPostÂ enquiries, DCEC spokesperson Lentswe Motshoganetsi said, â€śI am not in good position to confirm or deny the allegation,â€ť adding that such allegations may fall within the operational purview of the DCEC.
When contacted for comment, Ramalepa briefly stated that he is unaware of the purported arrest warrant. â€śI know nothing about the warrant and I havenâ€™t been served with anything,â€ť he said.
Meanwhile, former president Lt Gen Ian Khama recently issued a statement stating that DIS is intensifying the harassment and intimidation of him, family, friends and office employees.
â€śIt is reprehensible for state officials and agencies to abuse government resources to terrorise their own citizens for personal gain,â€ť said the former president in a statement.
He also stated that his brother TKâ€™s staff and security were ordered to falsely implicate him. â€śTheir desperate tactics will never work, it only serves to motivate me more to pursue regime change and free Botswana from tyranny,â€ť he said
This comes after the corruption busting agency wants to interview the alleged suspects as they are still hiding in South Africa since last year.
Despite the hostility between government and Khama family going unabated, last month, Masisi extended an olive branch to Khama in political rally, indicating that he hopes the two of them settle their differences, of which the former responded by welcoming the gesture.
Khama further said his brother, Tshekedi, will facilitate the reconciliation of his behalf. Many have indicated that Masisi did not say what he said in good faith, and was only scoring political brownies since he was in Khamaâ€™s territory in Shoshong.
DCECâ€™s Tshepo Pilane still has his mojo
Tshepo Pilane silenced his critics after being named the head of the Directorate on Corruption and Economic Crime (DCEC) in May of last year and served his opponents humble pie. Many believed he would only last for a month, but almost a year later, he is still standing.
Pilane, a trained soldier whose appointment surprised both the general public and some officers within the DCEC walls, has never glanced back in his duty to steer the DCEC ship forward.
It is alleged that immediately after his appointment the man embarked on a nation-wide trip touring the DCEC offices across the country in order to confirm and reaffirm the DCECâ€™s mandate. Sources from inside the DCEC claim that Pilane won the hearts of many DCEC employees due to his humility and plain message; â€śpeople at the top of the DCEC will come and go but the mandate of the DCEC remains relevant and unchanged.â€ť
Pilane was appointed the Acting DCEC Director General at a time when the organisation was undergoing turbulence through court proceedings in which the suspended Director General Tymon Katlholo had interdicted the Directorate of Intelligence and Security (DIS) from accessing the DCEC premises. At the time, the DIS had raided the DCEC offices in the absence of Katlholo claiming to be looking for high profile corruption cases allegedly held by Katlholo.
At the time Pilane was Head of the DCEC Intelligence Division holding the position of Senior Assistant Director General reporting directly to the Deputy Director General Operations Ms Priscilla Israel. Contrary to his detractors, Pilane who is a reserved and humble person by nature won the support and backing of many DCEC officers due to his unassuming nature.
In a recent questionnaire sent to the DCEC regarding Pilaneâ€™s term in office, the DCEC was resolute on its commitment towards the fight against corruption. When quizzed on allegations of rife corruption since he took over, Pilane through his Public Relations (PR) office stated that the corruption landscape in Botswana remains unchanged as the DCEC continues to receive reports on allegations of corruption with sectors such as procurement (tenders and supplies), Transport (licensing and certificates), and land (dubious allocation and collusion) still leading issues reported. This trend has been consistence in the DCEC database for more than 10 years.
When further quizzed on accusations that suggest that due to the infighting at the agency, particularly at the top management, Investigations of cases has dropped significantly the DCEC claimed ignorance to the matter, stating that they are not aware of any â€śinfightsâ€ť at the DCEC â€śat the top managementâ€ť, further stating that, investigations of cases has increased significantly, contrary to the allegations raised. â€śThe DCEC is currently seeking new ways of expediting the investigations in order to fast track its enforcement role,â€ť said the DCEC Head of Public Relations Lentswe Motshoganetsi. He further stated that the DCEC is in pursuit of high profile cases involving money and assets valued over P900 million. Three companies are involved in the scandal and two cases have already been committed to court while on one, investigations are about to be completed.
When WeekendPost inquired about Pilaneâ€™s roadmap, the DCEC stated that in the past, anti-corruption interventions were reactive, particularly in dealing with national projects that involve large sums of money. It was further started that in most instances investigating such matters takes a long time and in most instances, the money looted form Government in never recovered. As a result, the DCEC has taken a deliberate stance to attach its officers from the Corruption Prevention Division to be part of the implementation of these projects before, during, and after implementation.
The DCEC cited the Economic Stimulus Programme which, although meant to grow the economy and uplift Batswana from poverty, yielded incidents of corruption and poor workmanship. To date, the DCEC is still grappling with cases as some projects were not done, or were completed with defects beyond repair. Currently the DCEC is involved at the Ministry of Education conducting project risk management in the Multiple Path Ways Program at Moeng College and Maun Senior School. This intervention will spread to other sectors of the economy as part of the DCECâ€™s corruption prevention strategy.
Of recent, the DCEC has been in the media for all the wrong reasons following leakage of high profile cases and allegations claiming that the executive management is at war with each other more particularly with some within the agency harbouring ambitions to dethrone Pilane from the Directorship.
Although the infighting was denied by Pilaneâ€™s Office, he acknowledged that leakage of information is a problem across Government and stated that it is a pain at the DCEC. He however stated that Staff has been cautioned against leakage of investigation information and that they have roped in the Botswana Police to assist in investigating incidents of leakage. He further stated that they have increased continuous vetting and lifestyle audits for DCEC employees in order to enforce discipline.
Pilaneâ€™s term comes to an end in May 2023 after serving the DCEC for a year on acting basis. It will be in the public interest to see who will be given the baton to continue the anti-corruption journey if Pilaneâ€™s contract is not renewed. The DCEC has seen arrival and departure of Director Generals having alternated the top seat five times in less than seven years.