Botswana listed in North Korea UN sanctions busting report

01 Jul 2019

Botswana has been listed among countries that continue to  violate the United Nations (UN) Security Council Resolution and sanctions against North Korea, a new report by  the Institute for Sciences and International Security has revealed.

The report comes after Botswana has issued a denial that it continues to have business dealings with any Korean entity.

The report also accuses Botswana of allegedly being responsible for violating UN Security Council Resolutions with regards to North Korea in the area of business and financial-related violations.

This is not the first time Botswana has been accused of violating sanctions against North Korea. In 2017, a panel of UN experts investigated Botswana for violating sanctions imposed on North Korea. At the time Botswana was under investigations over questionable dealings with companies that are linked to the Republic Of North Korea running into millions of Pula. The UN at the time requested information from Botswana on Mansudae, the company that had won a contract to construct Botswana’s three Dikgosi Monument.

At the time, Foreign Affairs Ministry’s Permanent Secretary Gaeimelwe Goitsemang told Sunday Standard while they were aware of the report, they had not received a letter from UN requesting for information on North Korean companies. “No we have not received the communication.

“But we are awaiting communication from our office in New York as to whether that communication was delivered through them,” he said at the time. Goitsemang said Botswana was one the countries that recently terminated their diplomatic ties with North Korea based on what he called that country’s despicable acts. “...Therefore we cannot transact business with North Korea and we are also not aware of companies from that country which are transacting business in Botswana. Some of them did but that was before we cut diplomatic ties with that country,” he said. 

Efforts by Sunday Standard to get an update from Goitsemang on Friday hit a snag as he was reported to be part of senior government officials bidding farewell to Rwandan President Paul Kagame at the airport who was on a two day state visit to Botswana.

The Institute for Sciences and International Security report listed Botswana with 21 other states where several alleged business and financial-related violations occurred as joint ventures with DPRK actors.

“ The cases were spread across 21 states and territories, which are listed below: Algeria, Botswana, Cambodia, China, Côte d’Ivoire, Equatorial Guinea, Hong Kong, Laos, Lebanon, Malaysia, Malta, Mozambique, Namibia, Nigeria, Poland, Russia, Singapore, Uganda, United Arab Emirates, Vietnam, and Zambia,” the report states.”

This tabulation only considers formal joint business ventures, and not alleged military cooperation or procurement violations that may also have the characteristics of a joint venture, it says.

According to international media report, since 2006, the UN Security Council has issued no less than 9 sets of sanctions against the rogue Asian state, many of which were in reaction to Pyongyang’s controversial intercontinental ballistic missile tests

The report states that quantity of documented sanctions-evasion instances and concerning evidence gathered and noted by the UN Panel appear to be growing.

“The reasons for the increased number of sanctions cases, the report says, is the increased quantity of sectoral and commodity-specific sanctions on North Korea and the apparent lag in countries becoming informed and taking action to counter new or ongoing sanctions evasion efforts,” the report says.

Several alleged business and financial-related violations occurred as joint ventures with North Korea actors, the report says.

According to the report, “Concerning is how many states permitted the continued, unhindered operation of these joint ventures within their territorial jurisdictions.”

Additionally, the report noted, in some cases, the joint ventures were at times awarded public works contracts by the host government.