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While President Mokgweetsi Masisi has denied involvement or deriving any benefits from the National Petroleum Fund (NPF) embezzlement he could have, unbeknownst to him, benefited from the fund.
This was implied by the Minister for Presidential Affairs, Governance, and Public Administration Nonofho Molefhi when responding to Leader of Opposition (LOO) Duma Boko’s ‘Motion of No Confidence’ last week.
While he insisted Masisi did not have anything to do with the money, Molefhi admitted to the possibility that the President may have benefited indirectly from the Fund. “The President had nothing to do with the NPF embezzlement,” Molefhi said, “If there was anyone who could have presented the President with some kind of a gift , that person would not have divulged that the source of such a gesture was the National Petroleum Fund.” Molefhi said whoever gave Masisi a gift he would have done that of their own volition, from their own sources through which they gathered the “funds” and as such there is nothing that says the President cannot be seen to be fighting corruption.
“He has already made a pronouncement, that whoever is found to be involved in corrupt practices, be it a minister or permanent secretary, they are not under his protection.”
Masisi was quoted in the media recently as having distanced himself from the NPF saga. “People are talking of money being stolen. If the money was taken, it will be found and we should not make it an issue. I did not benefit any P3 million as it has been claimed. They can do their investigations and my name will come out clean,” he said.
The lawyer representing Bakang Seretse, Botho Leburu and Kenneth Kerekang who are facing charges of money laundering in relation to the P250 million taken from the NPF, Kgosi Ngakaagae, had said Masisi had benefited P3 million from the fund.
In his motion Boko accused Masisi of being directly implicated in the embezzlement of funds from the NPF. He said the President had, since he assumed office, failed to either explain his role or exonerate himself and take measures to reassure the nation of his noninvolvement in the impropriety surrounding the NPF and ensure that all the funds are fully accounted for. “The President has engaged in the most hysterical and unconscionable hypocrisy and lack of integrity in that he has in this same House, during his tenure as Vice President, championed exactly the same policies and practices that he now seeks to distance himself from and to present himself as some, God sent and change maker,” Boko added. “Government has suffered immensely and debated, even into the early hours, passing pieces of legislation that he now condemns and seeks to undo.” The motion was however shot down by Parliament following debate.