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Law enforcement agencies launched five simultaneous search and seizer raids in different parts of Gaborone Friday morning as part of a campaign to break the nexus of corruption between political and business elites and to stem the channeling of illicit money flows.
The raid targeted six businessmen with links to former President Lt Gen Ian Khama and former Directorate of Intelligence and Security Services (DIS) Director General Isaac Kgosi who made a fortune during Khama’s presidency.
The financial relationship between Kgosi, Khama and the investors has been the subject of public speculation, but difficult to validate although it is believed to have offered the “protected” businessmen preferential access to contracts and impunity from the legal system.
The DIS, the Directorate on Corruption and Economic Crime (DCEC), Botswana Unified Revenue Services (BURS) and Botswana Police Service (BPS) will this week start trawling through piles of documents and computer data seized during the raid.
Among the businessmen raided was Tshepo Sebina.
Sebina and his elder brother Kegone are Botswana’s foremost indigenous construction moguls who bagged billions of pula worth of construction contracts during the ten years of President Ian Khama’s tenure.
The brothers are personal friends to Isaac kgosi.
Tshepo Sebina made headlines recently when he bought Asphalt a leading tarmac construction company.
Asphalt was part owned by state owned Botswana Development Corporation (BDC).
Competitors cried foul that Tshepo Sebina was favored and got Asphalt in a bargain basement deal that smacked of self-dealing.
On Friday the offices of his flagship business, Tshepo Tiles Products were raided and investigators made away expected to shed more light on the behind the scenes goings on in Botswana’s corrupt construction industry.
“We are aware that money was shared back to back. What we needed to establish was how contracts and tenders have been wrongfully won, to start with,” said a senior investigator who was involved in the coordination of the multiple raids. The investigators are hoping to make a breakthrough in their investigations of alleged collusion by big construction companies with links to political power. The team is also investigating Sebina or his companies’ properties in Dubai and Mauritius.
“We believe we have in our hands a strange way in which Government money was shared among these people.”
Also targeted in the raid was Teezzarh Seduke, a close associate of Isaac Kgosi whose companies won hundreds of millions Pula worth of tenders from the DIS under Kgosi.
The Sunday Standard has established that the investigating team is also gunning for Shaduff Baaitse who at the time of the raid was said to be outside the country.
Baaitse owns prevailing Security Company, among a suite of entities that also include construction companies. His security company owns a fleet of aircraft some of which he has been lending to former President Khama for private travels. Baaitse is Khama’s fixer in chief and some of Baaitse’s assets are believed to be held on behalf of Khama.
“We are not sure where he [Baaitse] is. Our information is that he might be in Dubai. And if that is true we are really worried what he is up to because Dubai seems to be a place favored by most of the people we are looking at. Any attempt to move money, shift or change ownership will if found attract strong reaction from our side,” said the investigator.
The team also raided Corporate Services a company owned by one John Little which provides secretarial services to companies owned by Khama and Kgosi and a number of businesses currently under investigation by the DCEC, DIS and BURS.
The team seized a computer and a sheaf of documents from Corporate Services.
Another close Isaac Kgosi associate who was raided was a DIS operative Wilhelmina Maswabi codenamed “Butterfly.”
Maswabi was Kgosi’s trusted sidekick while he was DIS Director General and some of her companies were among preferred suppliers of the DIS.
“We have checked and found that some of these companies are not duly registered with Registrar of Companies. This discrepancy is of immense interest to us,” said the investigator.
The source further stated that the whole government construction procurement system had been rigged and suppliers with links to powerful political interests were awarded lucrative contracts with no tangible results.
He cited the example of Bash Carriers which was also raided Friday morning. The company was given a P 400 million contract under the Economic Stimulus package
For a bituminous road project between Tshesebe village and Masunga through Mosojane which they abandoned before it was completed.
The Tshesebe- Masunga ESP -funded project which was signed on the 6th of April 2017 crumbled way before it could be completed. Bash Carriers Pty Ltd is a 100 percent citizen owned contractor and the company pocketed a sum of BWP 430,047,693.11 but could not even complete 50 percent of the constructions of the road, which has a number of bridges.
Talking to Sunday Standard on condition of anonymity, the source also revealed that three pistols and seven rifles were seized from Isaac Kgosi’s house in Phakalane, Gaborone.
Kgosi is the former head of intelligence services, DIS, and presumed ringleader of the alleged “racket.”
In addition to guns, documents were also seized.
Investigators are departing from a premise that both of the Sebina brothers are Kgosi’s close associates.