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The Directorate on Corruption and Economic Crime (DCEC) investigation into the misappropriation of pensioners’ funds featuring Permanent Secretary to the President Carter Morupisi has been scotched by a network of powerful renegade spies – Sunday Standard investigations have revealed.
The parallel Intelligence service has turned the heat on the nine person task team assigned to the investigation, forcing them to resign en masse. The task team has all but collapsed after four key members resigned because they feared for their lives. This followed an attempt on the life of the intelligence lead investigator (name withheld) and assassination plots against his colleagues by the shadow intelligence service allegedly working with some powerful DCEC insiders.
The task team has also withdrawn its informants from the operation because “the ground was getting too hot”, Sunday Standard investigations have revealed.
The crippling setback in the investigation which involved the Botswana Public Officers Pension Fund, BONA Life, Botswana Opportunity Partnership (BOP), Capital Management Botswana (CMB) and Permanent Secretary to the President, involving hundreds of millions of Pula suggests that the President Mokgweetsi Masisi administration is grappling with a powerful renegade intelligence service which has the support of some influential civil servants.
The DISS Connection
Although the DISS interest in the multi million pula scandal is still hazy, the Sunday Standard can reveal that CMB boss Tim Marshland and BONA life Managing Director Regina Vaka had a huge fall out after Vaka allegedly resisted Marshland’s plan to divert P250 million of the BPOPF funds towards procuring equipment for the DISS from Dignia Systems in Israeli.
It was after Vaka would not play ball that the DISS turned to the National Petroleum Fund, Khulaco (Pty) Ltd and Bakang Seretse to raise money for the procurement.
Shortly before former Directorate of Intelligence and Security Services Director General, Isaac Kgosi was forced to resign, the spy agency was believed to have gone rogue and feared to be plotting a black operation to foil the DCEC investigation into the pension fund scandal and Morupisi.
The Botswana Defence Force Military Intelligence (MI) and the Directorate on Corruption and Economic Crime (DCEC) were earlier this year forced to beef up security around cars impounded from Morupisi and Capital Management Botswana boss Rapula Okaile after the DISS allegedly tried to steal the eight vehicles.
Sunday Standard investigations turned up information that on the morning of 25 March 28 a black Honda sedan with no number plates at the back and a fake rear diplomatic number plate was stopped while trying to enter the Military Intelligence complex at Sir Seretse Khama barracks where the eight cars were parked. According to military intelligence sources, the car had four occupants, among them a DISS operative known in intelligence circles as “No Rest”. After the black operation was foiled, the quartet was able to escape capture in their black Honda sedan getaway car.
In another telling connection between the former DISS command and the pension fund fraud scandal, the DCEC task team received intelligence that the main culprits in pension scandal were planning to smuggle P 6 million from South Africa into Botswana through the Tlokweng border to help fortify their legal war chest. The highly confidential tip off was however leaked to the rogue intelligence service. When the DCEC task team arrived at Tlokweng border, the contraband loot had already entered Botswana. A task team informant who was at the scene (name withheld) told the DCEC that the DISS command was at the border to help the culprits smuggle the money into Botswana.
The DISS former boss was two months ago forced to resign by President Masisi and replaced by Brigadier Magosi. Indications, however are that the DISS black operation against the DECEC did not go away with Kgosi.
Sunday Standard investigations have joined the dots and a sinister outline has emerged: that although Kgosi was forced out of the DISS, he left behind a network of powerful friends in the civil service and a loyal cohort of foreign spies.
Among former President Lt Gen Ian Khama’s last strategic appointments was that of Bruno Paledi as Director General of the DCEC allegedly with the blessings of Kgosi then intelligence boss.
Kgosi, Morupisi and Paledi were partners in a failed plan last year; to conceal the DISS alleged diamond and ivory smuggling rogue operation. Speculations of an unholy trinity between Paledi, Kgosi and Morupisi were stoked by a recent decision by the DCEC to exempt Kgosi from prosecution in the ongoing case of money laundering involving Bakang Seretse and company. This is despite the fact that Seretse has divulged in his affidavit before court that the P250 million transfers to an Israeli company named Dignia Systems’ bank account were at the written instruction of the DISS chief.
High Court Judge Godfrey Radijeng also stated in his judgment in December that “the applicant averred that the P250 million disbursement to a Khulaco (Pty) Ltd account at Capital Bank was not approved by the NPF Management Committee, did not follow established procedure for disbursements, there was no tender for the project, and one Kenneth Kerekang alone purported to approve the request by the Directorate of Intelligence and Security (DIS) on same date (7th August 2017) the request was made by DIS.” Seretse’s lawyer, Kgosietsile Ngakaagae also has also raised questions on why Kgosi has not been prosecuted in the matter.
Besides the apparent protection from the DCEC boss, Kgosi is also believed to be enjoying the support of Israeli and Serbian spy sleeper cells in Botswana which the new DISS boss Peter Magosi has allegedly not been able to demobilize.
A local lawyer who was engaged as a convayencer by the former DISS director General for his controversial plot at Sentlhane farms told the DCEC that Kgosi informed him that he was buying the plot on behalf of the Israeli Secret Service which was planning to set up a sleeper cell in Botswana. The Sunday Standard paper trail has revealed that Serbian Israeli businessman and former Botswana honorary consulate in Israel Vladimir Cizeij made a SWIFT transfer of P687, 000 into the Collins Newman & Co trust account with Barclays Bank for the purchase of Sentlhane farm on 3rd August 2009. The paper however could not establish any link between Vladimir Cizeij and the Israeli Secret Service. Since then there has not been any trace of the Israeli Secret Service sleeper cell in Botswana until recently when some DCEC insiders revealed that Israeli and Serbian spy sleeper cells in Botswana were part of a plan to scupper their investigations around the pensioners’ money fraud scandal.
Sunday Standard has turned up information on how the foreign spies where secretly sneaked into the country by the former DISS command with the help of an immigration insider (known to this paper) who issued them permit before deleting all their details from the government system.
There are also fears that the renegade spy network might have a backdoor into the multi-billion Pula DISS surveillance complex. Information passed to the Sunday Standard reveal that most of the DISS equipment was not registered and the new administration is still conducting an audit to try and establish what equipment could be missing.
For sometime after taking over office, the new DISS boss, Brig Peter Magosi switched off the DISS interception system while investigating possibilities that the network may have a back door to conduct undetected espionage and that some of the equipment may be out there.
The new DISS boss is also reported to be weary of inheriting the P3 billion intelligence infrastructure installed by Kgosi whose relationship with Israeli and Serbian suppliers is personal.
Almost the whole of the DISS Information Technology system was installed by Vlatacom, a Serbian company whose owner Managing Director Vladimir Cizeij is believed to be a personal friend of Kgosi. Cizeij also has a personal interest in ensuring that Kgosi is not prosecuted as he would also be implicated.
The new DISS leadership has also not been able to demobilize the former Director General’s Special Operations cell which was the DISS dirty tricks department allegedly made up of a motley crew of thugs and shady characters who were assigned to do house break ins and other dirty jobs.
Sunday Standard can reveal that DCEC boss Bruno Paledi is aware of at least one attempt on the life of the intelligence leader in the task team that was investigating the alleged pension corruption.
The DCEC agent was allegedly the target of the renegade intelligence’s false flag operation which bore the hallmarks of an Israeli style assassination. The shadowy Intelligence Service ran a disinformation operation waving a “false flag” to mislead a disaffected husband into believing that his estranged wife who was part of the task team was having a secret affair with another member of the task team. The “scorned” husband was then given all the top secret operational information about the task team to enable him to carry out a “passion murder” against the man who was allegedly wreaking his marriage.
The plot was however foiled after the unwitting would be passion killer was arrested by the DISS under Brigadier Magosi.
Curiously the inadvertent passion killer had all the confidential operational information about the task force and profile pictures of their secret whatsup group.
Paledi decided to pull back the estranged wife from the task force after the incident. Three other members of the task team subsequently resigned because they feared for their lives. This has left the task team with members who are believed to be sympathetic to the PSP and former DISS boss.
The assassination attempt was not an isolated incident. A team of intelligence officers who were part of the nine person task team which was tasked to follow the pensioners money paper trail to Pretoria, Durban, Namibia and Mozambique was forced to change its itinerary and operational plan mid assignment after they received intelligence that their operational plan had been leaked to the parallel intelligence service and that a death order had been issued against them.
The team was also forced to call off its planned raid on Permanent Secretary to the President’s farm in Tswapong after it emerged that highly confidential details of the operation had been leaked.
Attempt to protect PSP
The decision by some members of the task team to call off their detail in the investigation also followed deep divisions and incessant fights with the DCEC high command over the investigation. The disaffected members of the task team felt that the DCEC command was protecting the Permanent Secretary to the President and possibly selling them out to the shadow intelligence service.
This was after the DCEC command stopped the team from summoning the PSP for an interview, a hand writing specimen to prove if his signature was the one in the possession of the task team documents and to warn and caution him about a possible charge of corruption.
The DCEC command is also reported to have frustrated some of the task teams planned raids on the PSP and his wife.