Wednesday, October 20, 2021

All eyes on Masisi as Kgosi calls his bluff

The prosecution of axed Directorate of Intelligence and Security Services (DIS) Director General, Isaac Kgosi looms large as one of President Mokgweetsi Masisi’s biggest challenge in a number of international country risk analyses report on Botswana.

Four leading global information companies that provide investment advice to multinational companies have highlighted Kgosi’s corruption case as a major index on Botswana’s political and economic risk profile.

IHS Markit, a global information provider based in London, United Kingdom which helps investors and capital markets to reduce risk and improve operational efficiency suggests that the successful prosecution of former DIS boss and other corrupt civil servants would boost Botswana’s appeal to foreign direct investment.

In their recent report: “New President for Botswana – Economics & Country Risk”, IHS Markit states that the “successful prosecutions of public officials involved in corruption” would improve Botswana’s risk profile. The report singles out Kgosi: “leading BDP members such as intelligence chief, Isaac Kgosi are alleged to be linked with corruption scandals, such as the ongoing money-laundering scandal involving an Israeli company, which Kgosi denies.”

Another country risk assessment group, the PRS group which provides, quant-driven political and country risk analyses and forecasting to clients which includes central banks, multilateral organizations, transnational firms, and leading academics has warned that the “transfer of the presidency from Ian Khama to his vice president, Mokgweetsi Masisi, will provide the latter with 18 months to settle into the top job before leading the incumbent BDP into the next general election campaign in October 2019. However, he will inherit a financial scandal involving possible money-laundering and diversion of funds by a company contracted to provide investment services to the NPF, Botswana’s sovereign wealth fund.”Kgosi and the DIS have been implicated in the scandal.

The Isaac Kgosi challenge to the Botswana country risk profile highlighted by IHS Markit has also been reproduced by the Jane’s Information Group under its IHS open source intelligence information which is often used by investors before deciding on which country to invest in.

A fourth risk assessment body has also called on Masisi to take action against Kgosi and the DIS.The Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU) a British business within the Economist Group providing forecasting and advisory services through research and analysis, such as monthly country reports, five-year country economic forecasts, country risk service reports, and industry reports has concluded that to mitigate Botswana’s risk, President Masisi “must tackle corruption and take on the intelligence service.” The report further states, “he must step in fast to stop the rot and put the DISS back in its box,” says a prominent businessman in Gaborone. An assistant minister from the ruling Botswana Democratic Party (BDP), which has run the show without a break since independence, fears there will be trouble if corruption persists. The opposition and the country’s independent newspapers are calling for Mr Kgosi to be sacked as an early signal of good intent.”

Although the Isaac Kgosi alleged corruption scandal has just emerged as an index on Botswana’s country risk it has been a regular feature of the United States Government country report on Botswana for years.

Kgosi has however dared the Masisi administration to prosecute him. In an explicit threat, Kgosi warned that he would “embarrass the new regime should they move to charge him, suggesting that he has dirt on the leadership of Masisi’s government.

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