For the third time in two years, the United States Department of State has highlighted that Directorate of Intelligence and Security Services Director General Isaac Kgosi has not been prosecuted despite reports linking him to corruption.
In its Investment Climate Statement for Botswana released earlier this month, the report states that, “High level officials have been prosecuted. Allegations that the Director of Intelligence and Security Services (Isaac Kgosi) escaped corruption charges because of his personal connections have circulated widely in Botswana media since 2014.”
This is the third time the US department of state has been harping on the Isaac Kgosi corruption case. In its Human Rights Report released in April 2016, the United States government observed that: “The press continued to publish information leaked from a Directorate on Corruption and Economic Crime (DCEC) investigation of DIS Director Isaac Kgosi, a story first reported in July 2014. The documents allegedly demonstrated substantive links to corruption and money laundering. At year’s end Kgosi retained his position, and the DCEC had not initiated any action against him.”
In another Human Rights report, released last year, the US Department of State noted that “In July several newspapers published information leaked from a DCEC investigation of DIS Director Isaac Kgosi. The documents allegedly demonstrated substantive links to corruption and money laundering. At year’s end Kgosi retained his position, and the DCEC had not initiated any actions against him. Local newspapers continued to publish reports on Kgosi’s finances.”
In the Botswana Human Rights Report released in April 2016, the US State Department further linked the arrest of Sunday Standard Editor, Outsa Mokone to a series of Investigative reports on alleged corruption at the DIS.
“Observers noted the use of the penal code’s sedition clause for a newspaper article was unprecedented and further noted the Sunday Standard had recently published several articles exposing corruption allegations within the DIS. The case continued at year’s end,” states the report.
The 2016 US Investment Climate Statement also highlighted growing levels of corruption in Botswana. “…private sector representatives now note rising corruption levels in government tender procurements.” The report however noted that “Corruption in Botswana remains less pervasive than in other parts of Africa; nevertheless, foreign and national companies have commented on increasing tender-related corruption.”
The report also noted that, “The Directorate of Public Prosecutions applied for a withdrawal of corruption charges against Minister of Investment, Trade and Industry Vincent Seretse in March 2015 citing the grounds that key witnesses were unavailable.”
The reports states that the charges stemmed from alleged tender manipulation in 2008 when he was CEO of State-owned enterprises (SOE) Botswana Telecommunication Company.
The US Department of States stopped short of bashing the appointments of those heading Botswana’s revered institutions saying “The major corruption investigation body is the Directorate on Corruption and Economic Crimes (DCEC), which is led by Director Rose Seretse, a cousin of President Ian Khama.”
Also falling short of casting aspersions on the DCEC’s activism on tackling corruption risks, the report added that “Anecdotal reports on the DCEC’s effectiveness vary.”
However, the report noted that the DCEC has embarked on an education campaign to raise public awareness about the cost of corruption and is also working with Government departments to reform their accountability procedures.
The report says that some State-owned enterprises are not performing well and have been embroiled in scandals involving alleged fraud and mismanagement.
“One former CEO and several employees of the BTC were indicted on corruption charges in 2012. In 2013, the Parliamentary Committee investigated allegations of corruption and mismanagement at the Botswana Meat Commission,” says the report.
On other related issues, the report further observed that foreign and local business managers noted increasing difficulty obtaining work permits for foreign skilled workers and managers in 2015. They assess this, combined with local skills deficits and constrained labour productivity, to be the foremost business constraints in Botswana, the report says.