Thursday, June 13, 2024

BBS in phone-tapping controversy

An anonymous text message sent to the Botswana Building Society (BBS) Managing Director Pius Molefe is at the centre of a cell phone-tapping row between the bank and its Credit Risk and Underwriting Manager Viola Mosweu.


Court documents in possession of Sunday Standard show that following the discovery of the text message, Molefe and his executive team assigned a private investigator to investigate “a matter that is subject of the text message sent to Managing Director on 7th November 20125 to determine the author thereof and his or her associates.”


 Fraud Investigations Consultancy (FIC) (PTY) Ltd was also mandated to produce an interim report and submit it to BBS at the end of the investigations.


The report compiled for BBS by FIC (PTY) LTD states that the author of or authors sent a text message which indicates some grievances against Head of Operations Susan Ntsima for fraud, being rude to her subordinates and being corrupt. The authors or author also “threatened Molefe of misusing the society’s funds on lavish Exco parties.” 


The authors further warned that if the Managing Director does not take action within a period of 30 days, they would report their allegations to Bank of Botswana, Botswana Law Society, the media and shareholders.


The FIC (PTY) LTD report states that during its investigations the company discovered that Mosweu interfered with their investigations by confronting and intimidating some of the witnesses who were interviewed.


The investigator recommended that BBS should consider laying charges against Mosweu for violation of the society’s policies or procedures and wilful disclosure of confidential information. The investigator accused her of sharing information with people outside the society such as her husband and her sister contrary to the society’s code of conduct.


Mosweu has since approached the High Court challenging BBS’s decision to engage a private investigator to probe the origin of the text message and its author adding that the investigations also violated her privacy.


Through her lawyers, Kambai Attorneys, Mosweu seeks an order declaring that Fraud Investigations Consultancy (FIC) (PTY) Ltd or its Managing Director Bongani Milton Baepi is not licensed by any law to conduct private criminal investigations in Botswana hence the report by FIC is unlawful and must be set aside.


She also seeks an order declaring that Milton on behalf of FIC breached the Communications Regulatory Authority Act during the course of his investigations and findings.


It emerged in the report compiled by FIC that Mosweu told other employees that she was requested to handover her cell phone to the investigator as part of the investigations.


According to the report, Mosweu was also asked for her EMI phone code by the investigator who was assigned by BBS.   In the interest of the criminal investigation, EMI can be used for listening devices.


Hence, Mosweu further seeks an order that FIC (PTY) Ltd violated her right to privacy by confiscating her phone against her will.


She also wants an order directing that BBS had no power to conduct internal investigation by proxy in the form of FIC (PTY) Ltd.


She states that the report prepared by FIC (PTY) Ltd on behalf BBS is illegal and that the company has no right or authority to call themselves private investigator or conduct criminal investigations in a private capacity.


Read this week's paper