High ranking members of the ruling Botswana Democratic Party are reported to be revolting against President Ian Khama’s plan to assign Business Botswana to conduct a commission of inquiry of alleged widespread corruption especially in the construction industry. Khama is reported to be determined to free the country’s construction industry from the grip of a powerful cartel involving cabinet ministers, consulting engineers and construction companies and has already assigned Business Botswana President, Lekwalo Mosienyane to do a preliminary survey on the depth of Botswana’s corruption. Sunday Standard can reveal that Mosienyane has already met a number of key stakeholders to discuss the planned inquiry.
Investigations have turned up information that Mosienyane met the Directorate on Corruption and Economic Crime (DCEC) high command at the DCEC head office on 29th May and then proceeded to meet construction industry representatives on June 15th before meeting the Competition Authority leadership on June 20th. It is understood that Khama has given in to suggestions from the country’s private sector to institute a commission of inquiry into allegations of corruption before he leaves office next year. It is understood that the findings of the survey conducted by Business Botswana will be used by Khama to decide on whether to go ahead with the inquiry or not. Sources close to the BDP are however reported to be uncomfortable with Khama’s planed anti corruption crusade because the fear it may divide the party ahead of the crucial 2019 general elections. “The commission will open up a can of warns and most BDP big shots may be implicated”.
Chairman of construction sector Martin Mogomela told Sunday Standard that Business Botswana has long advocated for a commission of inquiry “because the level of corruption has gone from bad to worse.” He explained that there are certain companies that have won tenders under dubious circumstances and that needs to be probed. Robert Akanyang, chairman of Institute of Botswana Quantity Surveyors shared Mogomela’s sentiments. “If we were to have our own way, we would appeal that such commission be established as soon as yesterday because this should be treated as a matter of urgency,” he said. He added that “Enough is enough, we have to grab the bull by its horns and those people who either acted corruptly or otherwise should face the music.”
BDP Secretary General Mpho Balopi welcomed the idea of a commission of inquiry saying his party advocates zero corruption. “BDP is committed to a corrupt free society and it will do its best to achieve that,” he said. When contacted for comment, Business Botswana President Lekwalo Mosienyana stated that “I am not at liberty to share with the media anything because I have been assigned by the President to conduct a survey on something along those lines therefore you may contact the office of the president.” When asked if the outcome of the survey will be for public consumption he replied that “I do not know whether it will be for public consumption or classified as that will be the President prerogative.”
Former DCEC director Timor Katlholo has rubbished the idea saying it will be a waste time and money. “There is no need to have a commission of inquiry as that will be too costly. We already have law enforcement agencies that can fight corruption,” he said adding that the only thing that this country needs is to “improve, tighten and implement the structures that are already in place. Capacitate all law enforcement agencies that are assigned to fight corruption, more importantly there should be separation of powers.”