Friday, August 12, 2022

BDP blocks probe into DIS, OP abuse of funds

Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) MPs have managed to stop investigations into possible abuse of public funds by the Office of the President and the Directorate of Intelligence and Security Services (DIS) ÔÇô for now.

The Majority BDP MPs this week forced parliament to suspend debate on the adoption of the Public Accounts Committee report which recommended an investigation into how P26 million, which was siphoned off the National Disaster Relief Fund to the Directorate of Intelligence Service, was used saying it has come to the conclusion that, “there must have been some element of abuse of funds”.

The PAC has found among others that money from the disaster fund was taken without authority for the establishment of the Directorate on Intelligence and Security Services (DIS).

Guma Moyo, chairperson of the committee told parliament that in view of the fact that no documents were availed to show the expenditure by DIS his committee had concluded that DIS might have misappropriated government e funds.

At its caucus meeting on Monday the ruling Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) MPs took a decision to reject the PAC report.

After Moyo presented the report before parliament, Gaborone South MP Kagiso Molatlhegi, shot down the report and called for parliament to reject it claiming that it is badly drafted and its details were wanting.

He said that when put against past reports; the PAC report tabled by Moyo does not include details about other ministry’s expenditure but only concentrated on the ministry of the state presidency.
“I ask this house to rally behind me in rejecting this report because it lacks detail, before you tabled this report it was already in the Newspapers,” queried Molatlhegi
Molatlhegi said that the committee had proved to be ‘lazy’ because it sat for six weeks and came up with a document reflecting expenditure by just one ministry.

Molatlhgi accused the committee members of leaking the report to the press for political motives.

He further went on to state that he wondered how much government was going to pump into the disaster fund adding that it was time government came up with a target amount specifically for the disaster fund.

Taking the flow after Molatlhegi, Lobatse MP and member of PAC Nehemiah Modubule dismissed Molatlhegi and said that he was confused because he is a new comer to parliament.

Modubule said that from his understanding the report is about creating tight control measures
“DIS is not part of the national disaster fund project, clear procedure should have been followed, “said Modublue.

He said that it was also disturbing that money obtained from Botswana Defence Force (BDF) was also disbursed to DIS.

Several MPs queried why the report had to be presented in instalments stating that they were prepared to debate the report if it had all the details which Moyo had said would be proved later. In the end perhaps bowing to the pressure from the BDP MPs, Modubule moved for the motion to be adjourned. However speculation is rife that when parliament enters its next session in November, the current committee will be dissolved and be replaced with a new committee that will stop investigations against DIS and the Office of the President.

The deputy speaker who was presiding over the debate, Pono Moatlhodi, had a hard time trying to control the house as one speaker after another stood to seek clarification or quibble about the procedure. Time and again Moatlhodi appealed for calm and order.

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