Monday, January 18, 2021

Big-spending DIS expends P200 million, wants P72 million more

The Directorate on Intelligence and Security (DIS) on Wednesday submitted before parliament’s Public Accounts Committee (PAC) that it has spent its P200 million development budget and requests P72 million in supplementary budget.

The DIS accounting officer also made a submission before the PAC members that the intelligence unit has accommodation shortages and therefore needs more houses. The members of the PAC wondered why the head of DIS, Isaac Kgosi, would want more houses when he cannot reveal the number of houses owned by his organisation.

“All the money allocated to you is expended to the dot?” asked a baffled chairperson of the PAC Nehemiah Modubule to which the DIS accounting officer, Isaac Kgosi, replied yes.

Members of the PAC asked Kgosi why he would not disclose the number of houses owned by the DIS but were told that it was a matter of national security.

Legislator Fidelis Molao wondered how the number of houses owned by the DIS could pose a security threat to the country. “You may take it easily,” Kgosi replied. “To us it is classified information. They [enemies of state security] will know how many personnel you have by disclosing the number of houses”.

“You talk about accommodation shortages. How do we help you when we don’t know the number of houses you have?” Modubule asked to which Kgosi replied that the DIS can take the PAC in confidence to explain.

Legislator Moiseraele Goya asked the DIS Director whether he was aware of a new security threat in the form of Satanism syndicates. Kgosi answered in the affirmative and startled members of the PAC when he disclosed that it was embarrassing sometimes to find out during their intelligence operations that some people who are involved are prominent members of society.

The DIS submitted that its P20 000 estimated revenue collection shot up to P101 000 which Kgosi attributed to an increased staff complement resulting in new telephone connections.

When asked by legislator PAC member Molao what the DIS was doing to have the confidence of the media, Kgosi said he has personally interacted with editors on two occasions to brief them off record about his organisation’s activities. “It is a briefing that is classified,” he said.

PAC member Kentse Rammidi advised Kgosi to create a public relations office to educate citizens on the operations of the DIS and to handle media enquiries to deal with negative perceptions that have marred the organisation. Kgosi agreed.

Rammidi told Kgosi that the public is worried about the influx and supply of hardcore drugs to youngsters in the country. He asked the DIS director if there is enough sensitization on the issue.

“There is never enough advice,” Kgosi said. “Kids give us information as to who are the drug pushers. The drug pushers are canny. The sentences meted out to punish drug pushers are not enough. Until parliament passes a law carrying heavy penalties we won’t succeed.” The DIS director said his organisation primarily works more towards identifying drug lords than users.

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