Friday, March 1, 2024

BPC subsidy money diverted to pay off DIS debt to NPF

Government has diverted P 100 million from the Botswana Power Corporation (BPC) subsidy to help finance the Directorate of Intelligence and Security Services (DIS) debt to the National Petroleum Fund.

The Minister of Mineral Resources, Green Technology and Energy Security, Eric Molale told journalists last November that government had recovered P114 million from the DIS, leaving a balance of P116 million.

“From the money that had gone out we have so far recovered P114 million, the other remaining is why we are going to the Courts. We want the court to help us recover the remaining P116 million. So we can only be hopeful that we shall succeed,” said Molale.

The Minister whose portfolio responsibilities cover both the NPF and the BPC however kept back the information that the DIS is broke and could not raise the P114 million, so he  cut back the BPC subsidy by P 100 million and diverted it to the NPF.

The decision to divert part of the BPC subsidy to the NPF came three months after the cash strapped DIS approached Parliament requesting for supplementary funds to strengthen its capabilities.

Former Deputy Permanent Secretary Mineral Resources, Green technology and Energy Security Dr Obolokile Obakeng had earlier written to former DIS Director Isaac Kgosi stating that “I would like to kindly request you [DIS] to pay back into the NPF the sum of P230 million, which was paid from the NPF into an account of some company called Khulaco on behalf of the Directorate of Intelligence and Security.”

Obakeng added in the same savingram that “I refer to my correspondence dated 23rd November 2017 for which there has been no response from your good office…   I also refer to a Cabinet meeting of the 7th of February.”  According to Obakeng’s savingram cabinet had instructed the DIS boss to return the money to NPF.

Replying Kgosi stated that “We were made to understand that the sum of P250 million NOT P230 million from NPF was deposited into the account of some company called Khulaco on behalf of DIS. It is at the instance of this that we require documentary proof indicating total amount released and deposited as well as payments made from the deposited lump sum,” says Kgosi before adding that “as for repayment of the money, consultation between the Ministry of Finance and the Directorate is on-going.”

Appearing before the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) recently, Kgosi said he can only account for P118 million from the P230 million that was transferred to his organisation from NPF.

DISS had requested the sum of P250 million for engineering structures of storage facilities and expansion of strategic fuel storage facilities. 

After being given access to the funds, Kgosi then wrote to the Director of Energy Affairs directing that an amount of P230 million be transferred to Khulaco Pty Ltd on behalf of DISS.

The DIS later diverted the funds towards the purchase of military grade equipment to be used in fighting poaching, human and drug trafficking which are a threat to the country’s economy. 

An amount of P118 million was paid to an Israel company Dignia Systems for the purchase of the equipment. These are the funds that Kgosi owned up to this week when he appeared before Parliament’s Public Accounts Committee (PAC). 

Kgosi could not be drawn to say what happened to the other funds or who should account for them.


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