The Botswana Financial Intelligence Agency (FIA) has frozen Avante Security Services bank accounts in Gaborone on suspicions that the company was used by South African businesswoman Bridgette Motsepe Radebe to launder money for Pelonomi Venson-Moitoi’s presidential campaign.
The probe into the movement of funds between Bridgette Motsepe Radebe and Venson-Moitoi’s campaign to oust President Mokgweetsi Masisi has snowballed into a money laundering and illicit funding investigation. This was after FIA turned up a number of suspicious transactions in excess of P10 million from Mmakau Mining (Pty) Ltd in South Africa to the account of Avante Security Services in Gaborone.
Bridgette Motsepe Radebe is the founder, Executive Chairperson and CEO of Mmakau Mining (Pty) Ltd.
FIA has so far tracked three transactions of five million Pula, two million Pula and four million Pula which were transfers from Mmakau Mining to Avante Security. The money was then immediately disbursed from the Avante Security bank account to accounts of a number of people linked to Venson-Moitoi’s campaign.
Sunday Standard investigations have turned up audio tape recordings of Bridgette Motsepe Radebe, his sidekick Malcolm X, Pelonomi Venson Moitoi’s son Kabelo Binns and an unidentified Afrikaner man strategizing on how to move the funds from Bridgette Motsepe to finance Venson-Moitoi’s campaign.
In one of the tapes, Bridgette Radebe stresses that, “we need to get it out this week. The money is ready.” The unidentified Afrikaner man then cautions that “we need to be very careful how we issue the money.” Among the strategies discussed was to channel the money through service providers.
Sunday Standard has turned up information that Botswana law enforcement agencies are also investigating African National Congress (ANC) struggle veteran and covert funding mule Paul Langa’s possible link to the movement of funds between Bridgette Motsepe Radebe and the Venson-Moitoi campaign team.
Langa’s company Zonkizizwe Investment Holdings which has operations in Botswana has in the past been used in ANC covert funding operations. The company was used to collect money from private donors and pass it on to the ANC War Room in a R 50 million covert campaign targeting opposition parties in South Africa’s 2016 local government elections. Langa was in Gaborone two weeks ago for a meeting with his Motswana business partner who is also being investigated by security agencies.
President Mokgweetsi Masisi was this week reported to be organising a meeting with his South African counterpart Cyril Ramaphosa in a bid to head off a possible diplomatic row as Botswana embarks on a money laundering and illicit financing investigations that may implicate a number of South African citizens among them Bridgette Motsepe Radebe.
Bridgette Motsepe Radebe enjoys diplomatic immunity as the wife to South Africa’s Minister of Energy, Jeff Radebe. Bridgette Motsepe Radebe’s diplomatic passport saved her from being searched by Zimbabwean authourities in Victoria fall last week although the Zimbabwean Central Intelligence Organisation (CIO) had received intel that she was planning to smuggle US$ 5,5 million through Zimbabwe into Botswana to finance Venson-Moitoi’s campaign. Bridgette Motsepe was allowed a few minutes to greet former President Lt Gen Ian Khama before her jet was turned back to South Africa.
Bridgette Motsepe is also sister in law to President Ramaphosa and brother to South African billionaire Patrice Motsepe. It has however emerged that Ramaphosa, Jeff Radebe and Patrice Motsepe were not part of Bridgette’s campaign to topple President Masisi.
In one of the audio tapes in the Sunday Standard possession, Bridgette’s son is heard asking Jeff Radebe to leave the room with him so that Bridgette and her team could discus Venson-Moitoi’s campaign financing. “Papa are tswele ko ntle ba batla gobua ka dichelete”, he is heard telling his father.
It has also emerged that contrary to earlier speculations, Patrice Motsepe was not among Venson-Moitoi’s financiers.