Thursday, July 9, 2020

Chinese company wants DIS to declassify top secret documents

Director General of Directorate of Intelligence and Security (DIS) Peter Magosi will not declassify documents that informed his decision to declare China Jiangsu International Botswana a national security threat.  

This emerged in a case in which China Jiangsu International Botswana has taken the Botswana Government to court after the DIS prevailed over Public Procurement Assets and Disposal Board (PPADB) to withdraw a number of its tenders worth billions of Pula from various government ministries.

The DIS has since declared China Jiangsu International a security threat and ordered sanctions against the Chinese Government owned entity.

In his supporting affidavit before Lobatse High Court Justice Jenifer Dube, Magosi states in court papers that: “If I am to produce or divulge such information, I may also be guilty of offences under sections 4(1) and 5 of the National Security Act.” 

According to Magosi, the Directorate “carried out investigations, and continues to carry out investigations, gathered information, and continues to do so, and has evaluated and interpreted some of the information, and continues to evaluate and interpret fresh information.”

He added that the “information is from within and outside of Botswana, and which information shows that the Applicant is involved in massive corrupt activities which threaten the national security of Botswana.” 

Magosi insists that if he were to divulge the contents of the documents “It would compromise the ongoing investigations within and outside Botswana. If I were to produce or divulge such documents or evidence, I would be guilty of a criminal offence under section 20(6) of the ISS Act.”

He said:|”The aforesaid information which the Directorate continues to receive in respect of the Applicant: is a threat to national security; is such that the Directorate has to “take steps to protect the security interests of Botswana”, and in this case the interests at stake are political and economic as envisaged by section 5(1)a (iii) of the ISS Act.”

Magosi said: “If the Directorate did not act as provided for by section 5 (1)a of the ISS Act, it would be failing in its functions, and so that would seriously compromise Botswana national security.”

Magosi states that by communicating his advice to various government departments and ministries not to deal in any transaction with China Jiangsu Botswana “I acted in line with the above provisions. If I did not in the course of the Directorate’s statutory functions as aforesaid, I would have acted in breach of the law.”

“As I have said above, the Directorate continues to carry out its statutory mandate in respect of the activities of the Applicant. As a result, I have certified that production or disclosure of any document or other evidence gathered so far would be injurious to the public interest,” said Magosi.

According to Magosi if he were to divulge the information to Court “It would compromise the ongoing investigations within and without Botswana. If I were to produce or divulge such documents or evidence, I would be guilty of a criminal offence under section 20(6) of the ISS Act.”

Magosi added that “If I am to produce or divulge such information, I may also be guilty of offences under sections 4(1) and 5 of the National Security Act. 

In its papers before Justice Dube, China Jiangsu International Botswana wants the Ministry of Infrastructure and the Public Procurement and Asset Disposal Board (PPADB) to cause Magosi retract a Savingram dated 8th February 2019 in “which unfounded and false allegations and or/injurious falsehoods are being paddled that Applicant (China Jiangsu International Botswana) has been involved in massive corrupt practices that threaten national security of Botswana.”

According to the court papers, Jiangsu  tendered for a Works Contract for the Procurement of Proposed New Primary Hospital at Moshupa Tender No.WOR 7/6/8.

Jiangsu wants the court to determine whether the Ministry and PPADB were correct in having it excluded “from participating in the tender on the basis of baseless and unfounded falsehoods perpetrated by the Directorate on Intelligence and Security Services…”

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Sunday Standard July 5 – 11

Digital copy of Sunday Standard issue of July 5 - 11, 2020.