Monday, September 21, 2020

Controversial scribe sells out source to DTCB boss

Controversial social media journalist, Daniel Kenosi has broken the golden rule of journalism and sold out his source to embattled Managing Director of the Diamond Trading Company Botswana (DTCB) Tabake Kobedi who is fighting back against allegations on social media that he had a sexual relationship with a minor.

In an effort to clear his name Kobedi has filed a complaint with the Botswana Police Service that he has been criminally defamed.

Investigations by The Sunday Standard confirmed that the Botswana Police Service has commenced investigations following a complaint by Kobedi, into allegations of criminal defamation and has interviewed over four key witnesses and suspects, arresting two in the process. However, following revelations made by the witnesses during their interrogation by the police the focus of their investigations has shifted back to Kobedi, sources within the police have revealed. 

A specialised anti-crime division within the Botswana Police Service, the Serious Crime Unit, on Wednesday this week obtained a Search Warrant and a Warrant of Arrest from Extension II Magistrates Court, against a key suspect (name withheld due to ongoing investigations) following a complaint by Kobedi that he has been criminally defamed, a move now seen by the Botswana Police Service as an effort to clear his name days before he is due to present his version of events before the DTCB Board, which has requested him to answer the allegations.

Kobedi, accompanied by controversial social media journalist Daniel Kenosi[js1] , filed a complaint with the Serious Crime Unit after two documents were circulated on Social Media platforms alleging that he had had a sexual relationship with a minor.  According to witness statements with the police, Kenosi contacted Kobedi after he claimed to have received the two documents from a “source.” Kobedi requested Kenosi to reveal who the anonymous source was after denying the allegations and to assist him in filing a complaint with the Serious Crime Unit.  Kenosi himself has been the subject of criminal defamation proceedings in the past.

The two documents circulated on social media purport to be a statement made to the police by a minor that she been impregnated by Kobedi and forced to terminate the pregnancy at his insistence and the other document, a pdf article titled “M.D. of DTCB impregnates a 15 year old” based on the allegations made in the minor’s complaint, had formed the basis of the police investigations.

DTCB in response to questions by The Sunday Standard earlier this week confirmed that they are aware of the allegations made against Kobedi and that he has been called by the Board to dispel them. Kobedi has denied the allegations.

According to sources within the Serious Crime Unit, a special task team comprising of 5 senior investigators has been established to investigate Kobedi’s complaint that the minor’s police statement was a forgery and that the article was maliciously intended to defame him. The task team has been instructed, by senior police officials to treat the claims against Kobedi as a threat to national security due to his position at DTCB. According to a member of the investigation team the complaint against Kobedi is perceived to “undermine Botswana’s international image and tarnish Botswana’s diamond trade, the allegations against Kobedi, if false, are seen to be as dangerous as the labelling of Botswana’s diamonds as “Blood Diamonds” over 10 years ago,” revealed an investigator, off record.

Investigations by the Unit have confirmed that the alleged police report by the minor was never officially filed with the police and that there is no police record of a complaint by a minor against Kobedi, according to sources within the investigation team. As a result, police investigations have not focused on the alleged defilement as it was dismissed as being fictious. Having interviewed key witnesses however, the Serious Crime Unit has now shifted its investigations to determine whether there was a relationship between Kobedi and a minor and whether she had an abortion.

#ISHALLNOTFORGET, a civil society group fighting against sexual exploitation of minors, is being investigated to establish whether they interviewed Kobedi’s private employees and whether they assisted the alleged minor in reporting a case to the police as claimed in the article circulated on social media and given to the police by Kenosi and Kobedi. “the group is central to the investigations, they have denied any involvement in the matter and have distanced themselves from allegations that they obtained video footage of interviews conducted on behalf of the minor, but there is other evidence that suggests that there may have been a complainant, who is now reluctant to come forward. We are waiting the return of one of the group’s members to Botswana (on Friday this week) who has been out of the country,” a senior investigator revealed.

In a further twist arising from the interviews of witnesses by the Serious Crime Unit, the police and other law enforcement agencies are in addition to the current investigations launching fresh investigations into financial transactions arising out of alleged payments to potential witnesses. The Sunday Standard was unable to ascertain the nature of these investigations as they are said to be “of such sensitive nature” that not even the source was willing to discuss them. “We are aware that a Whistle-blower’s Report was filed at DTCB, and has been sent to the appropriate agency to investigate, we cannot reveal more due its sensitivity,” the source reluctantly disclosed.

Kobedi has been at the helm of DTCB since 2012. He has taken a voluntary leave of absence following allegations on various social media platforms that he had an intimate relationship with a minor.

RELATED STORIES

Read this week's paper

Sunday Standard September 20 – 26

Digital copy of Sunday Standard issue of September 20 - 26, 2020.