Tuesday, October 26, 2021

DCEC accused of purging investigators handling high profile cases

The Directorate on Corruption and Economic Crime (DCEC) is allegedly purging senior officers from its intelligence unit in what is widely seen as a witch-hunt and political meddling.

There are fears within intelligence circles that the purging of senior managers (names withheld) who are investigating high profile cases involving high ranking government officials is likely to compromise the relative independence of the corruption busting agency.  

They have reportedly been forced to resign, suspended or redeployed to protect the interests of high ranking government officials.

The officers whose names have been passed to The Telegraph rubbed the DCEC top management the wrong way after they called for reforms and queried the circumstances under which high profile cases are not prosecuted.

Some of them have been frustrated out of the DCEC while others have been slapped with trumped up charges because of their decision to call the prosecution of high ranking government officials.

The DCEC is accused of double standards for publishing the names of ‘small fish’ in the press but does not do the same thing with ‘big fish.’

There are allegations of a groundswell of dissent within the agency.

There are even fears that the purging could move to field operatives. Two independent sources say morale is low and there is mistrust among agents.

While Directorate of Intelligence and Security Services (DIS) boss Isaac Kgosi’s case was the most prominent among those that led to the middle managers being victimised, fresh information has since emerged showing that a number of cases are gathering dust at the DCEC shelves. 

The cases which are not in the public domain involve at least eight ministers, a Member of Parliament and an opulent security company that is involved in the transportation of diamonds and cash.

There are claims that the security company which owns planes as well as armoured vehicles is used as conduit to push the interests of some high ranking government officials.

It has since emerged that the company has been awarded government tenders running into millions much to the chagrin of other local security companies which do not have connections.

Another case that allegedly rubbed the DCEC management the wrong way involves a former Botswana Meat Commission (BMC) account in the Cayman Islands, a diminutive tax haven renowned for clandestine financial activity.

The Telegraph can reveal that DCEC followed the paper trail from Cayman Islands and discovered that millions of Pula were deposited into one of the commercial banks’ account in Botswana by one of the former managers of BMC.

The manager in question is believed to have political connections hence efforts by the DCEC to have her prosecuted bore no fruit. Other former BMC employees are also said to have benefited from millions of Pula in the account before it was closed down. It is understood that even the current management at BMC was made aware of the DCEC investigations relating to the Cayman Islands account.

In 2013, a Parliamentary watchdog queried that BMC failure to submit audited reports on accounts of one of its subsidiaries, Mainline Carriers PTY (Ltd) “a flagrant breach of Section 20 and 10 of the BMC Act”.

The report by parliament states: “For a period of 48 months, Parliament and the nation have been kept in the dark in regard to the commercial operations of the subsidiary. A veritable veil of secrecy has descended upon the commercial affairs and the state of the assets of the Botswana Meat Commission subsidiary.”

In another curious development, another case involving a suspect in a murder case who is linked to the Directorate of Intelligence Service (DISS). An eye witnesses is alleged to have lost confidence in other law enforcement agencies and approached the DCEC with information detailing how the victim in the murder case was murdered; he revealed that the victim was murdered for diamonds and not for other items. But since the murder suspect is a DISS operative no action has been taken against him.

The DISS is also accused of infiltrating DCEC. Sources added that a recent case in which the DISS withdrew their corruption case against DCEC Principal Anti Corruption Technical Officer (intelligence Unit) Kagiso Magapa who was among the officers tasked with investigating the DISS boss laid bare the power struggle between the law enforcement agencies.

While he denied that some officers had been suspended for querying the DCEC’s decision not to forward completed cases involving high ranking officials to Directorate of Public Prosecution for prosecution, DCEC spokesperson Phakamile Kraai confirmed that some of their officers had been suspended.

“No officer has been suspended or dismissed by the DCEC for allegedly being questioned on completed cases that included high ranking officials,” he said.

However he explained that in the last two years about three investigators have been interdicted adding that only one officer is now back at work while the two are still suspended.

 He would not disclose the reasons for the interdiction saying it is an internal matter.

Kraai said in any organization, “when someone leaves, there is always that gap that has to be covered, so in our case, it means cases that were being done by that officer are either delayed or assigned to another officer, who already has other cases to deal with, thereby delaying the investigation cases further.”

RELATED STORIES

Read this week's paper