Thursday, October 22, 2020

DCEC and DPP clash over prosecution of BMC graft accused

Tension is simmering between the Directorate on Corruption and Economic Crime DCEC and Directorate on Public Prosecution DPP over the decision not to prosecute culprits implicated in Botswana Meat Commission alleged corruption.

It is understood that a senior manager and a board member were cited by the DCEC for corruption charges, the DPP however decided against prosecuting them.

The DCEC however was unhappy with the DPP decision not to prosecute. It is understood that the DPP was also divided on the issue and that some prosecutors have distanced themselves from the decision by former DPP Leonard Sechele not to prosecute the alleged purveyors of corruption.

It understood that DCEC is still trying to convince the DPP to reconsider its decision.

DCEC Director General, Rose Seretse told Sunday Standard that she was very devastated when she received correspondence from DPP stating that those implicated in the alleged corruption cannot be prosecuted.

“It came as a shock but what else can I say as they are the ultimate prosecutors”.

She explained that sometime around 2011 they received information about rampant corruption at BMC and they instigated thorough investigation soon after tip off.

It took DCEC a year to complete the investigations during which several people were interrogated including staff members, board members and other interested parties.

She revealed that after the completion of their investigations DCEC decided to charge two suspects a senior manager and a board member.

 When asked about the money involved Seretse replied “at this juncture I cannot recall how much money was involved but it ran in to millions”.

 She said the following year 2012 BMC docket was then forwarded to DPP on the 12TH of June.

It may be noted that the DPP at the time subsequently wrote to the responsible minister informing him that in their view, the matters raised in the DCEC docket with respect to the BMC could not be prosecuted due to the parallel investigations that had by then been carried out by Parliament. The DPP however observed that such “criminal cases investigated by Parliament either in part or in whole are not prosecutable as such investigation and the resultant collective evidence is tainted with illegalities…” We trust that the above facts bring greater clarity to the matter”.

She explained that since the DCEC ran investigation parallel to the of the Parliament Select Committee on the Botswana Development Corporation (BDC) and the Palapye Glass plant, those implicated in the corruption may also not be prosecuted.

 “It is possible that it may not go to court because it has similarities with the BMC case as they both had parallel investigations even though the investigations are not yet complete”.

She stated that the BDC case is still alive and the process is very slow as it goes back and forth.

Attorney General’s Chambers spokesperson Caroline Bogale-Jaiyeoba said in a brief press statement that “the position of the Directorate of Public Prosecutions is that it is inappropriate to comment in anyway, whatsoever on a statement issued by the Directorate on Corruption and Economic Crime”.

Contacted for comment BMC spokesperson Brian Dioka refereed the paper to DCEC. 

However former Member of Parliament for Kanye North constituency Kentse Rammidi who tabled a motion in parliament and adopted for investigation said he was disappointed by the latest move if indeed it true that those who were involved in BMC corruption will not be prosecuted.

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