Friday, July 12, 2024

DCEC, DIS, DPP, BPS in a flutter as Katlholo proves the butterfly effect

What does the president know and when did he know it?This famous line that brought down the Richard Nixon administration may come to haunt President Mokgweetsi Masisi as it emerges that the Directorate of Public Prosecution (DPP), the Directorate on Corruption and Economic Crime (DCEC) and Botswana Police Service (BPS) gave tacit approval to a high-profile Directorate of Intelligence and Security Services (DIS) rogue mission that that has gone terribly wrong. As the DIS rogue operation unravels, the new Director General of the Directorate on Corruption and Economic Crime (DCEC) Tymon Katlholo is proving to be the chaos theory’s proverbial butterfly that flutters its diaphanous wings, stirring a breeze which ultimately causes a destructive hurricane – also known as the butterfly effect.

Isaac Kgosi and Ian Khama

Translated into mass culture, the butterfly effect has become a metaphor for the existence of seemingly insignificant moments that alter history and shape destinies. Appearing before the Parliamentary Portfolio Committee on Governance and Oversight two weeks ago, Katlholo made a startling revelation whose ripple effects are expected to be seismic. The DCEC head honcho disclosed that the controversial P5,6 billion money laundering case against former spy Wilhelmina Maswabi, code named “Butterfly, former DIS Director General Isaac Kgosi, former President Lt Gen Ian Khama and South African businesswoman Bridgette Motsepe was registered with the DCEC on September 2019 and that to date the corruption buster had no evidence to support the allegations. Curiously, on the 17th of August 2020, at the hearing of Maswabi’s case the Directorate of Public Prosecutions (DPP) represented by Pricilla Israel informed the court that on November 17th, the State intends to bring additional charges and add further accused persons to the existing charges and that by December 17th the state would be in a position to commit the new charges and accused persons to the High Court for trial, based on evidence available locally, irrespective of whether the request for evidence from foreign jurisdictions would be available. 

Sunday Standard investigations have revealed that both the DCEC and Botswana Police Service have never presented a prosecution case against Maswabi to the DPP. This is consistent with Katlholo’s testimony before theParliamentary Portfolio Committee on Governance and Oversight that the DCEC has no evidence to support money laundering and terrorism financing allegations against Maswabi, Kgosi, Khama and Motsepe.mThis confirms reports that the DCEC was not privy to the investigations and adds weight to allegations of DIS lawlessness and illegal overreach in the controversial money laundering and terrorism financing case. Under the Botswana Criminal Procedure and Evidence Act only the DCEC and the Botswana Police Service have the mandate to investigate criminal allegations. The Sunday Standard joined the dots and a sinister outline emerged:

The DCEC was used as a front to window dress the DIS rogue operation with tacit approval from the DPP.  Investigations by the Sunday Standard have revealed that the DPP, DCEC and Botswana Police Service gave the wink-wink nudge-nudge to the DIS illegal investigation. This raises questions about the independence, integrity and governance of Botswana’s law enforcement agencies and the DPP. Sunday Standard can reveal that the DIS put together an investigating team comprising Pricilla Israel of the DPP, Jako Hubona of the DCEC, Victor Mabina from Botswana Police Service and DIS agents known to this publication. The investigation entailed travelling to various jurisdictions including Jakarta in Indonesia, the United States of America, Germany and most recently Italy. Sunday Standard can further reveal that contrary to civil service procedure, investigating team members never applied for pe diems for the overseas trips because funding was provided through the DIS. Records of the court proceedings reveal that evidence in the money laundering and terrorism financing case is in the form of an affidavit deposed by DCEC officer Jako Hubona.

Peter Magosi

This is in spite of the fact that the DCEC has neither instructed the DPP to prosecute the case nor presented the case docket to the public prosecutor. It has also emerged that during the period of the investigation, Hubona did not report to the DCEC by directly to the DIS Director General Peter Magosi. Sunday Standard investigations have turned up information that the controversial money laundering and terrorism financing case is also causing consternation in government circles due to failures by the Counter-Terrorism Analysis and Fusion Agency established under the Counter-Terrorism Act. Botswana’s attempt to be removed from the international grey listing and the European Union blacklisting has been put in jeopardy because of failure by the agency to report the alleged terrorism activities and provide a list of terrorism suspects internationally with the United Nations (UN). 

Botswana is obliged by international law to report suspected terrorism activities and terrorism suspects to the UN. Despite the low evidence threshold set by international law, Botswana has not reported either Maswabi or Kgosi to any international organ as suspected terrorists. Curiously the DPP has charged the two former spies with terrorism financing a move that requires a higher evidence threshold. In another aftershock, the DCEC, DIS, DPP and Botswana Police Service are currently facing four law suits emanating from the money laundering and terrorism financing case totaling P105 million in claims of damages. The civil suits have been brought by Khama, Kgosi, Maswabi and Motsepe who claim that the accusations against them are a fabrication and have been concocted by Hubona who deposed the incriminating affidavit. The quartet have built their case around findings of a report by Omnia chair Cherie Blair, who is an internationally renowned lawyer and wife of former British prime minister Tony Blair, and former South Africa’s public protector Thuli Madonsela. The report has been publicly criticized as self-serving as it was initiated by persons implicated in court proceedings for allegedly having committed serious crimes. The validity of the claims will be put to the test once the issue the summons. 

During his presentation before the Parliamentary Portfolio Committee on Governance and Oversight Katlholo argued that it was essential to ensure the independence of the DCEC and that this could only be achieved by giving the corruption buster the power to prosecute cases arising from their investigations.

He further stated that the DCEC director General should be given security of tenure, like judges of the High Court, the Director General of the Financial intelligence Agency (FIA) and the DPP Director General. From his emphasis on the need to ensure the DCEC independence, Katlholo stopped short of disclosing that the DCEC was used to window dress an illegal DIS investigation. During his previous tenure as DCEC Director General, Katlholo was known for his upfront approach to investigations, taking personal responsibility for investigations into high profile cases. This integrity endeared him to the public and is believed to have motivated his recent re-appointment to guide the tottering DCEC back to a credible institution.


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