Monday, June 1, 2020

DCEC in pretty worse shape than ever

There have been growing public concerns about the state of affairs and indeed the direction that DCEC has taken starting a few years back.

The current state of the DCEC in relation to where it ought to be is ridiculous.

The situation has grown pathetic lately.

In our view nothing short of a complete overhaul of the structure will suffice at the DCEC.

The scandal pertaining to the National Petroleum Fund should provide an incentive, if any such incentive was ever needed to rebuild and re-energize the DCEC.

As it is the DCEC, like quite a few other law enforcement bodies is under lock, bogged down and helpless in the face of investigating serious allegations of crime, especially against so called big fish.

Over and above the overhaul there is also need of more tightening of screws to get the DCEC functioning again.

The public has totally lost faith in this institution ÔÇô and for a reason.

A lack of boldness on the part of Government to reform the DCEC, which will include letting go of some of the powers cabinet has over the directorate will sound a death-knell for the DCEC.

The Directorate on Corruption and Economic Crime was created in the early 1990s amid a lot of hope, fanfare and public expectation.

Almost 30 years on, the corruption busting agency has tragically not lived up to those expectations.

In fact it has shattered and disappointed those dreams that the public had of it.

Increasingly, the DCEC looks like a very expensive experimentation.

For many Batswana DCEC increasingly looks like an apology by Government  that was under pressure to be seen to be doing something against growing white collar crime.

For others, DCEC is nothing short of an ego trip by the same leaders who wanted to have in place something that looked like what they had seen working elsewhere in their foreign trips.

We blame the political leadership that has refused to give DCEC the kind of legal guarantees on its autonomy that are needed for DCEC to function properly.

We also blame the DCEC leadership over the years that failed to fight and agitate for their independence.

This leadership was cowered especially by the office of the President.

The situation was worse under Ian Khama.

We call on parliament to amend the Act establishing DCEC to make the Director General independent of the PSP (Permanent Secretary to the President.)

Right now the PSP is too powerful over DCEC.

He can use that power to protect him or those that have appointed him from a kind of scrutiny that is otherwise required by governance and efficiency of the DCEC.

In return the Director General should serve a fixed term during which he would be immune from any disciplinary action by the executive.

Only a commission or panel headed by a High Court could recommend action to be taken against the Director General following serious misdemeanor or indiscipline.

We say all the above because we receive to accept that fighting corruption is an illusion.

We think it is a reality that can be achieved.

We also know what the implications of runway corruption can be.

Today corruption in our view is so high that it should be categorized as one of the national security threats.

If allowed to fester further it can lead to lawlessness including overthrow or popular revolts against elected government.


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Sunday Standard May 24 – 30

Digital copy of Sunday Standard issue of May 24 - 30, 2020.