Sunday, June 16, 2024

DCEC investigates ruling party tycoons

Two prominent businessmen of the ruling Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) are under investigation by the Directorate on Corruption and Economic Crime (DCEC) for possible corruption.

The Sunday Standard has it on good authority that former cabinet minister, Charles Tibone, and automobile magnate and BDP treasurer, Satar Dada, are under investigation by the directorate.

This comes in the wake of our report last year to the effect that millions of pula were paid to Lesedi Motors in advance by the Botswana Defence Force for what appeared like a dubious transaction for the purchase of an unspecified number of Land Rovers. The business transaction happened when both were directors of the company.

“I am unable to deny or confirm that the DCEC is investigating the two gentlemen you are referring to. DCEC investigations are internal and confidential,” the DCEC spokesman, Lentswe Motshoganetsi, told the Sunday Standard.

The Ministry of State President paid Lesedi Motors (Pty) Ltd an advance payment guarantee of P28 million (28 016 547)for an unspecified number of Land Rovers to the BDF in 2007 for tender number STB 0/0/12/2006-2007.

When the Sunday Standard wrote the story a little over a year ago, the government, through the Daily News, dispatched a rebuttal to the effect that there was nothing sinister about the company being paid an advance payment.  

Independent experts on government and private procurement have described the advance payment by the BDF as tantamount to having given Lesedi Motors a blank cheque.

The government claimed last year that the BDF paid the money into a certain commercial bank adding that the P28 million was released to Lesedi Motors by the mystery bank as and when the Land Rovers were delivered. The identity of the bank, which supposedly held the money on behalf of the government, however, remains shrouded in secrecy at the behest of the government.

The Public Procurement and Asset Disposal Board (PPADB) approved the advance payment request in March 2008 for the unspecified number of Land Rovers. In March of the same year, an amount of P3 million (3,616, 620) was approved for procurement of additional Land Rover Defender 110 Tdi canvas from the company.

The PPADB records had no indication that the P28 million was an estimate amount. 
In May 2007, the BDF made another request approved by the PPADB for procurement of four additional Land Rovers for “operational purposes” from the company “through direct appointment” at a cost of P1 million (P1,094,696.00) for tender number STB 0/0/12/2006-2007, a request which was, once again, approved by the PPADB.

Further, on 29 November 2007, the BDF requested a waiver to procure an additional 85 units of Land Rovers to replace “previously approved” procurement of┬á Troop Carrier Variant at a total cost of P27 million (27┬á659┬á936.70).


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