Sunday, January 16, 2022

DIS curious money trail leads to trust company set up by President Khama

Millions of Pula have been transferred from the Directorate of Intelligence Services (DIS) bank account under to the bank account of Serowe North Development Trust Fund which was set up by President Khama in 1998. Sunday Standard investigations have turned up a number of curious financial transactions running into millions of Pula between the DIS and the Serowe North Development Trust Fund since Khama became president in 2008.

The Serowe Development Trust Fund whose patron is President Khama is a private entity although servicing Serowe North community needs while the DIS is a public institution; however the two bodies have been using their bank accounts interchangeably. Sunday Standard has intercepted bank transactions between the two bodies running into millions of pula in which money was transferred on a number of occasions from the DIS account to the Serowe North Development Trust bank account and on a few occasions from the Serowe North Development Trust bank account to the DIS bank account.

Investigations have also established that the Serowe North Development Trust bank account, which was opened for donor contributions, is now fully controlled by the DIS and trustees are in the dark about the operations of the account. The DIS has exclusive signing rights over the account and trustees have been shunted aside. The questionable transactions between the DIS bank account and the Serowe North Development Trust started after 2008 when president Khama ceased being area MP and ascended to the presidency. Sunday Standard was not able to establish whether President Khama sanctioned the apparent abuse of the country’s financial system.

The Serowe North Development Trust bank account was, however, the subject of a Directorate on Corruption and Economic Crime (DCEC) investigations at the time President Khama removed the DIS and DCEC from the Ministry of Defence, Justice and security and placed them under the Office of the President. The Serowe North Development Trust, established by President Khama in 1998 when he became MP for the area, caters for the needs of the constituents. At the time, it gave food rations to 10 destitute persons in every village in the Serowe North constituency, built houses for the destitute, sponsored people for different courses in and outside Botswana and provided sport kits and balls.

Addressing kgotla meetings in the constituency shortly before the 2004 elections, President Khama then Vice President of Botswana announced that the destitute who had been receiving food rations from the Serowe North Development Trust would continue to benefit until December 2004 after the elections. At the time President Khama moved the DIS and the DCEC to the Office of the President, the DCEC was also investigating the relationship between the DIS and a certain Mr. NM Jere, the Zambian national who built President Khama’s private residence at the controversial Mosu airstrip.

The Zambian national who also built DIS Director General’s private residence in Phakalane has been given a number of construction contracts by DCEC running into more than P100 million Pula without going through a public tender process.

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