Thursday, October 28, 2021

DISS and DCEC team up to conceal corruption in high places

It was one of the highest security operations ever mounted by the Directorate on Corruption and Economic Crime (DCEC). Determined to conceal their tracks, the DCEC investigator anchored by two intelligence officers paid cash for their air tickets to Cape Town. No claims for imprest were filed with the revenue office, the DCEC decided to pinch from their operations fund. Even the Interpol was not alerted about the covert cross country operation. The mission was to interview former Debswana Security Manager as part of an investigation against Directorate of Intelligence and Security Services Director General (DISS) Isaac Kgosi case. The operational was planned to the last detail: The investigator would conduct the interview at the Cape Town international airport and covertly pass the tapes to supporting intelligence officers who would immediately board the plane back to Botswana.

The secrecy with which the DCEC carried out the operation underline their fear of how much the DISS has infiltrated the government enclave.

The well laid operation was however called off under curious circumstances. Since then the DCEC and the DISS both under the Office of the President have been marching to the beat of the same drummer.

Sunday Standard investigations have turned up information that the Isaac Kgosi docket has been sent back to the DCEC and is currently gathering dust under lock and key together with more than ten complete dockets of cabinet ministers, Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) big shots and senior civil servants who were investigated for corruption.

Although investigations on the cases are complete and dockets ready to be sent to the Directorate of Public Prosecutions (DPP) the DCEC command has decided to sit on the dockets.

Sunday Standard investigations have pieced together court records, confidential documents and anonymous interviews revealing a disturbing picture that the DCEC and the DISS may have teamed to conceal corruption in high places.

Among documents passed to Sunday Standard are court records of corruption accused who have been allowed to get away. In one of the cases, the DCEC has decided not to pursue Chinese nationals Xiaoming Wang and Liu Wensheng who were caught in a sting operation trying to bribe Permanent Secretary to the President, Carter Morupisi then Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Infrastructure Science and Technology and Itumeleng Phuthego then Project Manager in the Department of Buildings and Engineering.

The Corruption case which arose from the Shakawe Senior Secondary School construction defects was expected to open a can of worms. It however collapsed after the two Chinese nationals skipped bail under curious circumstances.

Among bits of information that may have worried state prosecutors was the P20 000 gift that Phuthego had previously accepted from one of the Chinese corruption accused and passed it on to Morupisi.

While Phuthego omitted to mention the P20 000 gift in his sworn statement, Morupisi stated that, “Sometime around March 2011 Mr Phuthego approached me with a gift alleged to have been obtained from Mr Liu Wensheng the Project Manager for CCTW joint venture. The gift was P20 000 00 cash (twenty Thousand Pula). As a result of this declaration I then asked Mr Phuthego to have an affidavit administered by the Commissioner of Police where after I took the money and attached the affidavit for safe keeping.” Morupisi kept the money “safe” for three months.

Some insiders pushed that both Phuthego and Morupisi be charged alongside the Chinese nationals, the DPP however drafted a charge sheet with two counts citing Phuthego and Morupisi as state witnesses.

 Curiously,  five months later DPP amended the charge sheet, dropping the count in which Liu Wensheng was accused of trying to bribe Phuthego with the “P20 000 gift.”

Phuthego later surfaced as a senior manager at the Directorate on Corruption and Economic Crime (DCEC).

The manner in which DCEC handled the Chinese corruption accused case was not an isolated incident. There have since been a number of curious DCEC decisions which are developing into a trend.

A DCEC agent (name withheld) who was assigned to investigate the Jerry Chitube case has on a number of occasions been refused pedium to travel to South Africa and later Zambia to interview Chitube who was willing to speak. At least one senior Botswana Democratic Party leader is implicated in the Chitube corruption case.

The DCEC and DISS are also understood to be pursuing a systematic purging of officers believed to have been behind the Kgosi investigation. Among the first to be sidelined are former Botswana defence Force General, peter Magosi and former head of the BDF Cobra division Bana Pilane.

The DCEC “action Plan” for investigations against Kgosi which is marked “secret and confidential” details how the Director of DCEC, Rose Seretse was “to speak to the BDF commander to formalise arrangements for the protection of DCEC staff involved in the investigation.

The DCEC Director also spoke to the Commissioner of Police to provide the DCEC with security. According to the action plan, the DCEC Director was also tasked with speaking to the Commissioner of Police, “as to precisely what support is being provided so that we are able to distinguish between friendly support and possibly not so friendly support.”

Sunday Standard can reveal that the DCEC spoke to Bana Pilane for support. At the time Pilane was head of BDF Cobra Division and Magosi was head of BDF Military Intelligence.

The BDF was roped in after  DCEC assistant Director General, Eugene Wasetso, on Thursday 8th March 2012 received intelligence that “in an effort to interfere and destroy evidence” in an investigation against Kgosi,” some DISS agents loaded the spy organisation’s truck with official files and headed to the DISS firing range to have the files destroyed.

At about 10:00 hours a DISS White UD Nissan Truck registered B865AJG was stopped along the Mogoditshane ÔÇô Mestsimotlhabe road.

Pilane and Magosi are believed to have been instrumental in the operation. Magosi has since been forced into early retirement while Pilane has been posted to China as a military attach├®.

A DCEC officer who was involved in the investigation against Kgosi (name withheld) was called in for disciplinary hearing charged with drunken driving. The Sunday Standard intercepted a DCEC internal memo suggesting a plan to cook the case. In the hand written memo, DCEC Senior Manager Corporate Services who was the complainant was asking the assistant Senior Director of Intelligence to meet the Chairperson of the disciplinary hearing, a Mr Maripe to make arrangements for the hearing, “and discuss the details of the case.”

In another case, currently before the courts a DCEC investor who was also involved in investigations against Kgosi was arrested outside a car dealership in Mogoditshane by a DISS team led by Head of Operations Lesego Tsholofelo. The DCEC agent was accused of soliciting a bribe from the motor dealer in exchange for stopping DCEC investigations against the Somali motor dealer, a Mr Mohamed Amin.

It has however since emerged that the sting operation was staged and Mohammed Amin, the car dealer is also a DISS agent.

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