Sunday, November 28, 2021

Former minister, banker raided in Kgosi money laundering case

Law enforcement agencies this week raided former Minister and Lobatse Member of Parliament, Sadique Kebonang and a local bank manager as part of a money laundering investigation against former Directorate of Intelligence and Security Services (DIS) Director General Isaac Kgosi.

This is revealed in a supporting affidavit by Festus Ngadzi Matshameko of the Directorate on Corruption and Economic Crime (DCEC) deposed before Lobatse High Court Judge Tebogo Tau this week on the strength of which the crime buster was granted an order to seize Kgosi’s property.

According to the affidavit, Kebonang and Kgosi diverted Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) donations from Chinese investors towards buying an SUV vehicle for Kgosi. The affidavit states:  “In 2018 Kgosi acquired a Land cruiser registered B 975 BHI by trading in a Land cruiser Prado B 464 BEA registered in the name of his wife Seitshiro. The Land cruiser Prado registration B 464 BEA was bought for Seitshiro at a total cost of P668, 000.00. Investigations reveal that Kgosi and Seitshiro did not contribute a single thebe towards the acquisition of the said motor vehicle. Evidence obtained to date indicates that the motor vehicle was paid in full by Zhengtai Group of Companies and Mr Farouk Ishmail.

Zhengtai Group of companies issued two cheques one amounting to P308, 000.00 and another P292, 000.00 to Motor Centre and upon their presentation the vehicle was registered in Kgosi’s wife’s name.  Preliminary investigations reveal that Mr Sadique Kebonang, a Member of Parliament for the BDP and a former Minister of Minerals and Green Energy, approached Li Gang an employee of Zhengtai Group under the pretext that he was soliciting donations for the Botswana Democratic Party.

Mr Li Gang, who then did not have money, requested for a loan from Zhengtai Group of Companies which loan was acceded to through the issuance of the two cheques. It is alleged per the obtained statements from Li Gang and Liu Zhiyong that Mr Kebonang directed that the cheques be issued to Motor Centre.

Investigations have also revealed per copies of receipt and deposit slip that an additional P66, 800.00 was obtained from Mr Ishmail. In keeping with the modus operandi of concealing the sources of his assets and/or funds, Kgosi first registered the motor vehicle in Seitshiro’s name and later traded it off to purchase the Land cruiser B 975 BHI. Through this layering, Kgosi was, to our belief trying to conceal the source of the money that was used to buy the Prado registered B 464 BEA. The vehicle was never registered in the name of the Botswana Democratic Party nor used for its political campaigns.

I hold a reasonable belief that Kgosi’s actions of layering the true source of the Land cruiser B 975 BHI constitute the offence of money laundering under section 47 of the PICA more so that the money obtained from Mr Li Gang was obtained by false pretences. I am asking the court to restrain this motor vehicle registered B 975 BHI pending finalisation of my investigations and in order to satisfy any of the orders envisioned in the PICA.

The affidavit further suggests that Kgosi may have used the Sadique Kebonang Trust fund to hide the source of the money he used to buy 24 Simmentaller, 36 Brahman white (purebred), one Brahman bull and one Simentaller bull. States Matshameko in his affidavit: “The source of the funds held in trust by Sadique Kebonang Attorneys is unknown at this juncture, however given the preferred method of Kgosi receiving valuable consideration through his Attorneys there is a reasonable suspicion that such funds are proceeds of a serious crime and that the purchasing of the cattle constitutes an offense of money laundering, amongst others.” Also raided in relation to the case was one bank manager (name withheld).

Kebonang confirmed that his phone was seized and confiscated this week by agents of the DIS after they had obtained a warrant from one of the Magistrate courts in Gaborone.

At the time, Kebonang believed this was in relation to the ongoing case in which Kgosi is accused of revealing the identity of DIS operatives. Kebonang told the Sunday Standard that, “they seized my phone in relation to their investigations against Kgosi. The suspicion is that he might have sent me the pictures that he allegedly leaked,” said Kebonang. According to Kebonang who is a lawyer by profession, Kgosi is his former client.

“It is true that Kgosi is my former and he also my friend. The security agents think that given my relationship with Kgosi he is likely to have sent me the pictures that he is accused of having leaked and it’s not true,” said Sadique.

He added that “one should not be prejudiced only because he is a friend to Kgosi. As a lawyer, my relationship with a client is confidential. You cannot betray a client as a lawyer.”

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