Saturday, March 6, 2021

Ground breaking case may solve the DCEC whodunit

Did he or didn’t he? The running debate and speculations on whether President Khama ordered the DCEC to suspend corruption investigations against DIS Director General Isaac Kgosi may finally be settled when the NALG&PAU case for an order forcing DCEC to hand the docket to the DPP comes before the High Court. In a case of life imitating art, the DIS corruption investigation saga has taken the whodunit plot-driven form in which the reader picks clues from which the identity of the perpetrator may be deduced before the story provides the revelation at its climax. A few weeks after the DCEC called Kgosi for an interview to answer questions on the allegations of corruption leveled against him, PresidentKhama moved swiftly and removed both the DCEC and the DIS from the Ministry of Defence, Justice and Security and placed them under the Office of the President.

Soon thereafter the DCEC stopped its investigations against the DIS Director General and sat on the case docket, sparking speculations that there had been an instruction from above. A decision by the president to stop the investigations would confirm apprehensions raised by WikiLeaks that Khama would turn a blind eye to corruption among his associates. The WikiLeaks observation was made after in emerged that Khama, then vice president of Botswanainterfered in investigations by the DCEC involving his twin brothers Tshekedi and Anthony.

A WikiLeaks report states: “Although the DCEC has taken appropriate steps to prevent and prosecute corruption, questions have emerged regarding the extent of its independence. During the August 8-10 conference of regional anti-corruption agencies, for example, DCEC director, Tymon Katlholo, acknowledged that Batswana often believe that the DCEC focuses on petty corruption and ignores corrupt practices by the wealthy and influential.

In an August 10 conversation, Philliat Matsheza, Executive Director of Harare-based Human Rights Trust of Southern Africa relayed to PolOff an earlier conversation with Katlholo. The DCEC chief had told Matsheza that Vice President Khama had personally questioned him about an investigation into the (notoriously shady) business dealings of Khama’s younger twin brothers. (Note: Prof. Ken Good, the outspoken academic deported by the Government in May (Ref C), had highlighted suspicious transactions involving the Khama brothers and the Botswana Defense Force during Khama’s tenure as Commander.”)

WikiLeaks further stated that, “another contact, attorney Dick Bayford, independently confirmed this report to Emboffs. This incident reflects a common sense of apprehension about the implications of a Khama presidency and whether he might turn a blind eye to corruption among the socio-economic elite.” The NALG&PAU legal action is similar to the one launched by the South African Democratic Alliance for a review of the Public Prosecutors’ decision to withdraw charges against former South African police crime intelligence head Richard Mdluli.

The North Gauteng High Court in Pretoria ordered that charges against Mdluli be restored. The High Court decision was two months ago by the South African Supreme Court of Appeal following an unsuccessful appeal by the National Prosecuting Authority. There is currently pressure for more answers on who were involved in the decision to withdraw charges against Mdluli. The case against the DCEC and the DPP is expected to follow a similar route.

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