Wednesday, June 29, 2022

Inside how Keetshabe ducked out of the DIS/DCEC feud

Attorney General Abraham Keetshabe ducked out of resolving the ongoing feud between the Directorate on Corruption and Economic Crime (DCEC) and the Directorate of Intelligence and Security (DIS) – court records have revealed. In a savingram dated 5th May 2022, Keetshabe informed the Director General of the DCEC Tymon Katlholo that “You did inform me that the Directorate of Intelligence and Security Service (DISS) had sealed the Directorate on Corruption and Economic Crime (DCEC) premises.” Keetshabe added that: “I point out that I was not aware.”

Saying his office had thoroughly perused Katlholo’s “correspondence,” Keetshabe further indicated that “Our considered view is that we are without basic information on this matter and therefore we are unable to initiate any court process.” Washing his hands of the dispute between the DISS and DCEC, Keetshabe said: “We recommend that you urgently approach the Permanent Secretary to the President for purposes of resolving this matter.” In his letter to Keetshabe, Katlholo had stated that; “as I have informed you in the above referenced telecommunication, the Directorate on Corruption and Economic Crime (DCEC) offices were barricaded by the Directorate of Intelligence and Security Services (DISS) officers yesterday, without any court order to that effect, thereby literally preventing all employees of the DCEC from getting in or out of the premises.”  

Katlholo said he was further informed that the employees were eventually allowed to leave the DCEC “premises around 1800hrs and that that my officer and that of the Staff Officer were sealed by the DISS.” He informed Keetshabe that the DIS is said to be demanding investigation files of the DCEC, ostensibly under the national security investigation. “The DISS, I am informed, did not disclose whether the national security threat relates to the DCEC as an institution, its Director General, Staff office or the investigations currently undertaken by the DCEC and so, which ones in particular,” said Katlholo. He reminded Keetshabe that “You will recall that since the investigation of the famous “Butterfly Case” the DISS has been demanding, without lawful authority investigations files of the DCEC which files are protected by law and cannot be given anyone demanding them without lawful cause.”  

In addition, Katlholo also reminded Keetshabe that, “You will also recall that in December 2021 I shared with you what I considered to be unlawful detention of officers of the DISS by the DISS ostensibly on the issue of cases investigated by such officers which were said to be of interest to the DISS. He said the DIS does not enjoy supervisory authority on the operations of the DCEC and therefore has no lawful authority to forcefully demand operational information in the custody of the DCEC. “I must inform you that the DCEC is investigating some officers of the DISS, including its Director General and the Director General of the DISS is alive to this fact,” said Katlholo. He added that, “It is therefore very surprising, if not unlawful, for a suspect, in the form of the Director General of the DISS, to use his position to acquire investigative information against him.”

Katlholo said the DIS was not requesting the DCEC to share any specific information but literally wants unlimited access to all highly classified information possessed by the DCEC Director General and its Staff Officer. “I wish to note here that previously, where the DCEC Director General was asked to share information with the DISS, that was done of course, within the constraints of Corruption and Economic Crime Act (CCA),” he said. Katlholo further indicated that, “In respect of the current developments, the DISS has not requested, and therefore cannot even remotely suggest that the Office of the DCEC Director General has been uncooperative to warrant extra-judicial means to access information and one which may well relate to him personally.”

He said the “Effect of the forgoing is that the confidentiality of all this high profile classified sensitive operational information known by the Director General and Staff Office by virtue of his portfolio of responsibilities will no longer be guaranteed and may be used for personal interest which vitiate public interest.” Therefore, he requested Keetshabe or his representatives to approach court on a certificate of urgency, for an order amongst others declaring that barricading of DCEC office by DIS was unlawful; sealing of the office of the Director General of the DCEC, without a warrant, by the DISS was unlawful and its continuance must seize with immediate effect. He also demanded that “the DISS be and is hereby restrained from interfering with the affairs of the DCEC, operationally or otherwise without lawful authority.” 

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