US Congressman, William Jefferson, whose name came up in the Directorate on Corruption and Economic Crime investigations on Debswana, has been charged by the United States Federal Court for soliciting bribes from an American investor in return for getting the investor a satellite transmission license in Botswana.
The DCEC investigations on Debswana is looking at, among other things, the bill that was incurred by the diamond mining company while hosting Congressman Jefferson and his family during the 2003 Christmas holidays. Jefferson was the leader of a team of United States Congressmen that fought in Botswana’s corner during the “diamond for Development Campaign.” The campaign was led by President Festus Mogae. Debswana is understood to have run up a bill of P100 000 when its then Managing Director, Louis Nchindo, hosted Congressman Jefferson, President Festus Mogae and the first family in Kasane. It is believed to have been part of a Debswana-led lobby which saw Congressman Jefferson sponsoring a bill to protect Botswana’s US$ 2 billion-a-year diamond market in America.
Jefferson was this week charged by the United States government for allegedly soliciting bribes from an undisclosed investor in return for official assistance to advance the investor’s efforts to obtain a satellite transmission contract in Botswana.
According to the charge sheet from “March 2002 through Fall 2002 within the District of Colombia and elsewhere, Jefferson demanded and received shares of company A’s gross revenue from satellite transmission contracts it sought in Botswana to be paid to ANJ, a Jefferson family controlled company, all in return for Jefferson’s performance of official acts to advance company A’s efforts to obtain such satellite contracts. These official acts included official travel to Botswana for “meetings with government officials here.”
It also emerged from the charge sheet that on July 7, 2002, Congressman Jefferson made a telephone call to the investor in Maryland asking for a meeting at his official residence in Washington DC to discuss the proposed deal between the investor and ANJ.