Saturday, November 26, 2022

Katlholo accuses DIS of usurping powers of DCEC, Police

The case in which the Directorate on Corruption and Economic Crime (DCEC) has dragged the Directorate of Intelligence and Security (DIS) to court has escalated into a full-scale jaw- dropping spat.

Former President Ian Khama, a company owned by his brothers- Seleka Springs – and former DIS Director General Isaac Kgosi have now taken centre stage in the row. Also under scrutiny is the National Security Act and the mandate of the DIS.

In his latest answering affidavit deposed in response to Jet Steven Mafuta (Botswana Police Service Officer seconded to DIS), Katlholo states that he intends to address issues of National Security and the mandate of DISS. Katlholo states it was clear that the information being requested is requested for purposes of the functions of the DISS viz National Security.

That information as requested has been provided as late as 28th April 2022 and therefore extinguishes or would have distinguished the need to seal and barricade the DCEC offices, he argued. 

The DIS, according to Katlholo, “has essentially taken over the investigations being undertaken by the DCEC and the Police for abuse office and in order to do this, they need to direct and order the DCEC as to how to carry out its mandate.”

He added that, “I aver that Botswana Police has the mandate to investigate both abuse of office and national security threat.”

He said that, “To my knowledge, the file, which relates to allegation of abuse of office involving Isaac Kgosi is at Registry and is not closed. The complaint (from DIS) as lodged and received did not contain any aspect of national security threat.”

Katlholo said one of his officers, Tsholofelo Bareetsi, informed him that sometime in May 2020, during inter intelligence organisations meeting, the DCEC took an aspect of the investigations into the licensing of guns of Former President Khama from the police. 

He said the Police made a duplicate copy of the file for the DCEC, and an original was retained by the Botswana Police Service (BPS).

“The licensing and registration of the firearms for the Former President was done by my predecessor (Brigadier Matambo) and found not worthy to pursue unless new information came on board. To the best of my knowledge, no such information has been found or placed before me by anyone, least the DISS,” said Katlholo.

 “The decision relating to whether or not to investigate possible abuse of office in line with the provisions of CECA (is the exclusive prerogative of the DG (Director General) of the DCEC without influence from anyone,” Katlholo said.

Katlholo argued that, “the DCEC subjected the material to the elements of abuse of office and found nothing to warrant prosecution. I hasten to add that the Police has mandate to investigate abuse of office and corruption and am not aware and no source has been pleaded as to the involvement of Seleka Springs in the supply and installation of an encryption Solution project to the DCEC.”

He added that, “To the best of my knowledge, the DCEC has no contract with Seleka Springs concerning and relating to the supply and installation of an encryption Solution project. The deponent is put to strict proof.”

Katholo stated that from the DCEC records, the encryption Solution project was provided by Crypto AG based in Switzerland in 2015. The DCEC has never contracted Seleka Springs concerning encryption Solution project, he argued. 

“I am also not aware of any gross irregularities with the tender process. The tender was subjected to the Public Procurement Asset Disposal Board (PPABD), procurement processes,” he said.

He argued that the allegations that the information requested related to procurement is patently false and self-serving and any allegations of National Security as the basis for sealing and barricading the office amount to abuse of office and authority.

 “I was therefore under no obligation to provide all and everything of a contractual nature which the DCEC is bound to and which had no relationship with Seleka Springs,” said Katlholo.

He said the file as it relates to the requisition from DIS relating to encryption solution project “is not in my office.”

“It is an administrative file kept at the Registry. It is for that reason that, even in my absence, the Acting Director was able to act on the request” from DIS, he said.

Katlholo said: “The encryption solution project was intended to safeguard communications of the DCEC and protect the integrity of the investigations of the organisation. There would thus be no need to seal the offices for the reasons of seeking information relating to Seleka Springs and Isaac Kgosi investigations.”

Katlholo indicated that under the Intelligence and Security Service Act, the DIS has the opportunity to request inter agency exchange of intelligence in terms of the National Intelligence Community, in which the DCEC sits through none of its Assistant Director. 

“The DISS shall not in its functions be influenced by considerations not relevant to its functions,” he said.

He said the determination of whether or not a conductor omission constitutes National Security is not a question for the prerogative of the Director General of DIS (Brigadier Peter Magosi).

“As would become apparent in the course of this affidavit neither of the files for which DISS purports to have sealed and barricaded the office of DCEC relate to National Security,” said Magosi.

Katlholo further indicated that, the DISS’ conduct constitutes abuse of office and intended to threaten the DCEC into submission and intimidate its officers by playing a big brother role in its functions.”   He said the request by the DISS, “at least up until this application, has always been based on the mandate of the DISS as it relates to national security of Botswana.”

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