Monday, February 26, 2024

Katlholo, Pilane go for each other’s jugular

Bitter recriminations between suspended Director General of the Directorate on Corruption and Economic Crime (DCEC) Tymon Katlholo and Acting Director General Tshepo Pilane have intensified with the government jumping on the bandwagon. 

As the bitter slaying match between Katlholo and Pilane escalated, the latter has also come out in defence of the Directorate of Intelligence and Security (DIS).

In the latest barb which also shows how the DCEC has broken into rivaling camps, Pilane did not take kindly to Katlholo’s decision to liken the arrest of some DCEC officers to “Hitler style arrangement.” 

Court papers also show that the government has come to Pilane and his purported camp’s defence. 

The Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Presidential Affairs and Public Administration Goitsemang Morekisi has instructed the Attorney General to “Defend Tshepo Pilane, Priscilla Israel and Edwin Batsalelwang.”

Recently Katlholo approached the Court accusing Pilane (First Respondent), Israel (Second Respondent), Batsalelwang (Third Respondent) of failing to comply with a court order delivered by Justice Reuben Lekorwe.

The order among others directed that the deputy sheriff accompanied by the Registrar shall attend at the DCEC offices and take custody of documents/dockets that were demanded by the DIS for the “the preservation of evidence and in the two offices currently sealed as crime scene by DIS and be held in the custody of the High Court.”

In a strongly worded opposing affidavit, Pilane argued that the decision by Katlholo to cite the Attorney General (representing DIS) in his contempt application was a vehicle through which he could take jabs at DIS. Pilane also rebuked Katlholo for “waging a personal attack on the government that he works for.”

“I aver that his citation was an avenue for the applicant to sneak a backdoor attack on the DIS,” said Pilane.  He also denied that the Deputy Director General of Operations at DCEC Priscilla Israel informed Katlholo that he was being investigated by the DIS.

“This is a fabrication and continued assault on the DIS by the Applicant (Katlholo),” said Pilane.

He said Katlholo was only being reminded by Israel that in terms of his suspension he was being investigated for various infractions and that his presence at DCEC’s offices and his demand for access to DCEC file was a violation of his suspension.

Pilane also told the Court that as the acting Director-General, “I had the authority to grant access to Deputy Sheriff and the Registrar and to hand over the files in which to our knowledge were demanded by DIS.”

“I humbly aver that as the Acting Director-General of the DCEC, I became a beneficiary of the court order and thus had the right to open offices and hand over the DCEC files which were the subject of the DIS demands,” said Pilane.

Defending his decision to open the offices which were sealed as per a previous temporary court order, Pilane said, “I was and am in a good position to point out the files which were needed to be preserved for purposes of the review application in so far as such application is meant to defend the administration and operational activities of the DCEC…”

He added that, “There was therefore, no basis upon which the applicant who has now been suspended from duties could be in a better position than myself to guard the interests of the DCEC.”

He said the, “Premises upon which the applicant approaches this matter is erroneous.”

“I say so simply because the order of this court was never against the 1st to the 3rd respondent nor the DCEC,” Pilane argued.

Pilane said it was incorrect to allege that they “went to great lengths to ensure that it is not complied with.”

“It is not surprising that when the applicant finds no ground upon which this court can convict us for contempt he turns to his tried and tested tactic. Attack on the DIS!” said Pilane.

He further stated that, “I correctly handed over to the Deputy Sheriff the files which Mr. Mafuta (DIS agent) has interviewed me about. I was the one who was being interviewed and I have direct knowledge of all files that the DIS sought.” 

Pilane indicated that Katlholo’s “fury against the DIS has blinded him from engaging meaningfully and in a balanced manner with the issues before the court.”

“I humbly aver that the DCEC files demanded by the DIS have been duly deposited into the custody of the Registrar. I say so because I was the one who was interviewed by the DIS investigator,” said Pilane.

He said, “The return by the applicant to his favourite subject the DIS and his agents has no factual basis at all. It has not been stated how they obstructed or impeded the implementation of the court order.” 

Pilane also denied that the “DIS has been assisted to conceal any evidence nor has there been any obstruction of the judicial process. There are no acts of defiance against the judiciary or the Constitution of Botswana.”

“I deny there is illegality on our part nor is there any assistance which we have rendered to the DIS,” said Pilane adding that, “All the evidence placed before this court does not point any infraction by the DIS.”

He said, “For the applicant to equate his colleagues who are mandated by the same Act that he is subject to as minions and appendages of the DIS is not only disrespectful but a violation of the modicum of decorum expected of a senior ranking public servant.”

Pilane said: “It is a grave matter for a senior-ranking public servant to accuse his colleagues in the civil service of acting in a manner that equates to Nazism.”

“His personal crusade against the very government he works for betrays a clear plan to use the court as a venting ground,” said Pilane. He added that, “I am perplexed that in his application he accuses employees of the Directorate to be in contempt of a court order and finds a space to sneak in grossly unsubstantiated attacks against the Directorate of Intelligence and Security.”

Pilane accused Katlholo of doing this “when it is clear from the papers that the DIS has had no role to play in the implementation of the order of this court and has not been cited as a party to these proceedings.”


Read this week's paper