Saturday, May 30, 2020

Kgosi’s raid opens can of worms

Former President Lt Gen Ian Khama and Commissioner of Police Keabetswe Makgophe may be caught in the crossfire as the Botswana Unified Revenue Services (BURS) lifestyle audit on former Director General of the Directorate of Intelligence and Security Services (DIS) Isaac kgosi snowballs into a full scale search and seizure by the Botswana Police, DIS and Directorate on Corruption and Economic Crime (DCEC).

This follows last week’s search by the BURS which turned up items not covered under their search warrant. The search warrant only allowed the BURS to look for documents or storage devices that could assist in an investigation regarding tax issues. The BURS team left behind a number of items not covered under the search warrant and only seized documents relating to the livestock transaction between Kgosi and AfricIntel owner Richard Miles.

Kgosi’s lawyer, Diba Diba confirmed on Friday that the BURS team seized documents from one of Kgosi’s residences which may help in their tax investigations.

The BURS team search also turned up among other things three pistols believed to be unlawfully registered. An investigation on the pistols’ chain of custody revealed that they were supplied by a company that is only authorised to sell arms and ammunition to governments. The Commissioner of Police, Keabetswe Makgophe is expected to be quizzed on circumstances under which he authorised the registration of the three pistols. Former President Lt gen Ian Khama may also be caught up in the investigation on the questionable licencing of pistols and arms of war. Sunday Standard investigations have turned up information that Makgophe may have acted illegally and licensed the former president to own more than a dozen pistols and arms of war among them the Israeli manufactured Galil assault rifle.

The Galil is a family of Israeli made automatic rifles designed by Yisrael Galil and Yaacov Lior and produced by Israel Military Industries (IMI) (now called Israel Weapon Industries (IWI)). The design is closely based on the Valmet Rk 62, which is itself an improved version of the Soviet AK-47.

The BURS search team also allegedly turned up an unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV), commonly known as a drone at one of Kgosi’s residences. The drone is an aircraft without a human pilot aboard. UAVs are a component of an unmanned aircraft system (UAS); which include a UAV, a ground-based controller, and a system of communications between the two. The flight of UAVs may operate with various degrees of autonomy: either under remote control by a human operator or autonomously by onboard computers.

Compared to manned aircraft, UAVs were originally used for missions too “dull, dirty or dangerous”] for humans. While they originated mostly in military applications, their use is rapidly expanding to commercial, scientific, recreational, agricultural, and other applications, such as policing, peacekeeping, and surveillance, product deliveries, aerial photography, agriculture, smuggling, and drone racing.

The team also allegedly left behind a box full of passports which they turned up during their search but were not authorized by the search warrant to seize. The search team only seized documents which are expected to build on earlier findings by the taxman that close to 150 Brahman, Simmental and Charolais cattle changed hands between Richard Miles and Kgosi under shady circumstances. The documents are also expected to strengthen earlier findings by the DCEC that sometime in 2010, the DIS is alleged to have fraudulently awarded AfricIntel a tender worth P100 million to train its intelligence and security personnel.

In turn, AfricIntel subcontracted another British company, Bowman Risk Management to do the training. AfricIntel only provided the premises (for training) and transportation. The total bill by Bowman (the subcontracted company) was just over P1.5 million. Surprisingly, AfricIntel slapped the government with an invoice of P100 million.

Investigations revealed that Bowman’s director, Peter Phelan had submitted all the company’s invoices to the main contractor, AfricIntel, which then inflated the costs by close to P98.5 million.

A dispute subsequently arose between Phelan and AfricIntel because the Bowman’s boss demanded that his share be increased in light of the inflated invoice presented to government. Sunday Standard has established that Phelan has agreed to testify against AfricIntel and Isaac Kgosi. The BURS findings have provided for the first time, information on Kgosi and Richard Miles’ personal relationship, suggesting that the duo may have conspired to defraud government of close to P100 million. The Sunday Standard was however not able to establish if the 130 herd of cattle which changed hands between Richard Miles and Isaac kgosi were linked to the DIS P100 million controversial deal.

Further investigations have revealed that the DIS under Isaac Kgosi allegedly bought training premises at Kgale Mews) from Richard Miles of AfricIntel under dubious circumstances. The premises were also overpriced. The DIS deputy director Tefo Kgothang told DCEC investigators that Kgosi told him he “liked the premises”.

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Sunday Standard May 24 – 30

Digital copy of Sunday Standard issue of May 24 - 30, 2020.