Sunday, May 22, 2022

Khama twins lose P3 billion arms deal tussle

Tshekedi and Anthony Khama who are behind Seleka Springs, Botswana’s biggest arms supply brokers have lost their bid to block Botswana Defence Force’s (BDF) close to P3 billion procurement of wheeled armoured vehicles from Switzerland which was brokered by a rival arms dealer.

The State Secretariat for Economic Affairs (SECO) on Friday is listed Botswana among the five largest importers of Swiss war materiel for 2021. The first was Germany (with deliveries worth CHF123.4 million), followed by Denmark (CHF96 million), the US (CHF90.2 million), Romania (CHF87.1 million) and Botswana (CHF63.5 million) about P790 million.

The Khama twins have been trying to block BDF’s from procuring Piranha armoured vehicles from General Dynamics Switzerland since 2016. Global Dynamics whose agent is Abe Mbaakanyi is one of very few arms suppliers who are not affiliated to Seleka Springs.

The then BDF commander, Lt Gen Galebotswe found himself on the crosshairs of the Khama twins for insisting on the procurement of the Piranha armoured vehicles.

In May 2016, much to the chagrin of the Khama twins, the BDF placed an order for 45 Piranha 8×8 armored vehicles made by General Dynamics in Switzerland.

Botswana paid nearly P 2 billion ($182 331.188 USD) on the 45 Pirhana 8×8 armored vehicles to General Dynamic European Land Systems Mowag and turrets armed with 30 mm guns.

The 2016 order comprised of several other military equipment including a Unimog- mounted Mistral Coordination Post, a Panhard VBL armored vehicle fitted with what appears to be a Mistral launcher assembly a VL MICA missile transporter-erector-launcher truck and a VL MICA truck mounted radar or command post vehicle.

In May 2020, the first batch equipment were delivered overland via Namibia. The latest P 1 billion procurement announced last week by SECO is believed to be over and about the P2 billion procurement made in 2016.

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