Thursday, September 21, 2023

Khama was taking flying lessons ahead of luxury jet arrival

Botswana government is now convinced that a decision to buy P100 million luxury jet was a pretext to extend to Khama benefits that are not due to him and not provided in law.

This is confirmed by the fact that up until his last days in office, former President Ian Khama was busy taking flight lessons, learning how to fly a PC-24, a luxury jet that will be delivered to the Government of Botswana in the near future.

This, it is now clear was in anticipation of the arrival of a brand new luxury jet purchased by the DIS (Directorate of Intelligence Services.)

DIS has been under immense criticism to account why it purchased the jet in the first place.

The new head of DIS, Peter Magosi has taken a decision that when the jet arrives he will hand it over to Vice President Slumber Tsogwane and other cabinet ministers for official use.

Magosi is of the view that DIS does not need the jet as it already has two similar model.

Magosi however cannot refuse delivery of the Swiss made PC-24 because it had been fully paid for before he was appointed.

A decision by Government to deny him access to the jet is believed to be one of the reasons why Khama has been full of tantrums lately.

Information provided to Sunday Standard by a former member of Khama’s security detail is that Khama was using PC-12 aircraft owned by the Directorate of Intelligence Services for his flying lessons.

“It was common knowledge among us that the new jet was purchased specifically for him. That is why he had started taking lessons so that he could also be able to fly himself when the jet arrived,” said the security officer.

Khama is an avid flier. But a directive from Government has since precluded him from flying Government aircraft.

Made by the same company, PC-12 and PC-24 are not much different. The PC24 is superior as it is powered by two Jet engines while the PC12-NG is powered by a single engine turbo-prop.

Information that Khama was taking flying lessons will further buttress widespread belief in government that the former Director General of the DIS, Isaac Kgosi had bought the P100 million luxury jet specifically for Khama in anticipation of the fact that once out of office Khama will not have ready access to presidential jet OK1, the Canadian made Bombadier Global Express.

PC 24 is able to land on gravel and also on shorter runways and landing strips such as in the tourism areas frequented by Khama.

It is mostly used by mining executives who visit their operations in the hinterlands.

Khama only stopped taking these lessons when his relationship with his successor, Mokgweetsi Masisi began to visibly deteriorate.

One of the nagging questions asked has been why the DIS found it fit and appropriate to purchase such a luxurious and expensive jet when it already owned two lower model derivatives.

Writing in then Sunday Standard recently, an aviation expert reached a conclusion that DIS did not need the PC-24.

“The Directorate on Intelligence and Security Services (DISS) is about to take delivery of a brand new Pilatus PC-24 twin jet engine aircraft,” he said

“ Swiss media outlets have recently been carrying stories bearing pictures of the new DISS airplane, the airplane bears Botswana flag colours and carries registration mark DS-1 and is assigned manufacturer serial number (114). The DISS already owns two Pilatus PC-12NG aircrafts. Which raises the question, does the DISS need the PC-24 jet aircraft?”

His answer was an emphatic “No.”


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