Monday, February 26, 2024

Magosi, Katlholo, Makgophe butting heads

A bitter fight it brewing between the Director General of the Directorate of Intelligence and Security Services (DIS) Peter Magosi on the one hand and the new Director General of the Directorate on Corruption and Economic Crime (DCEC) Tymon Katlholo and the Commissioner of PoliceKeabetswe Makgophe on the other hand over the control of Botswana’s mass surveillance state.

The trio is in agreement against the creation of the Criminal Intelligence and Surveillance Directorate. That is as far as they see eye to eye. Beyond that it is a knock-down, drag-out tussle.

Magosi is understood to be opposing the creation of the new directorate which he believes will create a new centre of power that would intrude on the   DIS mandate. Sunday Standard investigations have turned up information that the DIS seeks to retain under its mandate the power that the draft bill seeks to hive out to the new directorate and is proposing to amend the DIS Act to meet the Financial Action Task Force (FATAF) requirements.

The proposed draft bill follows recommendations by FATF to Botswana that, to help get out of the money laundering grey list, law enforcement agencies should regularise their counter intelligence operations by passing legislation.

FATF is however silent on how the legislation should be crafted.

The Sunday Standard has established that the DCEC and the BPS are also opposed to the creation of the new directorate on the argument that it contravenes the government’s current rationalisation proposals aimed at streamlining government’s agencies and saving costs.

Under the plan, parastatals will need to do with lower or no government subventions and struggling ones such as the Botswana Power Corporation and Water Utilities Corporation will be supported to raise capital on the market. DCEC and BPS are arguing that there will be no funds to sustain a new directorate.

The DCEC and the BPS are also opposed to DIS the displacing the judiciary from overseeing requests for intrusive surveillance warrants. The DCEC and BPS are arguing for greater transparency and accountability by having the warrants issued by the High Court under an amendment to the Criminal Procedures and evidence Act.

The DCEC and the BPS are adamant that the DIS should obtain surveillance warrants under the DIS Act subject to court approval.

It is understood that the divergent views have deepened the tension between the DIS on the one hand and the DCEC and BPS on the other as the two law enforcement agencies feel that the DIS is increasingly overstepping its mandate and encroaching on their turf.

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