Thursday, June 13, 2024

Masisi blindsides Magosi to appoint Torto

The appointment of Nelson Torto as deputy Director General at the Directorate of Intelligence and Security (DIS) is alleged to have taken Director Peter Magosi by surprise. 

The Telegraph has been reliably informed that President Mokgweetsi Masisi and Permanent Secretary to the President (PSP) Emma Peloetletse worked secretly to make the appointment, catching Magosi off-guard. 

The appointment comes just under three months before Magosi’s contract expires in April 2023. It remains anyone’s guess whether or not Masisi intends to extend the DIS Director’s contract. 

Magosi has reportedly expressed his desire to remain spy boss. PSP Peloetletse was quoted in media reports recently as having acknowledged Magosi’s expression of interest to retain his post but made no promises. 

Torto, previously Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Tertiary Education, Research, Science and Technology has not yet been officially introduced to the agency. 

A source says Torto received his appointment letter while Magosi was preoccupied with the recent 18th Ordinary Session of the Committee of Intelligence and Security Services of Africa (CISSA) conference hosted by DIS in Gaborone between January 29, and February 4, 2023. The Conference was officially opened President Masisi himself. 

It remains unclear why Masisi would appoint a deputy Director General at DIS while the agency’s substantive Deputy Directors Generals Tefo Kgotlhane (Corporate Services) and Kenamile Badubi (Operations) are still serving suspensions. DIS Spokesperson Edward Robert would not comment of Torto’s appointment, referring our enquiries to Office of the President.

“Appointments at the level of directors are handled at the Office of the President through the office of Permanent Secretary to the President,” Robert said. He also refused to comment of Magosi’s contract expiry saying contractual issues remain between the employer and employee.

Magosi remains one of the few substantive top bosses in oversight institutions. He was instrumental in the suspensions of Directorate on Corruption and Economic Crime (DCEC) Director General Tymon Katlholo and Police Commissioner Keabetswe Makgophe. 

The power tussles between Katlholo and Magosi began when the former wrote to Attorney General Abraham Keetshabe informing him that the DCEC was investigating some officers of the DIS, including its Director General charges which the DCEC Director said the spy boss was aware of.  

Katlholo’s letter to Keetshabe was written from Rwanda a day after the DIS sealed off his office as a crime scene, “without any court order to that effect, thereby literally preventing all employees of the DCEC from getting in or out of the premises.”  

Katlholo, who referred to Magosi as a suspect in DCEC corruption investigations, complained to the Attorney General that it was “very surprising if not unlawful, for a suspect, in the form of the Director General of the DIS, to use his position to acquire investigative information against him.” The DCEC Director said at the time they were carrying out investigations on allegations of corruption by some high-ranking officials of the DIS some of which investigations Katlholo said were at an advanced stage and are under consideration for prosecution. 

Magosi stood accused of corruption involving big government tenders including Mmamashia Water Projects, Palapye Water Projects, Moshupa hospital Projects and Police laboratory. The bribes allegedly received by DIS officials were said to be in excess of P100 million. Katlholo was subsequently suspended by President Masisi in June 2022 and remains suspended.

Police Commissioner Makgophe was also suspended by the President following investigations by Magosi relating to firearm licenses reportedly issued to Masisi’s estranged predecessor- former President Lt. Gen Ian Khama.

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