Monday, January 17, 2022

Masisi calls motion on probing BDF tenders ‘mischievous’

Presidential Affairs and Public Administration minister, Mokgweetsi Masisi, has dismissed a motion calling for a probe at Botswana Defence Force (BDF) tenders as mischievous and targeted at specific individuals.

Commenting on a motion tabled by Francistown South legislator, Wynter Mmolotsi, calling for a probe at BDF tenders from the year 1990 to 2000, Masisi told parliament that the motion was riddled with allegations and perceived wrongdoing.

The minster argued that the motion could compromise Botswana security interests, adding that parliament ought to endorse and debate motions which were in the national interest.

“What is so unique about the years 1990 to 2000?” he questioned rhetorically. “If he has any information regarding any allegations of corruption at BDF, why not report the matter to the Directorate on Corruption and Economic Crime (DCEC),” Masisi said.

He added that the DCEC is the appropriate authority since parliament had given it a mandate to investigate claims of corruption.

The minister said that besides DCEC, government also has an internal audit system as well as a committee that specialises in assessing security related issues.

“We have the Public Accounts Committee (PAC), why can’t we allow them to investigate?” he said.

Masisi added that, by its nature, the BDF was a secretive organization and as such any investigation has to be done by a system that is best placed. Masisi said that in his view a commission of inquiry was not ideal.

Earlier on, the Member of Parliament for Tati East, Guma Moyo, proposed an adjournment to allow the mover of the motion to amend and make it clearer.

“There is need to give it some terms of reference,” he said, adding that Mmolotsi had obviously been irked by issues that raise an eyebrow.

“As it stands the motion lacks clarity,” he said. “The motion ought to reflect that parliament wants the commission to investigate whether there was nepotism, favouritism and corruption during the indicated time,” suggested Moyo.

Mmolotsi is pushing for a motion calling for an investigation of the award of millions worth of BDF tenders during the time when Presient Ian Khama was head of the army.

He says he wants to know why BDF tenders were never advertised and how those that ended up supplying the army with food, clothing, equipment and vehicles got information about the tenders.

RELATED STORIES

Read this week's paper