Saturday, July 11, 2020

Motsepe threatens to sue Sunday Standard

Bridgette Motsepe Radebe’s lawyers, Edward Nathan Sonnenbergs Inc has confirmed that Mmakau Mining has paid an undisclosed amount to Avante Security in Gaborone, but is disputing the amount stated by the Sunday Standard.

The newspaper reported last week that the Financial Intelligence Agency (FIA) had frozen Avante Security Services bank accounts in Botswana on suspicion that the company was used by Motsepe-Radebe to launder money for Pelonomi Venson ÔÇô Moitoi’s presidential campaign.

This was after FIA received reports of suspicious transactions between Mmakau Mining and Avante Security Services. Bridgette Motsepe Radebe is the founder and Executive Chairperson of Mmakau Mining PTY (Ltd).

In a letter to Avante Security dated 8th April 2019, the law firm with stated that it was acting on behalf of Radebe and Mmakau Mining Pty (Ltd) stated that: “We are instructed that while Mmakau Mining Pty Limited has made payments to Avante for consultancy services, the payments did not amount to anything near P10 million.” The law firm did not disclose the amount that was paid to Avante Security, but threatened to sue the Sunday Standard for the “inaccurate” report.

Meanwhile, fresh information has emerged suggesting that Motsepe-Radebe joined hands with powerful tourism interests to back former President Lt Gen Ian Khama and Pelonomi Venson Moitoi’s bid to oust President Mokgweetsi Masisi.

Sunday Standard has turned up audio tapes in which tourism magnate Derek Joubert, South African mining multi millionaire Bridget Motsepe Radebe and Venson- Moitoi’s son Kabelo Binns are discussing how to fund the campaign to topple Masisi as President of the Botswana Democratic Party (BDP).

The Sunday Standard could not establish if international tourism outfit Wilderness Safaris was involved in the campaign. Both Joubert and Khama who were backing Venson-Moitoi’s bid are big investors in Wilderness Safaris while Kabelo Binns handles the advertising and public relations business for the company.

Sunday Standard can reveal that while Bridgette Motsepe and her charges were trying to marshal the South African media in their campaign for Venson-Moitoi’s presidential bid, Joubert was leading an international campaign against President Masisi’s attempt to lift Botswana’s hunting ban.

The Environment, Wildlife and Tourism Ministry Permanent Secretary (PS), Thato Raphaka has said government has been monitoring Joubert’s tirade for a long time.

“We are aware of his communications and we have been keeping an eye on him. His anti-trophy hunting has a potential to sabotage development of this country and the tourism sector which is the second largest revenue earner,” said Raphaka.

The PS said government suspicion is that his smear campaign against Botswana is meant to satisfy his own personal interests.

A close friend to former President Ian Khama, Joubert is on a tirade even threatening that Botswana’s move to lift hunting ban will have serious consequences since most of his campaigns are targeted towards American tourists who prefer Botswana.

In his anti trophy campaign Joubert has attracted a number of criticisms against his campaign from locals and international conservationists while he has also attracted some animal welfare fanatics who have threatened that they will not come to Batswana if government goes ahead with the lifting of trophy hunting.

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Sunday Standard July 5 – 11

Digital copy of Sunday Standard issue of July 5 - 11, 2020.