Thursday, October 28, 2021

PAC to snuggle down to serious funds mismanagement

Fireworks are expected at the looming Public Accounts Committee (PAC) as government ministries and departments go under the spotlight notably the Directorate of Intelligence Security Services (DIS), Independent Electoral Commission (IEC), Ministry of Health and Wellness and Ministry of Environment, Natural Resources Conservation and Tourism among others.

The above have been under public scrutiny for the wrong reasons.

PAC looks set for a showdown with the organisation over persistent allegations of misuse of funds and maladministration.

 Cars which are still in mint condition have ran out of their motor plan warranty while grounded at different DISS warehouses. Sunday Standard has established that 70 of the cars have been hidden at a DIS warehouse along the route to the Sir Seretse Khama Airport in Gaborone; 120 have been parked in warehouse in Selibe Phikwe and 60 in Francistown.” 

Head of the DIS Special Task Team ÔÇô codenamed Butterfly, also known as Mmamosadinyana, hired more than 200 agents outside the DIS plan. The recruits continue to draw a combined monthly salary of more than P2 million while staying at home doing nothing because the DIS had not made any preparations on how to absorb them.

The DIS has also wasted millions of Pula on one of their PC 12 planes for intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance (ISR) missions. The system, however, has never worked. The PC 12 surveillance system retrofit included modifying the aircraft operator’s console, display monitors, digital video recorder, a communications audio panel, and controls to deploy and retract the sensor.  The DIS has also wasted money on surveillance cameras at the Sir Seretse Khama International Airport which have also never worked.

The DIS is not subjected to rigorous accounting rules like other government departments and its misuse of funds is a continuum reaching back to the earliest days of the spy agency.

A Parliamentary Committee on Intelligence and Security report marked “Confidential” reveals that the Office of the President is failing to account for some of the “missing” funds that were used to set up the Directorate of Intelligence and Security Services (DIS).

The “missing” funds were diverted from the accounts of the National Disaster Relief Fund (NDRF) under controversial circumstances. 

Earlier reports revealed how the hasty inception of the country’s secret service, on the eve of Khama’s ascension to the highest office, led to the use of unauthorised funds as there was no accounting code for an otherwise non-existent department.

In another regulatory failure the Directorate of Intelligence and Security Services (DIS) Director General, Isaac Kgosi and his inner circle was allowed to divert millions of Pula to a slush fund that push their snout into the trough.

Documents passed to the Sunday Standard also reveal that one of Kgosi’s blue-eyed boys, Alex (surname withheld) who heads the DIS anti-poaching operation was bought a high cost house in Phakalane Estates in 2016 at government’s expense. Alex also bought a personal Toyota Prado SUV and the bill was passed on to the tax payer.

The DIS anti-poaching unit is being accused of running an ivory and diamond smuggling rogue operation. The DIS slush fund is over and above millions of Pula in budgeted tax payers’ money that is splurged on their fat-cat salaries, luxury travel and champagne lifestyle.

One of Kgosi’s female pets, codenamed “Kenya” (real name known to this publication) who was deployed in Mozambique as an intelligence attach├® in 2016 was rented a beachfront villa with a price tag rivalling that of ambassadors.

Documents in Sunday Standard’s possession reveal an itinerary of business class flights for “Kenya” to South Africa, Kenya and Tanzania for meetings with Kgosi, despite austerity measures by government to reserve business class travels exclusively for permanent secretaries.

The Director of DISS is expected to parry such allegations as he is hauled before PAC May on 22.

The IEC is also expected to answer for the controversial introduction of Electronic Voting Machines (EVMs) which has dug deep into the pockets of the taxpayers’ money.

Although the IEC is adamant the public embrace the machines, the mood in the ground point is to the opposite.

Also in the firing line will be the Ministry of Health and Wellness which of late introduced the health policy that denies medical coverage to people who got in alcohol related activities including those associated with suicide and lung cancer.

In another area which appears to border on duplication of duties, DIS and Wildlife Intelligence Unit will be caught in a conflict of interest with the latter arresting some officers of the former over allegations of theft of elephant trophy.

Also under on the spotlight will be the Economic Stimulus Package (ESP) and the Constituency Fund under respective ministries and departments introduced by President Ian Khama administration of late.

PAC examines accounts and statements as well as value for money reports and management performance reports.

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