Thursday, December 2, 2021

Poaching gets more sophisticated – DIS Director

Director General (DG) of the Directorate on Intelligence Services (DIS), Peter Magosi has told the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) that a spike in poaching activities in Botswana is concerning.

Giving his executive summary, the accounting officer said: “Today, what we’ve realised is that poachers use sophisticated types of weaponry. They use communicational satellites and GPSs, and this is still one of the things that we are observing.” 

Magosi said there is an indication of interactions with locals at high and low levels. Regarding the movement of poachers into the country, he said there is assistance that comes from outside in terms of transportation and route identification. “There is assistance that takes place within the boundaries of this country, and human action alone is not enough,” Magosi said. 

The head of the intelligence unit said it is high time government invests in technology that will assist them in tackling the finesse of today’s poachers. He reminded the PAC that addressing the issue of sophisticated poaching will have an impact in terms of fighting terrorism. “I still strongly believe that we are aiding terrorism inadvertently because we don’t have the strong eyes to see beyond where we can see,” Magosi eerily stated.

In his earlier remarks to members of parliament (MPs), Magosi expressed concern over leaky inter-agency co-operations with the government. 

“One of the major things that really worry us is the porousness of our borders, the porousness of our entire government Information Technology (IT) system, and the porousness of our aviation security,” the DG said. 

Magosi added that the fact that Botswana still has a situation whereby money moves without using the correct channels from banks, as DIS it to them, they look at that as a conducive environment for terrorism financing. 

“We still do believe that this country could be part of terrorism financing, but unaware that is happening, and for us to close those gaps, there is a need for us to improve on our technical capabilities, and those capabilities are quite expensive, and we believe that is our role is to advise the government on the limitations that are there,” Magosi reiterated. 

Chairman of the PAC, Dithapelo Keorapetse, also Selebi-Phikwe West MP, had said to Magosi that they are not happy with DIS figures on performance and audit examinations. 

“I think what we need to do from here is to make sure that you conform to the required standards and also work closely with the ministry of finance, especially the accountant general when you do your figures,” he said. Keorapetse added that the figures are not usually like this since sitting in the PAC.  

Magosi told the PAC that soon DIS would start producing public annual reports on its expenditure and operations. “We have a lot of work to do in the organization. We will have the annual reports, however we want to do the annual report in a professional manner. We want to rebuild the different units to have a moving and smooth system that is well connected,” Magosi said.

The DIS had not been audited from 2009-2018, and has commenced a 10-years financial audit in 2018 and are still awaiting finalization of the report before making it public.

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