Monday, March 8, 2021

Police commissioner caught up in illicit gun trade scandal

Botswana Police Service Commissioner, Keabetswe Makgophe is reported to be among police officers who are being investigated by the Criminal Investigation Department for the illegal trade in fire arms.

Makgophe’s alleged investigation is reported to be part of a cloak and dagger attempt by powerful malign business forces to strip the police commissioner of his police uniform. The business community which is reeling from an unprecedented spate of armed robberies has dragged Makgophe into the controversy following compelling evidence that guns stolen from Botswana Police Service Central Arms Registry are being used to arm dangerous criminals. Some have even suggested that the police commissioner is personally culpable in the police illicit gun trade scandal. Sources close to the scandal, however, maintain that Makgophe antagonised powerful business interests when he rejected a number of questionable gun transfers. His decision is reported to have frustrated local investors of are in the fire arms trade.

Indications are that government may have fallen under the spell of the malign influence of the local business community and have cut the police commissioner out of the loop in the ongoing investigations against Botswana Police Service Central Arms Registry In an interview with Sunday Standard, Makgophe insisted that he was not implicated in the theft or illegal issuing of fire arms that has rocked the Central Arms Registry unit. His comments come after Criminal Investigation Department CID and the Directorate of Intelligence Services DIS launched a marathon investigation against the unit sometime late last year. He said his not even aware that he is under investigations. “Neither the Directorate on Corruption and Economic Crime DCEC the DIS nor the Ombudsman have called me to their offices to interview me regarding the matter,” he said.

He explained that in the past eleven years, he had he been trying his luck to own a fire arm but he has never been successful during the raffle, and he has since given up. “I don’t own any fire arm and I don’t have it “he said. Makgophe said he was fully aware of the ongoing investigations against the arms registry adding that he was not part of the investigation team. He said the relevant officer who is behind the investigation is the director of CID. Makgophe stated that he has not yet been briefed about the progress of the investigations by the director of CID therefore he was not in a position to state when the investigations will be completed. “I have to give him his space and time to do his work diligently as always,” said Makgophe.

When asked about the allegations that he is likely to be suspended by the president he replied that “I am aware of such allegations but I do not know where they come from.” He recalls that recently “I was on leave and the media was suggesting I have been suspended which was not true.” Makgophe indicated that these malicious reports that he is corrupt have hurt him but said that he will remain focused on his duties and provide his services to the nation. “I appeal to the media that they should always get their facts right before publishing stories because such false stories can tarnish reputations,” he said.

Contacted for comment, the director of CID Mathews Maduwane told Sunday Standard that “investigations are still ongoing therefore I am not in a position to comment further.” Information passed to the Sunday Standard suggest that some members of the local business community are putting pressure on government to suspend Makgophe. It is reported that Makgophe antagonized the powerful business lobby when he recently turned down some questionable gun transfers, frustrating investors who trade in fire arms.

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