Sunday, May 9, 2021

Seretse’s case rattles the “old boys club”

The corruption case against Trade and Industry Minister, Vincent Seretse which was dropped last week promised a rare glimpse into the goings on inside Botswana’s old boys’ network.

Among the big names that either cropped up in court documents or were to take the stand against the minister were Minister of Wildlife and Tourism Tshekedi Khama, Botswana Democratic Party crack lawyer and partner at Collins Newman & Company, Parks Tafa, former cabinet minister and Botswana’s Ambassador to the United States, Tebelelo Seretse, Choppies Managing Director Ramachandran Ottapathu, former Debswana Managing Director Blackie Marole, Former Botswana’s Ambassador to the United Nations Emeldah Mathe, President Khama’s finance man John Little, businessmen Mac Clean Letshwiti and Victor Senye. The case was expected to unravel the cross directorship and of the small but powerful business network which has a firm grip on the country’s economy.

According to the court documents, Seretse attended shareholders/Directors meeting of Drake& Scull Botswana as an alternate Director of Behalf of Paul Paledi.┬á Among other directors of Drake and Scull is Minister of Wildlife and Tourism Tshekedi Khama. Paledi who is charged alongside Seretse is the director of Serala, the company that was given the multi million Pula BTC Nteletsa 11 tender and distributorship of Be Mobile airtime. Choppies Managing Director Ramachandran Ottapathu was expected to testify that Serala distributed beMobile air time through Choppies. Sunday Standard can also reveal that Paledi together with former minister Neo Moroka and Dineo Saleshando wife to Botswana Congress Party (BCP) President were planning to set up an indigenous bank in partnership with Choppies’┬á Ottapathu.

Tshekedi Khama was also whispered in the partnership, but the Sunday Standard has not been able to confirm the claim. Saleshando’s wife who was the on the ground hand for the project had already moved her office to Paledi ÔÇô Morrison offices at the Fairground Office Complex. The planned bank failed to take off because it failed the Bank of Botswana fit and proper requirement. A number of witnesses were also expected to testify that Seretse was director at RPC Data where Paledi was once director.

Shareholders at RPC Data who were to testify are Parks Tafa, Tebelelo Seretse, John Little and Emeldah Mathe.
Other big names that were initially linked to Serala were former Debswana Managing Director Blackie Marole and businessmen Mac Clean Letshwiti and Victor Senye.  The trio were to take a stand against Paledi arguing that it was not true that they are shareholders at Serala (Pty) Ltd and that they are only connected  to Serala through a company called Sugar Loaf (Pty) Ltd.

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