Friday, May 14, 2021

Spy tapes ÔÇô DISS preferred suppliers probed for collusion, tax evasion

Directors of two companies which were given tenders running into tens of millions of Pula by the Directorate of Intelligence and Security Services under questionable circumstances may be prosecuted for collusion and tax evasion ÔÇô Sunday Standard investigations have revealed.

The two directors ÔÇô who cannot be named because of the DCEC interdict against the Sunday Standard have already appeared before a panel of DCEC investigators and called by the Botswana Unified Revenue Services (BURS) to clarify their tax status.

Confidential videotapes recorded in March 2012 by senior investigators (names withheld) of the DCEC reveal that although the two directors were paid millions of pula separately for contracts that did not go through the normal tender process, they were also joint directors in another company that was also awarded millions of tender by the DISS under questionable circumstances.

A Motswana investor with strong links to the DISS allegedly formed a construction company with a foreign national who is linked to DISS Director General, Isaac Kgosi so that the foreigner could qualify for construction projects reserved for citizens. The Motswana citizen, who is listed as director, alongside the foreign national told DCEC investigators that he had initially shown interest in property and had approached the foreign national who was also into construction to discuss the matter. The citizen businessman told the investigators that he later abandoned his interest in company.

Without elaborating, he revealed that if he had been appointed one of the directors of the controversial company it could have resulted in a conflict of interests.

The investigated insisted that he was one of the company’s directors. However, the citizen businessman denied that at no stage had he been one of the directors of the company. He said he did not recall signing forms confirming his appointment as one of the directors of the company.

However the investigators showed him records from the Registrar of Companies that he was one of the company’s directors since 2010. The citizen businessman insisted that his signature on the records had been forged.“This is not my signature. I’m upset about it,” he said.

The DCEC investigators suggested that the foreign national wanted to appoint the citizen businessman as one of the directors and as a local director so that the company could qualify for tenders from Public Procurement and Disposal Board (PPADB), the citizen investor said ininitially that was the foreign national’s idea.

“He had mentioned that and that is why the next thing I did was to tell him that I did not want shares in the company. My interests were pure and simple; to move into construction. He said he had entered into verbal agreement with the foreign national and later told him to remove him from the deal.

It also emerged that the two businessmen were on a number of occasions paid in cash for tenders running into millions of Pula, and the DCEC suspected that the money was not declared to BURS. The DCEC alerted BURS to investigate the transactions, and the tax man has already initiated investigations.

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