Friday, October 23, 2020

State pulls curtains on DISS dirty peep show

The state pulled the curtains last week on a peep show that threatened to reveal how Directorate of Intelligence and Security Services (DISS) Director General Isaac Kgosi threatened Directorate on Corruption and Economic Crime (DCEC) officers who investigated him for corruption.

In a curious turn of events, the DISS withdrew their corruption case against DCEC Principal Anti Corruption Technical Officer (intelligence Unit) Kagiso Magapa who was among the officers tasked with investigating the DISS boss.

The case was withdrawn after Magapa’s lawyer; Dick Bayford indicated that he would be presenting evidence showing how Kgosi had threatened DCEC officers to a point where DCEC Director Rose Seretse appealed to Police Commissioner Keabetswe Makgophe for protection.

Bits of information suggesting that the DISS boss tried to follow his threats through have emerged during the case. Court papers have revealed how one of the men who masterminded the sting operation against Magapa was his long term friend Marema Mathata and was also part of the DCEC team that was investigating Kgosi.

Mathata confirmed in his sworn statement that: ‘’I know Magapa who used to be my colleague whilst we were both with BDF and DCEC. Kagsio was very close to me as such we ultimately got to be family friends while at BDF.”

Mathata however switched sides and joined the DISS as Regional Commander mid-way through the DCEC investigations against the DISS boss. According to the police statement it is clear that Mathata who is former DCEC employee and now DIS Regional officer knows everything about Magapa’s movements and some of his intelligence skills and it appears he was instructed by his superiors to set up a trap to destroy Magapa.

The sting operation partly masterminded by Mathata was meant to catch Kagiso Magapa in the act following an alleged tip off that he was soliciting a bribe from a Somalian car dealer, Mohammed Ali. According to the DISS, Magapa had promised that in return he would stop DCEC investigations against Mohammed Ali.

It however emerged during the trial that Mohammed Ali who was friends with both Magapa and Mathata is a DISS agent and had helped in some of their covert operations in the past. It further emerged that contrary to DISS claims, the DCEC was not involved in any investigations against Mohammed Ali.

DCEC Senior Assistant Director Anele Dudu Ncube who is responsible for sanctioning all cases referred from the assessment panel and allocate them to team leaders for further allocation to staff indicated in court papers that she never assigned anyone to investigate Mohammed Ali.

‘’My records do not show any case that deals with used car dealership or anyone named Mohammed Ali a Somalian car dealer. Thus I have not allocated any case that deals with used car dealership or Mohammed Ali to my team leaders”, said Ncube    

Court records further revealed that the DISS had never established if the DCEC was conducting any investigation against Mohammed Ali and had carried the sting operation against Magapa behind the back of the DCEC.

In another curious development. Lesego Tsholofelo who was part of the sting operation against Magapa was not cited to give evidence and his sworn statement was not presented in court. Dick Bayford, Magapa’s lawyer told the court that Tsolofelo’s statement was not presented in court because there are reports that he was against the operation because he was aware that the operation was purely a personal vendetta plot against Magapa who has investigated their boss. (Isaac Kgosi)

Lesego Tsolofelo, one of the DISS bosses first made headlines when he penned a critical research paper revealing weaknesses and failings of the Botswana spy outfit.

Bayford had argued that the DISS had overstepped its mandate in investigating Magapa because, ‘’the DIS Act does not deal with small matters of bribery but issues of national interest.” He told the court that “it appears that DISS carried out its investigations and after completion called the police just to make up some formality, which is wrong.” 

Bayford said the decision taken by the state to withdraw charges against the accused means that the accused would not be prosecuted again for the same offence due to lack of evidence.

Regional Magistrate Christopher Gabanagae confirmed Bayford’s line of legal understanding saying the accused stand discharged and acquitted.

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