Saturday, November 28, 2020

Sunday Standard takes BDF to court

Sunday Standard is planning to file an urgent application with the High Court, compelling Botswana Defence Force (BDF) to allow them to cover proceedings of the board of inquiry that is investigating the alleged disappearance of military intelligence gadgets. Newspaper editor, Outsa Mokone wrote to the army commander, Lt General Galebotswe informing him that, “we place you on notice that we would be instructing our attorneys to launch with the High Court an urgent court application to compel you to permit us to cover the proceedings.”

This was after BDF head of public Relations, Colonel Tebo Dikole turned down a request from the Sunday Standard to be allowed to cover the proceedings of the board of inquiry. Dikole insisted that “this is an internal inquiry and only those affected will be allowed to be part of the proceedings. It is not only the media that will be barred from attending the proceedings, even members of the public”, he said. In the letter to the BDF commander, Mokone states that, “with respect, we disagree. Our request is premised on the Constitutional imperative of Freedom of Expression of which Media Freedom is an integral part. “We are of the conviction that the said right deserves to be fully and fearlessly vindicated where it is threatened as in the present case.

For this reason, we place you on notice that we would be instructing our attorneys to launch with the High Court an urgent court application to compel you to permit us to cover the proceedings.” Mokone further states: “in our view, the subject of the enquiry is of public interest in that the equipment that has allegedly gone missing is public property. Not only this, but we also understand that certain prominent public officers, notably Permanent Secretary to the President, Mr. Eric Molale; Commanding Officer, BDF Ground Forces, Brigadier Peter Magosi; Director, Directorate on Intelligence and Security, Mr. Isaac Kgosi; Commanding Officer, Military Intelligence Colonel Cullen Nkete and former Commanding Officer of the same unit, Colonel Bana Pilane, are to participate in the enquiry.

The public would surely have a vested interest in knowing what transpires at the said Board of Enquiry, the role played by the Permanent Secretary to the President, a civilian public officer, in the alleged disappearance of equipment and to also generally understand the circumstances surrounding the alleged disappearance of the said government property.” The Board of Enquiry charged with investigating an alleged disappearance of certain intelligence surveillance equipment is scheduled to convene on the 29th April 2014 at 0800 hours at Sir Seretse Khama Barracks, Mogoditshane.

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