Wednesday, June 19, 2024

The unsung hero who nailed the Nchindo corruption case

When the name of the sparkplug man in the Louis Nchindo high profile case is mentioned, Batswana who have been following the corruption trial may be forgiven for asking Bushie who?

Bushie Moseki, the retired Directorate on Corruption and Economic Crime (DCEC) sleuth who led the investigation into the allegations of corruption is the marathon case’s best kept secret. From being stood up by important sources to living in a suitcase ÔÇô this was all part of his unsung work that went on behind the scene.

I am sitting for an interview with the 53-year-old who has so far managed to keep a low profile, and he is finally catching a breather after a hectic four years.

Taking me through the journey of the case from the tip-off letter that landed on his desk sometime in 2004 to the pile of lever arch files hauled by lawyers into the Gaborone Regional Magistrate Court in 2008, Moseki sums it up in six words: “It was not all smooth sailing.”

And that is putting it mildly.

The team had to investigate difficult bosses at the government enclave, De Beers and Debswana.
“It was not easy investigating or interviewing important sources because often times you would set an appointment and they would not show up,” he remembers. Undaunted, they carried on the difficult investigation, one day at a time. The case took them to Britain and Australia chasing the trail of important sources. It took the patience of a vulture and uncompromising tenacity to stay the course. The team knew the case would rise and fall on their determination.

The result was last week’s judgement by outgoing Gaborone Regional Magistrate, Lot Moroka, in which he convicted Joseph Matome, Garvas Nchindo and the Nchindo family businesses of Galconda and Tourism Development Consortium on all the nine counts of fraud and corruption.

“Had the team been impatient, we would have missed out on vital information and the case would have been lost” says Moseki.

The investigations began sometime in 2004 when DCEC received a tip off through a letter that a piece of land had been acquired illegally. “The letter was from one of the government departments and it was received by Tymon Katlholo, former director of DCEC who has since retired,” he says.

Moseki was called to a conference room together with his team. After a lengthy debate on whether the allegations were worth following, the team felt they may be onto something big.

“At first we were not sure whether it was a big case or not but through discussion and analyzing the information we realized that something could come out of the allegation,” he said.

Around 2005, the team was convinced it had wrapped up the investigation, and submitted the docket to the Directorate of Public Prosecution (DPP).

“We thought we had done a good job. The Directorate of Public Prosecutions however insisted that we should dig up more and strengthen the case before it went to court.”

No sooner had Moseki rested his aching back and wiped the sweat off his forehead than he was back chasing the paper trail again.

When the case was finally registered with the Regional Magistrate Court in Gaborone “the team felt a sense of fulfillment because that was the turning point, to proving we had a strong case against the accused persons”.

Moseki, however, did not stay long enough to listen to his colleagues singing his praises. The investigation had taken its toll on him and he immediately decided to call it a day. He says the fatigue he endured during the four years of intensive investigation drove him to resign.

The beginning of the marathon trial thus marked the end of an illustrious career at the DCEC, which started with a 12 months attachment to the directorate.

The 52-year-old pensioner from Maunatlala Village told Sunday Standard that, “before I joined DCEC I was a police officer (superintendent). Sometime around the year 2000 the then police commissioner, Norman Moleboge, found it fit to attach me to DCEC for 12 months.”

He said after serving the 12 months, the DCEC then decided to take him on full time. He traded his blue police tunic for the DCEC plain clothes as an investigator. Enjoying his early retirement far from the madding crowd, Moseki says, “I am not interested in whether the accused persons are sentenced to jail or not. The most important thing that would make me happy is to see the land given to Botswana so that the government can distribute it to citizens who have not any land.”

The DCEC, however, is still smarting from the loss of one of their crack sleuths who led the investigation in the late Louis Nchindo case from 2004 to 2008. DCEC public relations officer Lentswe Motshoganetsi told Sunday Standard that losing experienced employees like Moseki has a negative impact on the institution and its ability to carry out its mandate.

He said DCEC is currently grappling with a high case load, “therefore the departure, resignation, retirement, or departmental transfer of any officer weighs heavily on the directorate’s smooth administration. Citizens who have been trained and groomed in anti-corruption work are very scarce and not easily replaceable,” Motshoganetsi said.

RELATED STORIES

Read this week's paper