By Khonani Ontebetse & Reuben Pitse
Thatayaone Seduke, the preferred supplier of the Directorate of Intelligence and Security (DIS) has broken his silence over his alleged personal relationship with the agency’s former Director Isaac Kgosi and former President Ian Khama.
In a wide ranging interview, Seduke who generally declines to react to media queries confirmed that he has been investigated by the Directorate on Corruption and Economic Crime (DCEC) as part of the agency’s investigation against Kgosi and former Minister of Education Unity Dow among others.
The man who is otherwise called Tizza is the director of Defence Concepts.
The company was DIS preferred supplier at the time when Kgosi was at the helm of the spy agency.
He confirmed that he had been awarded tenders by the DIS since 2008.
When asked how he got to know about the availability of such tenders since they were hardly made public, Seduke said like any company he had been ‘marketing’ his products and services, hence DIS made a direct appointment after he had approached them.
“In the process they killed their procurement process and decided to approach my company. In my marketing strategy I demonstrated and advanced what the merit of contracting my company was,” he said.
According to Seduke, it was for DIS management to ensure that procurement procedures were followed.
“Since I received government purchase orders and supplied products and rendered services as required by the procuring entity (DIS) it was for it to ensure that due procurement as provided in the PPADB Act were followed,” he said. When asked if he had a contractual agreement with DIS since 2008, Seduke said “The only thing I know is hard work. I didn’t have a contract with them. I only provided service as and when required. We did work for them for 6 years of which one was for fencing solution. As for other services, we can’t share because they touch on security issues.”
He said it is the procuring entity that must ensure that procurement procedures are followed. He said procurement issues have to go to management so that they follow due procedure as the procuring entity.
“As the service provider I can market to anybody. It is the procuring entity’s responsibility to ensure that they follow their procurement procedures; there is nothing illegal for me to make a proposal to a government entity like DIS.”
When asked if he had any personal relationship with Kgosi, Seduke said he had a working relationship with Kgosi “due to the fact that he is someone who is hands on.”
“Kgosi was someone who was hands on. Botswana is very small, and like said, I do not have a business on the side with him. There is no department that was treating me with kid gloves as alleged. If there are any why can’t those departments come out now and lay charges against me if they were afraid of me because of the former administration?” he asked.
He confirmed being interviewed by DCEC around 2012 in relation to the tenders his company was awarded by DIS.
“Yes DCEC has investigated me. The allegations surrounded us being engaged by DIS, that was around 2012 and I submitted a statement to DCEC. Since then they have never approached me in relation to those issues.”
Asked to share what the DCEC could have unearthed, Seduke said one is not allowed to share the contents of DCEC investigations. “They never give one feedback that you have been cleared or not, its common practice, that is how they operate.”
Asked if since 2012, there has been any law enforcement that has investigated him and his companies, Seduke said Botswana Unified Revenue Services (BURS) interrogated him to find out if he was under declaring. He said it was discovered that he was under declaring and he was penalized.
“As Batswana we stigmatize the mandate of BURS when they audit our companies. This does not mean that there is always something wrong. It’s to encourage compliance. They have audited me before and it was not the first time and it was nothing unusual. In terms of a penalty there is nothing unusual, there were discrepancies,” he said.
Asked if he had been approached by the DIS led by Brigadier Peter Magosi recently to question him about his relationship with Kgosi and the circumstances that led to him being the preferred bidder, Seduke answered in the negative. Recently reports indicate that the Magosi led entity was “smoking out” some individuals who have connections with Kgosi and might have benefited from DIS tenders unprocedurally.
Quizzed on allegations that he is also one of the allies of former President Khama, Seduke said “I don’t even know the former president personally; I greeted him three times in my life.”
We met few times as patron of flying club.”
He said he was aware of allegations that he was fronting for some influential individuals in the society. “There is nothing for me to hide. There has never been an influential individual who is a shareholder or has beneficial interest in my companies. Companies and Intellectual Property Authority (CIPA) is there to find out,” he said.