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Khama, Masisi disown NPF scandal

Publishing Date : 10 April, 2018

Author : TEBOGO KGALEMANG|ALFRED MASOKOLA

The defence attorney in the controversial money laundering scandal, Kgosietsile Ngakaagae had to be rescued by Regional Magistrate Christopher Gabanagae for him to freely present his case and name his alleged beneficiaries of the P250m in question as prosecution officials kept interjecting every time he mentions a name of the top government official. 


In what initially seemed to be a usual mention, things subsequently took a nasty turn after several futile attempts by Ngakaagae to have his clients’ bail conditions relaxed. The prosecution of three-man team called the Directorate on Corruption and Economic Crime (DCEC) investigating officer Andria German to brief the court on the complexity of the investigations and the danger of releasing the passports to the accused persons.


German told the court that their investigations have so far been extended to outside the country, “Specifically South Africa, Italy and UK. We uncovered materials that are of evidential value that have been hidden in these jurisdiction. And the materials are linked to Bakang and other persons not before court,” he noted. “If bail conditions were to be relaxed, there would be prejudice on our investigations.”


It was then that Ngakaagae asked the investigator if Bakang’s co-accused Botho Leburu and Kenneth Kerekang occupied any specific accounts and materials in the alleged jurisdictions and the investigator responded in the negative. He also stated that while he did not know whether Bakang also held any account outside, but he was linked to some property in South Africa.


Ngakaagae then insisted that the investigator mention the place and properties in question so that his clients assist him (investigator) with any information and documentation they needed, but the investigating officer refused. Ngakaagae then asked what harm Leburu and Kerekang would do since they did not hold anything outside the boundaries of Botswana, but the investigating officer stated that they were nonetheless a threat to their investigations.


It was then that Ngakaagae charged and asked the investigating officer if he was aware that the DISS boss Isaac Kgosi wired P118m from the money in question to Israel, when the Prosecution Senior Counsel Wesson Mantswe interjected and said it was not in order to talk about Kgosi in his absence.


Ngakaagae then stated that he was trying to prove to the court that his clients were not a threat in any way as the big fish involved in the matter were walking free men. The magistrate then ruled that Ngakaagae should be left to cross-examine the investigator. He then asked the investigator the question again where he responded in the affirmative. His follow up question was whether he has also seized Kgosi’s passport and the response was in the negative.


Ngakaagae went on and revealed that President Ian Khama, his vice Mokgweetsi Masisi, Ministers Thapelo Olopeng and Sadique Kebonang and Satar Dada on behalf of the BDP benefitted from the money at the centre of dispute. He was however told to hold his submissions when he first mentioned Khama, and was again rescued by the magistrate citing that he was only cross-examining the investigating officer. According Ngakaagae, Khama’s caravan as well as a house built for him was financed through the National Petroleum Fund.


Meanwhile Masisi, who will succeed Khama as president at the beginning of April, is reported to have been given P3 million from the fund. Other beneficiaries include Minister of Youth Empowerment, Sport and Culture  Thapelo Olopeng, whom the court heard he got P70 000 from the accused; long time party treasure Satar Dada as well as Minister of Minerals, Energy and Green Technology Advocate Sadique Kebonang.


Ngakaagae told Gaborone Regional Magistrate Christopher Gabanage this week that he was still to expose more people to try and help the DCEC with investigations because they were doing a shoddy job. The DCEC chief investigator Andria German confirmed that Masisi was questioned with regard to the money which was given to him, but claimed ignorance on the benefit attributed to President Khama. Khama will leave office at the end of this month.


Yesterday (Friday) government released a statement denying that Khama and Masisi did not ‘withdraw’ money from the Petroleum fund. “This office has noted reports to the effect that H.E the President and His Honour the Vice President have received money from the National Petroleum Fund (NPF),” reads the statement.


“While we are reluctant to comment on allegations emanating from a matter that is currently before the courts, we wish to reassure the Public that His Excellency the President and His Honour the Vice President have not received money and/ solicited funds from the NPF.”
Olopeng has also come clean on the matter, as he shared on his media platforms that he has very met or asked for financial help from Seretse.  “I have no business with the said fund and I have never asked for financial assistance from anybody who deals with this fund,” said Olopeng.


“So who ever mentioned my name in this matter was malicious, and he obviously has an agenda to tarnish my name. I give him permission to produce evidence and share it with the public.” A statement from Olopeng’s attorneys, Modimo and Associates categorically distances the Minister from Ngakaagae’s allegations.

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