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Home » News » General » Kgosi mocks PAC in P250 million probe

Kgosi mocks PAC in P250 million probe

Publishing Date : 16 April, 2018

Author : ALFRED MASOKOLA

The parliamentary committee tasked with examining government books, Public Accounts Committee (PAC) was left helpless this week  as Intelligence chief, Isaac Kgosi refused to divulge vital information relating to Directorate on Intelligence Security Services’ (DISS) involvement in the P250 million National Petroleum Fund (NPF) scandal.


When appearing before the PAC on Thursday, the overly confident and resolute Kgosi, who was persistently called to order by committee chairperson, Dithapelo Keorapetse, refused to discuss the correspondences between his organisation as well as that of Ministry of Minerals, Green Technology and Energy Security on the issues surrounding the disbursement of the P230 million from the NPF to the DIS. “I cannot discuss or comment on anything that is classified unless it is de-classified,” said Kgosi.


Despite committee members, Ignatius Moswaane in particular, questioning the DIS director about the sensitivity or reasons for classifying information involving transfer of public funds from one government department to another, Kgosi was unyielding, reiterating that the contents of the letters were not subject to discussion until they are de-classified. Moyo Guma, and the acting chairperson of the PAC, Keorapetse were unimpressed by the posture and attitude of Kgosi, telling him several times that he was not cooperative, and to some certain extent ‘rude’.


The letter, which was eventually read by the Tati East legislator who is a member of the PAC, Moyo Guma, reveals that Energy Ministry’s authorities, under the guidance of  then Acting Permanent Secretary  Dr Obolokile Obakeng approved Kgosi’s request for P250 million to build fuel tank reserves in strategic places. Kgosi advised in one of the letters that the money be disbursed to Khulaco Pty Ltd, a company which paid suppliers on behalf of the DIS.


When asked to share with the committee his relation with Khulaco Pty Ltd, Kgosi refused to discuss the matter, saying he will not comment because the company is subject to the ongoing court case regarding money laundering charges laid against Bakang Seretse and Botho Leburu, the directors of the company. Efforts by Guma and Keorapetse to coerce Kgosi to share information with the committee with regards to the company drew blanks as the intelligence chief declined.


Kgosi also refused to reveal to PAC whether if the former president, Lt Gen Ian Khama or then his deputy Mokgweetsi Masisi were aware of the P250 million transactions, insisting that “he does not share information he discussed with his principals”. The DIS boss also declined to give information to the committee with regards to his discussion with the Ministry of Finance and Development Planning. He was asked by the committee chairperson, Keorapetse what discussions the DIS director had with the Ministry of Finance officials.


Although Kgosi refused to divulge the nature of discussion involving the DIS and Ministry of Finance, there is evidence that the discussions are relating to a cabinet directive issued in February telling Kgosi to return over P110 million he took from the petroleum fund to buy security equipments. The P250 million which is subject of investigation when the money from the NPF which was initially meant to build fuel storages was diverted to buy security equipments that were supposedly meant to help in the anti-poaching mission.


DIS TRANSACTIONS WERE ILLEGAL

According to committee member, Ndaba Gaolathe of Gaborone Bonnington South, in reference to the Public Finance Management Act, the decision to divert the money initially intended for Fuel Storage reserves for another project was illegal. This is so because the NPF can only fund projects which are related to its mandate and not anything else. Gaolathe said the proper procedure would have been a permission sought from the Ministry of Finance and Economic Management, which is the custodian of public finances in Botswana.


Gaolathe indicated that the Ministry of Minerals, Green Technology and Energy Security officials who approved the transaction did not have the authority to do so. The Gaborone Bonnington South lawmaker further revealed that, the DIS project, which was eventually funded by the Petroleum Fund, did not pass proper requirements for it to meet the funding requirement. Gaolathe said the Act which established DIS compels Kgosi to get approval from the Central Intelligence Committee (CIC) for security assessment such as the one which DIS spent the money on.


Kgosi however said as far as he is concerned he is in charge of matters relating to national security and he may act time to time to divert the threats. Kgosi said he is chief advisor to government on issues relating to national security. The conceited spy boss declined to share with the committee whether DIS had previously sourced money from other government ministries, revealing that the question was improper, and therefore he would not answer.


KGOSI TO RE-APPEAR BEFORE PAC

The acting committee chairperson, Keorapetse said the PAC will summon Kgosi to give more evidence next week, this time around with the possibility of compelling him to reveal the information he refused to divulge before the committee.  Keorapetse, who is also legislator for Selebi Phikwe West said the committee will summon the Botswana National Archives and Records Services accounting officer to give evidence and advice on classified information, which Kgosi used as an excuse not to share information with the committee.


Keorapetse further stated that the committee will invoke the Standing Order relating to the Powers and Privileges of the National Assembly to compel Kgosi to give information that is he refused to give, failing which it will be contempt, which will attract the wrath of the law. 

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