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Home » News » General »  Chief DCEC investigator reinstated

Chief DCEC investigator reinstated

Publishing Date : 14 May, 2018

Author : ALFRED MASOKOLA

Head of Investigations Unit at the Directorate on Corruption and Economic Crime (DCEC), Itumeleng Phuthego, has returned to work following a controversial decision to put him on indefinite suspension.


WeekendPost has it in good authority that, Phutego was among individuals who were restored to their positions in the civil service following the ascendance of President Mokgweetsi Masisi to the state presidency last month. Phuthego reported for duty three weeks ago, WeekendPost can reveal.


Meanwhile in his absence, a new director general, Bruno Paledi was appointed, replacing Rose Seretse who has since joined the newly formed Botswana Energy Regulator Authority (BERA). The ascendancy of President Masisi has seen him making several key decisions with deployment in government agencies, including the sacking of Isaac Kgosi, the former Director of Directorate of Intelligence and Security Services (DIS).


Information gathered by this publication has indicated that the DCEC had planned to frustrate Phuthego by throwing him in the wilderness for a while and eventually sack him. In recent months, there has been discontent within DCEC as some staff were redeployed or transferred unceremoniously. 


The suspension of Phuthego, the man in charge of the most important unit in the DCEC, had sent panic within the institution and raised concern over the independence and resilience of the crime busting agency. His suspension along with other officers followed investigations launched against the then Minister of Lands, Water and Sanitation, Prince Maele. Maele is no longer part of cabinet. According to informants, DCEC accused Phuthego of having divulged important information to the media relating to an ongoing investigation of the then minister Maele.


Maele, who has been subject of the DCEC investigation more than twice, has since been dropped from cabinet by Masisi. Sadique Kebonang, another minister who was also a subject of DCEC investigations was also dropped from the newly constituted cabinet.
Last year DCEC denied any witch-hunt against its staff following revelations that it was trying to protect the elite against alleged corruption.


“There is no dispute that there are a few DCEC officials who are on suspension, the fact of the matter is that none of these officers were suspended on the basis of having questioned management as to why certain cases are not prosecuted. It must be stated that suspension of public officers is an internal administrative issue anchored on the remits of the Public Service Act and other regulatory instruments regulating the conduct of public officers,” a statement from DCEC explained.


The reports of DCEC top brass developing cold feet and deciding against investigating high profile officials in corruption matters was not helped by the agency’s failure to instigate prosecution against Isaac Kgosi, the former Director General of the Directorate of Intelligence Security Services (DISS).


In 2014, embarrassing information was leaked to the media, indicating that the DCEC had completed investigations on Kgosi, which could have warranted legal action against him. DCEC officials were at pains trying to explain the reason the docket was not sent to Directorate of Public Prosecution (DPP) for prosecution. The docket has been lying at DCEC offices for years now, with reports from sources within DCEC indicating that Kgosi had infiltrated the corruption investigation organisation.

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