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Kebonang pressurised me – Acting PS

Kebonang pressurised me – Acting PS
April 10
11:20 2018

THABO BAGWASI

According to the former acting Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Mineral Resources, Green Technology and Energy Security, Dr Obolokile Obakeng, pressure from his former principal, Sadique Kebonang came from different fronts, forms and means.

Kebonang apparently maximized the net effect of his request by sending a courier to deliver a letter to Obakeng, calling when Obakeng was still with the courier to encourage him to sign a variation document without giving the PS time to digest the contents.

Obakeng, who is now Deputy Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Land Management, Water and Sanitation Services, told the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) yesterday that in the run up to ordering the variation of P230 million in the hands of the Directorate of Intelligence and Security Services, Kebonang called him, telling him to sign an urgent request from the agency requiring the variation funds.

“The Minister had called to say it was urgent and the country was at risk. I acceded to it under pressure and I didn’t have the time,” Obakeng said.

Kebonang apparently made out a case that the country was facing a material grave security threat, arising from human trafficking and poaching among others.

On the same day he signed a ready-made variation couriered by Kebonang’s Executive Secretary, the Member of Parliament for Lobatse was on the other end of the line coerced him to put pen to paper while Minister’s DG sat slumped on the seat across the room.

Obakeng told PAC that Kebonang had called him on his mobile phone which reflected that the former Minister had also made the call using his personal number.

In hindsight, Obakeng stated that he in fact realized that he has always been in the dark about the goings on at the NPF. He further noted that in retrospect, Kebonang has “always been aware of everything.”

He stated that when the NPF scandal broke while he was still trying to set up a meeting with an uncooperative Kenneth Kerakang, it was Kebonang who mentioned the knowledge of communication with Khulaco.

“Our Minister knew. I think he was more knowledgeable than me. In fact, I think I was in the dark. When this thing blew up, he brought to my attention that there was this and that request,” said Obakeng, adding that he became suspicious when the DISS sought a variation of the funds.

He noted that this was because he could not figure out why a different agency would ask for a variation from another agency instead of using the money and making up for it with other ministerial funds as is common in government agencies.

Obakeng stated that he then surmised that it might be because the funds originated from the NPF.

It was at this point in his response to DISS he rescinded the request since the NP Fund Order did not direct that the money can be used to procure DISS armaments.

Meanwhile, Obakeng said that even though Kerekang had always complied with his requests and was always prompt in attending meetings, he now behaved in ways out of character. He stated that Kerekang never pitched for meetings and would switch off his phone.

Obakeng stated of Kerekang: ”All my efforts were unsuccessful. He displayed a behavior I have never seen before. He always came in earnest when I called him but he had changed. That’s when I became really afraid.”

He also continued: “He just couldn’t appear. He would agree to a meeting for tomorrow and I would cancel all my appointments but he would have switched off his phones.”

 

 

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