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VP mum as corruption allegations swirl around him

VP mum as corruption allegations swirl around him
March 13
08:22 2018

THABO BAGWASI

The Vice President Mokgweetsi Masisi elected to ignore allegations of looting the National Petroleum Fund (NPF) when he had a chance to do speak on it in Parliament last week.

The Directorate on Corruption and Economic Crimes (DCEC) made an admission in court last week that Masisi received P3 million in hard cash from the NPF.

In an unexpected turn of events, President Ian Khama, Masisi and Minister of Minerals, Sadique Kebonang were named as people who may have personally benefitted from fund monies.

On Thursday in Parliament, Masisi was roasted by Umbrella for Democratic Change (UDC) legislator Dithapelo Keorapetse, who referred to the Vice President as “Commander-in-Thief.”

However, Masisi – inspite of his reputation as an aggressive debater who holds the opposition in utter contempt, chose not to respond.

The next day, Masisi maintained his silence even when Parliament descended into near-chaos with expulsion of the MP for Gaborone North, Haskins Nkaigwa.

The only response that denies Masisi and Khama’s involvement in the NPF saga has so far been a lame two-liner that was released by government on Friday.

“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),” it says.

“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/or solicited funds from the NPF.”

Masisi has already been interviewed by DCEC.

Others who are implicated but have similarly kept quiet include the Botswana Democratic Party Treasurer, Satar Dada, who is alleged to have received P2 million by virtue of his position in the ruling party.

The Minister for Youth Empowerment, Sport and Culture Development Thapelo Olopeng allegedly received P 70, 000, even though the Investigating Officer could not confirm the allegation.

Kebonang is said to have acquired property in South Africa while President Khama is alleged to have channeled his cut by acquiring a caravan and constructing a house.

Adrian German, the Investigating Officer, told the court that he has interviewed Masisi and Dada regarding their involvement.

German made the shock claims in under cross-examination by Bakang Seretse’s lawyer, Kgosietsile Ngakaagae.

German further seemed to suggest that DCEC has uncovered strong evidence implicating Kebonang.

“We have (a) paper trail indicating that some of the money was used to acquire property in South Africa which belongs to Kebonang.”

DCEC investigations will extend to Europe, particular Italy and Britain, where the money trail continues.

The investigators recently spent weeks in South Africa in search of further leads in the case.

DCEC further noted that it has uncovered information pointing to some funds stashed in offshore accounts and invested in property by Seretse.

Seretse and co-accused, Botho Leburu and Kenneth Kerekang are currently out on bail for their part in the P250 million looted from the NPF in 2017.

 

 

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