The Botswana National Front (BNF) is concerned with the recent media reports that allege that ‘DISS Plots to Kill CMB Enquiry’.
According to the Business Weekly & Review of 22nd - 28th February 2019, the Directorate of Intelligence and Security Services (DISS) has moved swiftly to impound crucial files that were kept by CMB liquidator John Little regarding the Botswana Public Officers Pensioners Fund (BPOPF). The DISS were apparently accompanied by government’s officials from the Botswana Unified Revenue Services (BURS) and Directorate on Corruption and Economic Crime (DCEC). The alleged files carry all the crucial information and evidence about the CMB case, allegedly including information implicating President Dr Mokgweetsi Masisi and Permanent Secretary to the President, Carter Morupise, who are reported to have benefited. This means that the only hope of recovering the pilfered public funds evidence is now dead and buried. According to the media reports, ‘the former Minister (of Minerals) said the payments were made into his account on behalf of then Vice President and now President Mokgweetsi Masisi as a donation to his campaign...’ The DISS, BURS, DCEC and the Office of the President (OP) should therefore come out clear on their roles regarding these shocking allegations. The public service employees need assurances that the alleged parties will not tamper with the evidence and that the case will continue with all collected data made available.
It is saddening to note that BPOPFs have been grossly pilfered by an organised cartel that is closely related to the Office of the President and the ruling Botswana Democratic Party (BDP). The public service employees today face a bleak and uncertain future as their pension savings have been open for thievery by the so called custodians.
The government employees are already exploited, underpaid and will retire into poverty because of gross corruption and possible mismanagement. Thousands of retired public officers live a paupers’ lifestyle where they look disfigured, pale skinned and older than their real ages. Some have even lost their mental faculties as they aimlessly speak alone. And worse, they are disgracefully sent to their miserable graves in cheap fish shaped coffins and leave behind their dependants almost empty handed. There is hardly a public service pensioner who lives well today in Botswana, despite the huge sacrifices and savings made over the years in the public service. And a paradoxical pension scheme worth around 60 billions of pula.
‘The BNF Social Democratic Programme (SDP) is concerned that over the last decade (1998 -2008) white-collar theft or acts of fraud by both public officials and private employees, have increased significantly yet at the same time standards of control and supervision are declining. The DCEC shall be independent of government, along the lines of Auditor General and report directly to parliament’ (BNF SDP 1995 rev 2009, BNF 1999 Manifesto). BNF 1969 manifesto also cautioned about corruption.
The BNF is therefore concerned by this historical large scale corruption and the recent plans to destroy BPOPF evidence and protect the BDP elites and close associates.
1. Board of trustees should strongly consider resigning their positions since the looting was done under their trusteeship and probably failed in their fiduciary duties.
2. The workers should rise for their rights and not watch helplessly as the BDP activists rob their pensions in broad daylight. They should choose between the looting BDP led government and the worker centred Umbrella for Democratic Change (UDC).
3. An independent forensic audit of all the BPOPF asset managers and how they were awarded the lucrative tenders should be strongly considered as rumours now fly thick and fast that some did not qualify at all and there were gross irregularities.
4. All regulatory bodies must come out clear to protect workers’ and public interest. These include Financial Intelligence Agency (FIA), Companies and Intellectual Property Authority (CIPA), NBFIRA, DISS, BURS, DCEC, the trade unions, etc. Workers benefit schemes are extremely exposed without best governance practices and legislation. The DISS should therefore return the files to the rightful owners and let the law take its course. This interference is now a serious public concern.
5. The UDC will fight against these bad corrupt practices until workers’ rights and conditions of service are restored and protected.
Cde Justin Hunyepa
BNF Secretary for Information and UDC Labour Secretary