How much does Masisi, Khama know about NPF looting?

SHARE   |   Monday, 27 January 2020   |   By Adam Phetlhe On Sunday
Khama and Masisi Khama and Masisi

Given the magnitude of the National Petroleum Fund (NPF) scandal that rocked the country late in November/December 2017, it has always been, still it is my view, that the former President Ian Khama and the sitting President Mokgweetsi Masisi could not possibly have not known let alone benefitted from the proceeds of the scandal. Now the DPP suggests that Masisi and Khama are not criminally liable, saying in any case the President is immune to prosecution.

The Directorate of Public Prosecutions (DPP) boss Rre Stephen Tiroyakgosi is quoted in a newspaper article last week that there is no sufficient evidence for charges to be preferred against the former and the sitting President further holding that the sitting President is immune to prosecution. Over and above this, the DPP boss says in the event the former and the sitting benefitted somewhat from the NPF scandal, they were ‘not aware or did not know if the funds they received were proceeds of a crime.’

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It is not clear how the no sufficient evidence narrative was arrived at. That is, were the two gentlemen subjected to an interview to establish whether they played a role in the NPF scandal or, it is just a convenient tactic to exonerate them from any wrong-doing? It is a fact that the sitting President is immune from the long arm of the law. But the scandal broke out four months or so before he became the President and was therefore not covered by the immune law. Why was the truth about the matter not sought then? Your guess is as good as mine. In The Patriot on Sunday online edition dated 12 March 2019 under the headline “BDP moves to protect Masisi’, the Directorate on Corruption and Economic Crime (DCEC) Investigating Officer Andrain German revealed that ‘Vice President Mokgweetsi Masisi is one of the beneficiaries of the P250 million stolen from the National Petroleum Fund (NPF). German revealed that DCEC agents have interviewed Masisi over the money he is alleged to have received…” The no sufficient narrative coupled with how far, if any, has the interview of the DCEC gone to establish or not whether President Masisi is a beneficiary of the NPF scandal remains hanging. Former President Khama was still covered by the immune law when the NPF scandal broke. Now that he has ceased to be covered by the immune law, is he being subjected to some probe of sorts to establish his culpability or lack thereof? From where I stand, former President Khama is a private, ordinary citizen like myself who should be subjected to the rule of law should the need arise particularly that and in the vernacular, molato gao bole. That is, it is never too late to subject someone to the rule of law.

But there is a political twist to the whole thing. The former and the sitting  President are embroiled in an acrimony widely reported following their political fallout, which remains unresolved thus far. Nothing suggests it could end anytime soon barring some miracle of epic proportions.  None of them is allowing to be outdone by the other. At the height of the fallout, the former left the BDP to be the patron of the Botswana Patriotic Front (BPF). Assuming the two know something about the NPF and further that they would know how each other benefitted if at all, it could reasonably be concluded that none of them could be held accountable for the NPF scandal. The argument by the DPP boss that the two did not know that the monetary benefits they allegedly received from the NPF scandal were proceeds from such scandal is not only laughable on one hand, but jaw dropping on the other. It is a well held legal position here and elsewhere that receiving proceeds of crime is an offence punishable by law. This position has been used against members of the public and continues to do so. Like I have said earlier in this conversation, what has the DPP done to come to the conclusion that the two were unaware of the origins of the funds they received. Was it not their duty, like with all of us the poor souls, to establish where the funds came from and whether such were clean funds? But the flawed position of the DPP doesn’t surprise nor shock me because it has become such a discredited organisation. The shocking state of how the ‘Butterfly’ case is being handled is the case in point.  

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Former President Khama is said to be listed as a witness in the NPF case. Is this a plea bargain of some sort made in heaven? From the way Khama has exhibited his disdain to the Masisi administration following their standoff, it is hard to believe that he will be a State witness in the NPF case. If it is difficult to approach Khama on his alleged benefit from the same NPF scandal case, how easy will it be for the DPP to rope him in as a witness? Remember Khama was expected to appear as a witness in the pending ‘Butterfly’ case whereupon he quickly and with the speed of light, deposed to an affidavit in defence of the very same person the DPP is trying to pit him against.     

In the end, it is a given that President Masisi and former President Khama may have permanently escaped the NPF charges unless and until a miracle of epic proportions emerges from somewhere to hold them accountable. In the US, they describe the alleged conduct of President Masisi and former President high crimes and misdemeanours. What do we call it here?  The accountability bar is set so pitifully low for the mighty and the powerful yet so astronomically high for the poor souls. This explains why some compatriots are appearing in court for the NPF scandal while some have found a quick and convenient exit. And when it is suggested that these are palpable signs of a nation born and bred in Africa like others, a serious offence is uncomfortably caused. It is so sad that such a massive scandal with serious socio-economic consequences to the nation and that which happened under their collective leadership is managed in such a manner that seeks to absolve them from some culpability of some sort.

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Rap me on the knuckles or not but I repeat: we are born and bred in Africa and we cannot run away from that tag because we have failed to keep it at bay. If we do, we are simply and embarrassingly delusional. If it is okay for the two top most citizens of this Republic to be embroiled in actions completely at variance with the prescripts of their oaths of office, what should become of their subordinates?  I am prepared to be persuaded otherwise as always. Judge for Yourself!

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