The Director General of Directorate of Intelligence and Security Services (DISS) Isaac Kgosi and his team have been left embarrassed after they were caught off guard by intelligence agents from Tourism Intelligence Services (TIS) of Department of Wildlife and National Parks. Information gathered and confirmed by some senior officers at DISS has shown that the recent arrest of DISS agents by TIS was a ploy by the latter to embarrass the former and show their incompetence. Three DISS agents were arrested at Makalamabedi cordon gate with some ivory and taken to the police station for detention. Sometime in March, DISS is said to have received a tip-off that some of their officers based in Maun and Kasane were now collaborating with poachers to steal ivory. “A team of covert agents were assigned to follow up the case and they discovered where they were hiding the concealment,” revealed a source at DISS. Early in April, DISS Director Kgosi informed DWNP Director Major General Otisitswe Tiroyamodimo about their operations as they are the custodian of the wildlife trophies.
This is said to have been Kgosi’s greatest blunder as TIS used the information to carry out to humiliate his organisation. Kgosi is said to have informed his counterparts at DWNP that the exhibits will be stored at their warehouse as they are still doing investigations and wanted to catch their agents red-handed. It was then that TIS mounted a roadblock at Makalamabedi as part of their sting operation to arrest the three DISS agents. The three agents were shocked when they were searched and arrested and their efforts to convince the TIS officers to allow them to call their boss Kgosi were futile. Upon receiving some tip-off that his officers were arrested Kgosi tried in vain to call General Tiroyamodimo as he felt that there was some misunderstanding. “He got the shock of his life when the story was leaked and realised that all along DWNP duped him and were out to embarrass him,” said the source. Kgosi called on Minister of Environment and Natural Resources Conservation and Tourism Tshekedi Khama and asked him to rebut the story as it had the potential to harm their relationship and compromise their anti-poaching efforts. Minister Tshekedi is said to have refused to distance himself and or his ministry from the story. Kgosi’s decision to address a press briefing on the matter was blocked when President Ian Khama prevailed on him not to do so. “The fear was that some media houses might already know too much after TIS leaked some information to them, thus it might compromise the integrity of both DISS and TIS,” said source at DISS. Kgosi is said to have warned that his agents will retaliate should the TIS continue to expose his agents.
The North West syndicate
The Maun poacher who is used by DISS agents is said to be a well-known businessman in the delta who controls one of the biggest poaching syndicates in both Maun and Chobe. Sources say the poacher was working with DISS to smuggle ivory and diamonds. “When DISS bosses realised that we were closing in on them they wanted to pretend as if they didn’t know anything about the poacher yet they are working with him,” revealed the source. TIS has allegedly established that the businessman cum poacher is well connected and is untouchable. The ivory, which is normally sliced and put in bags, is taken through Zambia to Tanzania where it is sold to Asians. The cartel is said to be using local people within the North West and Chobe area and some Namibians. On a good day, an ivory can cost around US$3000 in the black market.
Anti-poaching operations compromised
The continued fight between state security agencies especially DISS and TIS is said to have compromised operations leading to poachers having a field day. In a recent meeting, state security agencies are said to have raised a concern to President Khama about the mistreatment of their officers by Wildlife authorities. “Anti-poaching operations are big because we are dealing with syndicates and not individuals. Some of them are former Special Forces officers and these need some joint efforts if we want to contain them,” said a worried officer.