FNB Acacia

'We have no hope against corruption'

SHARE   |   Monday, 26 March 2018   |   By Dithapelo Keorapetse
'We have no hope against corruption'

I think the time for using euphemistic language is over, we need not to equivocate and tell the truth as it is. The Directorate of Public Prosecution (DPP) which is under the Attorney General’s Chambers, our view is that it is not independent of influence from the executive principals. Why do we say this? The Directorate of Corruption and Economic Crime (DCEC), an organisation which I have worked for Mr Chairperson and I am not saying this because I worked for the DCEC. The DCEC has investigated lawyers, politicians, Directors of Government, Permanent Secretaries, Chief Executives Officers (CEO) of parastatals and Corporate Executives in the private sector. What has happened was that dockets are sent to the DPP and the DPP in some cases refuses to prosecute.

I have asked questions in this Parliament regarding cases of Botswana Railways, Botswana Development Corporation (BDC) and Botswana Meat Commission (BMC). Why are these cases not prosecuted? Some up to five years and these cases are not prosecuted, they are gathering dust at the DPP. What is happening to witnesses? What is happening to exhibits? Justice delayed is justice denied to the public which has been unfairly done by the corruption that has been perpetrated by those implicated by the DCEC.

We have the Director of the Directorate on Intelligence Services (DIS); There is a docket at the DPP; a second docket is there, but he is yet to see his day in court. Why do we have these state of affairs in this Republic? We say that we are a Republic which observes the rule of law, but whilst all animals are equal, some are more equal than others. In fact, other people in this country are above the law, but as far as we know, in terms of Section 41, it is only the President of the Republic who is above the law effectively, temporarily for 10 years, if they are in the office for 10 years. If they are in the office for five years, then they are above the law in terms of our law. It is not me; it is even the interpretation of academics who have studied the Constitution of the Republic of Botswana. So, the DPP must be freed from executive influence, that is our argument. Our argument is that, in fact, even the appointment of the Director of Public Prosecutions must be improved in terms of how that officer is appointed because the prosecutorial discretion in terms of our Constitution vest in the Director of Public Prosecutions.

If you have somebody who is not independent, then we will have cases at the DPP not being prosecuted. WikiLeaks leaked and in their leak, they pointed to the interference with investigation and prosecution of President Ian Khama’s brothers who were implicated in the Botswana Defence Force (BDF) corruption. This is WikiLeaks saying, it is not Dithapelo Keorapetse, it is WikiLeaks saying the President has directly interfered with that case. So, if we have a DPP with tenurial security, who is independent, then people will be prosecuted for the corruption that they have committed. I am still insisting that the DCEC is doing their job. We had an investigation officer on record, under oath recently in a court of law, in a case of National Petroleum Fund (NPF), under cross examination, saying, ‘there are people, not before this court who have received proceeds of crime, money stolen from the National Petroleum Fund and these people are not here before the court. So our question is, why are these people not in court and forget what Guma Moyo was saying that Honourable Sadique Kebonang must resign. What is he saying about his President? What is he saying about His Honour the Vice President? Ene o kgonetse Sadique Kebonang le Tshekedi Khama, those are the people ba a nnang a bua ka bone and we know, it is because of the factional fights in the ruling party.  It is not because Guma Moyo is genuine, he is not genuine. It is because of the factional fights in the ruling party, that is why he is singling out Tshekedi Khama and hauling him on hot coals at the Statutory Bodies Committee.

That is why he is singling out Sadique Kebonang, what about His Honour the Vice President who has received, allegedly P3 million from the NPF? What about His Excellency the President; what is he saying about them? So, until and unless we have an independent DPP we will have a kleptocracy, a Government by thieves and for thieves. This is what we have in this Republic; a kleptocracy. People think that South Africans have invented this new term of ‘state capture.’ Look, I have been talking about ‘state capture’ when I was still teaching at the University of Botswana, go and read my columns which I was writing for Botswana Gazette, talking about ‘state capture.’ Deliberate bending of the rules, deliberate setting up or formulation of public policy for specifically looting the country, that is what we call state capture. People think that this is unique to South Africa, no it is not unique to South Africa, it is something that has been happening in this Republic, it is still happening and we have no hope absolutely that under His Honour the Vice President, when he assumes office on the 1st of April, anything will change. Nothing will change, state capture will continue because Modomkrag le fa a le mokima, le fa a le mosesane, le fa a ya kwa, le fa a ya kwa, e ntse ke Modomkrag. Corruption will continue in this country.

We have a problem in this Republic. The issues or the news emanating from the court is that His Excellency is not only the Commander-in-Chief but also a Thief-in-Chief because he has benefited from proceeds of crime, money stolen from the National Petroleum Fund (NPF). It is not me saying that, it is the Investigating Officer and the lawyer in court. So we are worried by the President who protects Isaac Kgosi. That is our problem. A President who protects thieves, thieves who continue to get salaries from the public purse. The point is that let us have an independent DPP, even the Attorney General. The Attorney General continues to bring oversight legislation drafts to this Parliament that are watered-down. Why is the Attorney General not advising on tightening legislation on oversight? Look at the Office of the Ombudsman, toothless! Look at the Directorate on Corruption and Economic Crime (DCEC); there is a provision on the Corruption and Economic Crime Act that the President can restrict investigation on account of national security. That can restrict access to vessels, buildings, vehicles and documents on account of national security, meaning that the President can interfere with investigation of corruption.

So, the Attorney General keeps on bringing this legislation. Just recently we were debating the Whistleblowing Legislation, watered-down, that whistleblowers when they go to report, they must indicate their names, address and other particulars. What is whistleblowing in this case? People will not go and report corruption if they are compelled to reveal their names. The Attorney General must in the interest of the public, bring very tight draft legislation to this Parliament for adoption because otherwise as a Republic, we are not going anywhere with corruption. We have no hope Your Honour the Vice President that when you take over, this Republic will change from a kleptocracy that it is, to a democracy. We have no hope primarily because of the things that we hear from court and from the statement uttered by Honourable Nkaigwa that you remain a captive of naturalised Indians. He has said that twice in this Parliament and you have not negated that statement.

*Dithapelo Keorapetse is the MP for Selibe Phikwe West during the Committee of Supply debate on the Attorney Generl's Chambers.