Wesbank

Spy boss to mop up

SHARE   |   Monday, 28 May 2018   |   By Phillimon Mmeso
FIRED UP; Magosi FIRED UP; Magosi

Ø     Sugar codes their operations

Ø     Insists on starting on clean slate

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Ø     ‘We want to win back public trust’

Ø     Likely to dump Mossad – Israel intelligence apparatus

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Ø     Dodges questions on Kalafatis?

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The new Director General of Directorate of Intelligence and Security Services (DISS) Brigadier (R) Peter Magosi has promised that they will start on a clean slate, while conceding to the mistakes that could have happened in the past.

Addressing members of the media flanked by the spy agency’s top management, Magosi was more conciliatory, avoiding directly discussing his predecessor and their operations. He insisted there will be changes.   

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Magosi, a former commander of the Botswana Defence Force’s (BDF) ground forces, said that any organisation has its own culture which is mostly influenced by its leadership. “This is a new leadership that has its own views and we are in the process of cultural change which hopefully will be accepted by you and the nation,” he said.

Magosi, who once headed BDF Military Intelligence Unit, said as the new leadership they have realised that they cannot exist in isolation and want to be able to provide the nation with the protection they need. As much as they operate in secrecy they will try to be open to the public and account.

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Working with other security agencies

Since the inception of DISS in 2009, there have been concerns from other security agencies that they are interfering in operations of other security agencies like the Botswana Police and BDF, something that created tension. Magosi promised that the relationship between them and other security agencies will improve as time goes on.

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Accountability

DISS has never been audited and failed to account to the relevant structures since its formation. Debating the DISS budget in the last national budget session, the MP for Francistown South Wynter Mmolotsi warned that lack of audit for the DISS will create problems when Kgosi vacated office.

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“Right now no one’s knows what they have even a mere furniture and imagine if Kgosi is to leave the agency – what will happen?” he asked rhetorically and two months later Kgosi was fired.

When appearing before the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) recently, Kgosi revealed that he didn’t account to anyone even to the Head of State as he is the sole accounting officer, something that shocked the nation.

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Magosi, who kept repeating that they are going to start on a clean slate, said DISS was part of the government system and will be subjected to the same scrutiny like any other department.

On what he meant by starting on a clean slate, Magosi who was fired by former President Ian Khama in 2016 from the BDF, was diplomatic in his answer.

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“As a leader you take responsibility for what has happened in the past and move forward. There has been so much pain that this nation has gone through, especially about DISS,” he said, adding that they want to move forward and do what the nation expects of them.

DISS has been accused of being a bunch of thugs and trigger happy operatives who disregard the rule of law. Magosi admitted that they are aware of that perception and that it was his responsibility as the new leader to change that.

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“It is the responsibility of the leader to change the culture of the organisation and we aim to make the nation to embrace DISS,” said the confident Magosi.

DISS and Israel companies

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DISS has been having a close relationship with Israel companies mostly owned by the country’s intelligence agency Mossad. Some of the DISS agents have been trained in Israel.

Recently the rogue spy agency varied funds from National Petroleum Fund (NPF) and procured surveillance equipment from the country at the value of P118 million. This was admitted by the former DISS boss Kgosi during his appearance before PAC.

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On whether they will continue with that relationship looking at the atrocities caused by the Israel government to the people of Palestine, Magosi assured the nation that they are going to tell the political leaders what they must know not what they like to hear.

Who really pulled the trigger on Kalafatis?

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On the 13th of May 2009 a suspected criminal John Kalafatis was shot and killed by members of the BDF Military Intelligence which was headed by Brigadier Magosi at the time.

Sources within the security agencies have intimated that the man who pulled the trigger on Kalafatis was Magosi himself with the former DISS Director General Kgosi letting more into the matter recently when asked about Magosi.

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In an exclusive interview after the press briefing, Magosi was very economic with information when asked if it is true he is the one who killed Kalafatis.

“The case was before the courts of law and justice prevailed and I know it was painful for those officers as they were my men and the family of the deceased but we have to move forward,” he said. The question was repeated again to him, but Magosi insisted that the past must be put where it belongs – in the past.    



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