Seven lecturers at Botswana Police College in Otse got the shock of their life on Friday when Police Commissioner Keabetswe Makgophe suspended them with immediate effect over involvement in sexual relationships with some of their students.
In the suspension letters, written and delivered on Friday, Makgophe wrote: “Be informed that it has been reported to this office that you are being investigated for an offence of Discreditable Conduct. This followed allegations that you are involved in an intimate relationship with trainees under your direction. Such investigation may result in you being charged criminally and/ or disciplinarily. In view of the seriousness of this matter, I have decided to suspend you from duty on full salary effective today 05 October 2018 pending the outcome of the investigation against you”.
“Consequent to the above, the Director Training is to confine you to the police camp or place of residence during such hours as s/he may decide. I do hope that you will cooperate with the investigating officers in order to facilitate the speedy completion of this matter,” said Makgophe to one Sergeant.
Still reeling in shock, the suspended police officers met their lawyer in Gaborone on Friday afternoon to seek legal advice and map the way forward, immediately after receiving suspension letters. They are considering dragging the Commissioner to court over the matter convinced that there is no provision prohibiting them from having intimate relationships with police trainees who are full legal entities that can consent to sex. Their main contention is that there is no provision either in the statutes that govern police officers or their code of conduct that bars lecturers from having intimate relationships with trainees and that sex with their partners is and was consensual. According to the cops, who spoke on condition of anonymity, although the Police Act deals with discreditable conduct, intimate relationships with trainees are not part of the conduct, which the Act prohibits.
“Even the Botswana Police College, which is a tertiary institution attended by adults recognized as such by law and qualified to engage in sexual relationships, does not have institutional rules which forbid sexual relationships between instructors and trainees,” a source at the college said.
The lawyer consulted by the suspended officers declined to shed light on the matter, saying it is confidential and that he does not have instructions from his clients to share the information with the media.