State security agents, on Wednesday made a major breakthrough in the fight against cross border crime when they arrested 24 year old South African national, Nicholas Fouche, with R1.75 million stashed in the boot of a car.
Fouche, who crossed through ports of entry in Botswana without declaring the large stash of money with customs officials at the border, ran out of luck on Wednesday as he was arrested at Stockpoort border post in the Lephalale area. He was trying to cross the border into Botswana from South Africa without declaring the R1.75 million cash, which was found hidden in the boot of his car.
Fouche remains detained by South African police after he was denied bail by Lephalale Magistrate court at the end of the week, while investigations continue to establish the source, destination and purpose of the funds.
Highly placed sources within the security cluster told The Patriot on Sunday that Fouche has been on their radar since early 2019 as he has been making frequent trips to Botswana using different ports of entry. Last week, Fouche is said to have entered Botswana using the Namibian border post of Gobabis but managed to elude customs officers and Botswana security agents.
Directorate on Intelligence and Security (DIS) Director General, Brigadier (Retired) Peter Magosi, confirmed that they are aware of the arrest. “The police are on it and since it’s a cross border issue we will go the bilateral route as usual,” he responded.
Although the final destination and purpose of the funds is still not clear there have been widespread allegations and media reports that large sums of money amounting to millions of pula have been brought to Botswana undeclared. Some of the funds are alleged to be destined for funding some politicians and their political parties in the heated race that has intensified in the build up to the looming October 2019 general election in Botswana.“Security at most of South Africa and Botswana borders is not tight making it easy for unscrupolous characters to smuggle things without being noticed,” revealed a source.
In a press briefing last month DIS boss Magosi revealed that the security situation in the country has shifted due to the influence from non-state actors who are fuelling instability within the country and the political landscape. He said the non-state actors are interested in the natural resources of the country but reiterated that DIS and other state security organs are monitoring the situation.
Due to lack of political party funding in Botswana, politicans and political parties have resorted to seeking financial support from different stakeholders within and outside the country for election camapaigns, which have proven to be very expensive. The ruling Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) has in the past been exposed for sourcing funding from external sources, which they used to launch lavish campaigns that ensured they repeatedly defeated opposition parties to remain in power. In the ongoing campaigns, the BDP and some of its candidates have been accused of coercing the business community to support their campaigns through donations while on the other hand sourcing funding from as far as China. Already the media has exposed millions of pula that has exchanged hands to fund some politicans within the ruling party while others have been repeatedly implicated in ongoing court cases where millions suspected to be fraudulently obtained have funded internal BDP campaigns.
Recently, Umbrella for Democratic Change (UDC) leader Duma Boko was linked to South African businessman Zunaid Moti as the funder for his campaigns. Boko is currently using an aircraft and a top of the range bullet proof BMW sedan with personalised registration numbers for his campaigns, both believed to belong to Moti Group.
Another political party with links to South African businesspeople is the Botswana Patriotic Party (BPF) whose patron, former president Ian Khama, is a close associate of South African businesswoman Bridgette Motsepe Radebe. Motsepe has since been placed on a visa requirement to enter Botswana for undisclosed reasons, which many believe are linked to her association with BDP members, among them Khama, who tried to remove President Mokgweetsi Masisi from the party presidency and by extension topple him as Botswana's Head of State.
In a leaked audio early this year, Motsepe Radebe was captured in a conversation with former Head of Protocol Daphne Kadiwa discussing opportunities for funding and supporting Khama's campaign against Masisi.