The case promises to expose the shadowy world of the military intelligence unit, which some say is used by the BDF top brass to settle scores with dissenting voices in the military. The P6 million lawsuit is brought by former deputy commander of the BDF Major General Pius Mokgware. One of the defendants is Dzikamani Mothobi, a Military Intelligence operative who is cited together with his bosses - retired BDF Commander Lieutenant General Tebogo Masire and Lieutenant Colonel Bana Pilane.
Other defendants are the Botswana Telecommunications Corporation (BTC), the Attorney General's Chambers and the BDF. Mokgware is suing the parties for unlawfully accessing his private cellphone conversations. The AG is cited as first respondent, Masire as second respondent, Pilane as third respondent, Mothobi as fourth, and BTC as fifth respondent. A BTC/Be Mobile employee, Modise Mokgathong is also cited in the case as the sixth defendant, for allegedly passing information to the army.In the court papers, Mokgware states that he has included Mokgathong after learning about his involvement in the matter.
"His identity and particulars have only recently become known to me following a long process of investigations. I aver that the respondent is a necessary party to the main proceedings before court under the above case number as he was actually involved in assisting the BDF, Masire, Pilane and Mothobi in the unlawful surveillance and invasion of my privacy, subject of my claim in the main case. In this regard, the respondent, being an employee of BTC, acted as the "inside man" to facilitate the provision of information relating to my cellphone calls and records from BTC's database to the army officers," Mokgware says in his papers.He adds that he got information that he was under surveillance after receiving a stray SMS from Mothobi about his cellphone activity.
"The day after the message was received, I was approached by Mothobi purportedly to confess and/or fish for information from me. A meeting was then held at BDF camp in Glenn Valley, which was attended by Colonel Isaac Kgosi of the Directorate of Intelligence Services (DIS) and his deputy Kgothang, as I had lodged a complaint with them for investigation
and by Brigadier Magosi and Brigadier Modiko and the fourth defendant," he said.Mokgware added that during the meeting it was revealed that the source used by the BDF officers involved was employed as a security manager by BTC/Be Mobile and lived in Phakalane. It was also revealed that Pilane had gone to meet with Mokgathong and therefore was unable to attend the meeting. "It is from the above meeting that I knew at least, that an employee of BTC had been involved and that the said employee was a security manager residing in Phakalane. At the time, the identity and other particulars of the said employee were not mentioned but my hope was that DIS would investigate the matter and all details would be revealed by the investigations," he said.
Unfortunately, Mokgware says, the DIS never provided him with a report or outcome of their investigation and he was told that it would only be availed to relevant government authorities. He said that he carried out his own investigations. Realising that time was not on his side, he instituted the lawsuit. "Unfortunately, my initial attempts were fruitless and seeing that almost a year had gone by since the incident occurred, I decided to institute action against other defendants to avoid a situation where I would run the risk of my claim prescribing while I was looking for information on the identity of the respondent," he says.He said that he only made a breakthrough on the identity of the BTC employee in March this year.
"I was then in a position to establish that this was the individual that had been utilised by the defendants as the link between 2nd, 3rd and fourth defendant to obtain my private cellphone information from BTC," he submits.Mokgware states that the unlawful surveillance and interception of his cellphone was carried out on him between December 2009 and February 2010. He says Mokgathong provided the other defendants with transcripts and call logs of all communications from his Be Mobile cellphone whilst he was still under the employment of BTC.Lobatse High Court judge Michael Leburu hears the case, which commences on Monday.