Last Updated
Wednesday 17 December 2014, 20:36 pm.
Who really are these accused men?

In the wake of the Tuesday arraignment of the Assistant Minister of Finance and Development Planning before the Village Magistrates Court, Mmegi Staff Writers BAME PIET and OARABILE MOSIKARE go in quest of the characters behind the three accused men and meet with considerable opacity
By Staff Writer Thu 18 Dec 2014, 23:39 pm (GMT +2)
Mmegi Online :: Who really are these accused men?

*A boardroom creature, a weighty party backer and a nice guy is what comes through

Vincent Thina Seretse
A quest for Assistant Minister of Finance and Development Planning, Vincent Thina Seretse, on Google search engine produces 716,000 results while Yahoo yields 16,800.

The man popularly known as VT is perhaps known better in boardroom circles than as a popular politician. He cut his teeth in the private sector in 1992 as Managing Director of VT Seretse and Associates, a property development and investment firm.

Years later, he joined Botswana Housing Corporation (BHC) where he held the position of Deputy Chief Executive Officer and later Chief Executive Officer (CEO). He served as BHC CEO for four years until May 2004 when he joined the Botswana Telecommunications Corporation (BTC) as CEO.

His responsibilities at BTC included transforming and readying the then telecoms monopoly for privatisation ahead of full liberalization of telecommunications. At one point he served on the board of Botswana Football Association (BFA) as vice-president. When the BTC Board of Directors decided not to renew his contract for unclear reasons, he joined RPC Data as the first Motswana CEO in September 2008.

He once served as a chairman of Dikgang Publishing Company, the publishers of Mmegi and The Monitor newspapers. Seretse has previously served on the board of CBET, the then publishers of the Botswana Guardian and Midweek Sun newspapers.
In 2010, he was the chairman of Standard Chartered Bank Botswana.

Before the 2009 general elections, Seretse played an instrumental role as deputy chairman of the National Elections Strategy Team (NEST) of the Botswana Democratic Party (BDP). However, not a lot is known about him in politics. Perhaps he owes his inclusion into the NEST by virtue of his rich private sector background, more so that he served several outfits as CEO and sat on numerous boards.

After the re-election of the BDP into government, President Ian Khama rewarded him as one of four nominated Members of Parliament.

Two years later, Khama announced the appointment of Seretse as Assistant Minister of Finance and Development Planning with effect from April 1, 2011. He took over from Charles Tibone who had asked Khama to relieve him of his Cabinet post on account of his personal commitments. By virtue of being Assistant Minister of Finance and Development Planning, Seretse became one of the governors of the African Development Fund as of May 2011. But he did not last long at Finance, and when Khama reshuffled his Cabinet, Seretse was moved to the Ministry of Trade and Industry. Recently, however, Khama re-assigned him to the Ministry of Finance and Development Planning in the same old capacity.

In April this year, it was reported in the media that Seretse had started an illegal campaign in Kweneng East ahead of the 2014 general elections.

He denied the reports that he had mobilised his campaign team to start the groundwork in the constituency. In that newspaper interview, Seretse explained that as any politician could, he had developed an interest in a constituency in the Kweneng District and the Kweneng East Constituency was no exception.

He stated that following last year's population and housing census - which reflected an increase in the population - he was hoping that there would be new constituencies that would open vacancies.

"I am hoping that on the basis of the census, there will be new constituencies. I have interest but I can't specify exactly where," he said.

He also confirmed that he was aware of reports that he was campaigning in the constituency but said that he abided by party rules not to start campaigning before the official announcement on the subject.

There is a new addition to Seretse's otherwise rich and clean curriculum vitae. Alleged corruption charges have been levelled against the 57-year-old, and so in a country where these things have become matters of course, he is likely to traverse the courts and National Assembly until the case is finalised.

Paul Paledi
Born on February 9, 1952, Paledi is a trained architect who has practiced for many years running the popular Paledi Morrison Architects firm. His home village is Mochudi in the Kgatleng District. Although some of the information could not be independently verified, he is also reported to be in the construction industry.

Paledi was Deputy Treasurer of the ruling Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) from 2005 to 2007 deputising multi-millionaire Satar Dada and serving on several committees responsible for finance and fundraising. 

Not much has been passed to this paper about him, but there are those who say he a "cool and outgoing guy".
At a fundraising dinner held at Phakalane exactly 12 months ago, he made a significant financial contribution for the sustained growth of BDP, though it was not announced. Paledi sits on President Ian Khama's Housing Appeal Committee.

Berndt Guston Astrom
Very little was revealed at the Village Magistrates Court during his appearance with Seretse except that he is Spanish and was born on April 19, 1945 and that he is a project manager at Botswana Telecommunications Corporation. Not much is known about this man, except for brief characterisations of him by one or two BTC employees that he is a nice person.


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