1. The media is awash with reports and allegations of money laundering made against myself and the companies associated with me. The reality is that allegations of wrongdoing have been peddled by my adversaries who seek to destroy my businesses and soil my career and reputation.
2. I must also state that I feel let down by the government and all the agencies of government that have been involved in this matter.
3. To put the allegations in their perspective, the government of Botswana, through the Ministry of Minerals and Green Technology requested that a sum of BWP 250 million be made available to the Directorate of Intelligence Service (DIS) for the construction of fuel storage. These funds were to be made available to DIS from the National Petroleum Fund (NPF).
4. I was not privy to this request from DIS until we were asked to make funds available to the DIS.
5. While the funds, which were made available to DIS, were for the construction of petroleum tanks, I was later to be advised that DIS had requested that the funds be expended for its anti-poaching activities and that such request had been acceded to by the Ministry.
6. I also became, in the course of time, aware that the funding request and disbursements to DIS were known to highly-placed officials that needed to know about. The officials included the Director of the Directorate on Commercial and Economic Crimes (DCEC) and Director of Financial Intelligence Agency. His Excellency the President, the Permanent Secretary to the President, the Minister of Presidential Affairs and the Minister of Minerals and Green Technology were also aware of the DIS request.
7. Following the approval of funding by government, DIS requested that I, through a company I owned with Botho Leburu, should warehouse the funds for them for two reasons. The first was that the funds were unlikely to be all utilised before the end of the financial year and therefore they (the funds) needed to be ring-fenced to avoid forfeiting it to the treasury. The second and most important reason was that for security reasons, DIS needed to conceal its identity in all its envisaged procurement activities. We accepted this request from DIS as we believed it was in the national interest to do so. We never anticipated being caught in the rivalry of government agencies. Our company has nothing to do with Kgori Capital.
8. Subsequent to the funds being made available, I was directed by DIS to make certain payments to entities in Israel for the procurement of drones and other anti-poaching equipment. There was nothing unlawful about these instructions as the money rightfully belonged to DIS.
9. Upon these payments being made, Capital Bank, through which payments were being made, then reported the transaction to FIA and DCEC as money-laundering. Following their reporting, my bank accounts were frozen. This happened despite the fact that both the Directors of FIA and DCEC knew and had in their possession, documents relating to the DIS funding.
10. In the early morning of December 3, 2017, I was arrested by DCEC officials at my office in the CBD on allegations of money-laundering. This was despite the fact that both the Director of FIA and DCEC knew that the allegations were false.
11. At DCEC offices, I again
12. ________ ________ ______, one ___________ told me that they were not interested in what I had to say or what the documents stated. _____ _ _____, in particular. expressed the view that the President and Isaac Kgosi had a corrupt relationship and that they would finally be able to detain and incarcerate Kgosi without HE’s protection as he was soon vacating office. __________ ____ also expressed his desire to see the Minister of Minerals and Green Technology locked up with Kgosi in order to frustrate his political ambition.
13. During our detention, we were not allowed to speak to our family members and our whereabouts were unknown. In an attempt to break us, we were kept at Gaborone Maximum Prison, with hardened criminals in the most filthy conditions.
I was constantly being asked during that time to implicate Kgosi and the minister in some wrongdoing. The DCEC and FIA believed that the payments to Israel were a contrived scheme by the President and Kgosi to steal from the treasury. No basis was ever provided to me for such a view. When we were taken to court, despite our families not knowing where we were, Botswana Television had the privilege of being invited by DCEC to cover our court ahead of time. The motives were clear to all of us. The DCEC and FIA were not interested in the truth. The whole saga was staged-managed to humiliate us to implicate Kgosi and the President in some wrongdoing.
14. I have never in my life seen and witnessed such abuse of power. My great disappointment however is that all the senior government officials who knew the truth, did nothing to intervene. Worse, the very government agencies, in particular DCEC and FIA did not even bother to call in the DCEC to establish the truth, let alone to ask the President if he had an improper relationship with Kgosi.
15. All government officials who should know, know that allegations of money laundering were false and that our arrest was malicious. One wonders what the real motives were. I have decided to speak publicly about both the DCEC and FIA, which are supposed to carry their investigations objectively and without malice but have been the worst perpetrators of this injustice. The motive has been to destroy my businesses and to discredit me professionally. In the course of time, the truth will come out. The government, despite knowing the truth, also stood-by and did nothing.
16. In the meantime, I can’t wait for my day in court and I intend to make available all the confidential documents in my possession when that time comes.
*Bakang Seretse is managing director of Kgori Capital. Seretse, Leburu and Kerekang were arrested on December 3 on allegations of money-laundering. The three accused persons were released on bail last Friday.