Mmegi Online :: FIA Act amendment exposes Masisi's dark side
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Friday 16 November 2018, 11:44 am.
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FIA Act amendment exposes Masisi's dark side

The President's decision to have the Financial Intelligence Agency (FIA) moved under his authority is unsettling and it is much like what his predecessor had done with the two anti-crime agencies, which lost their bark and bite during his tenure.
By Mmegi Editor Fri 15 Jun 2018, 11:29 am (GMT +2)
Mmegi Online :: FIA Act amendment exposes Masisi's dark side








With good reason, there was outcry when former president, Ian Khama relocated the Directorate on Corruption and Economic Crime (DCEC) and the Directorate of Intelligence and Security (DIS) during his term. The two were moved from the Ministry of Defence, Justice and Security to the Office of the President (OP). Those who were against the move, accused Khama of being guilty of centralising power, his in particular. They pointed out that these two agencies should be independent and be free of OP’s potential abuse and control.

The opponents of the move also reasoned that Khama wanted to protect himself and his ‘corrupt’ Cabinet from DCEC scrutiny. It seems the new administration under the leadership of President Mokgweetsi Masisi did not learn anything from Khama’s misrule.

Masisi is proving to be old wine in a new bottle. Nothing much has changed from Khama’s era and Masisi’s period, policy-wise. Newspapers are awash with reports that Masisi intends to move the FIA to the OP. He also wants to appoint the director-general of the agency. In fact, Clause 5 of the Bill amends the Act by deleting Section 3(2) as the director-general will be appointed by the President.

This FIA is currently under the Ministry of Finance and Economic Development and the Minister appoints the director. The last manoeuvre is

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a clear demonstration that Masisi just like Khama, are power possessed. Masisi is looking a little more like the new Khama. The two are birds of the same feather, or two sides of the same coin. He is the same as Khama with concentration and centralisation of power at the OP for abuse of such power in dealing with political opponents and for such institutions to lack independence. This move is also autocratic.

In a proper functioning democracy, oversight institutions need to be independent, well-resourced and account to Parliament not the OP. We wonder what will happen if the President and his cabal in power and his financial handlers are implicated in financial irregularities? Will the FIA then have the guts to deal with them? From experience, the agency will, we can bet, compromise the investigations just like the DCEC is now infamously powerless. They will only target small-time crooks and look away when the real criminals are implicated.

 

Today’s thought 

“The abuse of these financial public institutions is a continuation of the BDP legacy as the party once brought another financial institution to its knees. The National Development Bank (NDB) is yet to recover from the devastating unpaid loans and interests from the BDP’s close associates, including cabinet ministers.” 

– Justin Hunyepa (BNF spokesperson)

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