Almost after a full year since he was charged, one of the three accused in the P250 million National Petroleum Fund (NPF) money-laundering scandal, Kenneth Kerekang, has been suspended from office.
He is an executive director of the newly established Botswana Energy Regulatory Authority (BERA). According to a source close to the development, Board chairperson, Eric Molale who is the new Minister of Mineral Resources, Green Technology and Energy Security, gave Kerekang the suspension letter on Tuesday.
Kerekang is one of the four full-time members in an eight-member Board, which has the chief executive officer (CEO) as an ex-officio. Kerekang, formerly a director at the Department of Energy in the Ministry, together with Bakang Seretse who resigned his post as managing director of Kgori Capital, and Botho Leburu, a director at Khulaco Management Services are on bail in the alleged money-laundering case.
The case involves the NPF’s P250 million that was transferred to the Directorate of Intelligence and Security (DIS) for construction of fuel storage tanks, before being diverted for the alleged purchase of military hardware from Israel.
In the suspension letter dated August 1, 2018, which this publication is in possession of, Molale states that, “I recently received confirmation of criminal proceedings against you. “As you are aware, you have been charged with a single count of money-laundering contrary to Section 47 (1) (b) of the Proceeds and Instruments of Crime Act (Cap) 08:03). “According to the stated Act, the charge carries a maximum sentence of 20 years imprisonment, or a maximum fine of P20 million or
“In line with my powers conferred under Section 12 of the BERA Act, I am therefore suspending you from office without pay until further notice.”
Molale further states, in the letter, that during Kerekang’s suspension he shall not carry out any duties nor be entitled to any remuneration nor allowance.
Kerekang was earning around P100,000 a month.
According to the BERA Act, “the Minister may, in writing, suspend from office a member against whom criminal proceedings are instituted for an offence in respect of which a sentence of imprisonment may be imposed, and whilst that member is so suspended, he or she shall not carry out any duties nor be entitled to any remuneration nor allowances as a member of the Board”.
While Member of Parliament Sadique Kebonang, who was the energy minister at the time did not take any action, the newly appointed one, Molale moved to use his discretion to suspend Kerekang.
Sources close to the case are of the view that Kerekang’s suspension is harsh considering that it is the Office of the President, which Molale was previously supervising that ordered the security equipment from Israeli arms company, Dignia Systems on behalf of the DIS on November 2017. The DIS and the Directorate on Corruption and Economic Crime were under Molale then. What does this say about his leadership style?” the source wondered.