FRANCISTOWN: The director of business services at the Botswana Investment and Trade Centre (BITC) Gaorekwe Gaorekwe has called on the Directorate on Corruption and Economic Crime (DCEC) to crack the whip against prominent people who are corrupt.
Airing his views during a meet and greet session that was organised by DCEC at Marang Gardens Hotel recently, Gaorekwe urged the crime bursting agency not to adopt the George Orwellian tendency of treating prominent offenders more equal than lesser mortals as crime knows no social status.
Gaorekwe, who spoke during the question and comments session after the director general of DCEC, Joseph Mathambo told the audience his roadmap, said that in most cases, when Batswana speak about corruption, they speak about perceptions. He said Batswana are already questioning if the DCEC is an effective organisation or just a toothless bulldog.“I think there is a general concern from the public that DCEC is not performing its functions effectively, but reports show a different story,” said Gaorekwe. “In most reports, Botswana is listed amongst the least corrupt nations. This may be untrue if we go by perceptions we have about corruption in Botswana.” Citing an example, Gaorekwe said there was a time when the DCEC was buying advertising space in newspapers and listing Batswana who were alleged to be corrupt.
“Amongst those who were listed in the newspapers were people charged with minor offences like stealing chickens and peanut butter in schools,” Gaorekwe said.
He added: “When are we going to see names of fat cats appearing in those newspaper adverts who we know are corrupt to the core? We might not have evidence but DCEC might has an
Gaorekwe further stated that there is a perception that there is too much white-collar corruption in Botswana that is committed by high placed officials who are not brought to book as if they are above the law.
“We want to see those prominent people who are bleeding national coffers brought to book just like petty criminals,” said Gaorekwe, who added that perceptions in some instances might be true.
When responding to Gaorekwe, Mathambo said that Gaorekwe and the general public must assist DCEC by providing names and proof of corrupt prominent people. “I think that nowadays we are going somewhere as DCEC because we are one of the few countries that have arraigned prominent people such as former ministers and judges.
More are still going to be charged,” Mathambo promised. Compared to other countries, Mathambo said Botswana is doing better hence former ministers and other high-ranking officials have been brought to book.
Mathambo encouraged different stakeholders at the gathering to tip off the DCEC if they are aware of prominent people who may be involved in corrupt practices so that they may be investigated.
“It largely depends on you to help us investigate corrupt individuals. You need to report them because they work closely with you,” Mathambo pleaded.
He said corruption is a cancer that can devour the country brick by brick if it is not nipped in the bud with immediate effect.