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All Eyes On Butale Over Customs Discrepancy

PINI BOTHOKO
Biggie Butalle. PIC: MORERI SEJAKGOMO
An encounter between the Botswana Unified Revenue Service (BURS) and the Botswana Patriotic Front president, Biggie Butale, over a customs incident has left inconsistencies on the ‘undeclared’ amounts of money in question.

Butale has hit the headlines since Thursday following he and his wife’s interrogation by customs officials upon their arrival from South Africa at the Ramotswa Border Post.

The couple was interrogated on allegations that they were carrying ‘undisclosed and undeclared’ amounts of money in their car. The search attracted great attention after customs engaged sniffer dogs to carry out the search.

Customs later seized his Toyota Wish car and took it to BURS head office in Gaborone where it was scanned. The car was seized overnight up until they continued with the search the following day to no avail.

Addressing the media on Thursday, Butale said he was not shocked by what transpired because he noticed a car was tailing him on his way to Johannesburg, South Africa where he had attended a three-day National Democratic Institute conference that was held in Sandton, Johannesburg.

Then he said he was supposed to have flown back to Botswana, but his wife asked him to drive back with her.

Asked how much money he had in his possession Thursday afternoon, Butale said his wife had around R20,000 that he admitted was not declared.

Briefing the media on Friday after the final search of his car, Butale said BURS recovered money amounting to R41,800 from them contrary to R20,000 that he had mentioned the previous day.

He went on to state that the said money was meant to purchase stock for his wife’s business, but could not as he had an emergency to rush back for.

This resulted in Facebook followers challenging his credibility stating that he was contradicting himself. Some went on to accuse him of hiding the facts while some reckoned he might be speaking out

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of nerves.

Butale said he was not surprised with what transpired because he had long noticed a car tailing them from Swartruggens, South Africa and suspected something was about to happen.

“My wife dismissed me saying it was just a car heading its (own) way, but my gut told me the car was following us because even when I reduced the speed it kept on following us not overtaking,” Butale said.

The BPF president was adamant it was a plot to embarrass him as they found Radio Botswana and Sunday Standard waiting for him on the other end upon arrival at the border.

He further stated that the government of Botswana humiliated him by being searched in public with his undergarments in full view of the public.

“I am not bitter, I hope Batswana will realise the kind of government they have. I was shocked to find those media houses at the border.

It appears as if they were briefed on what was going to happen. I do not think in the 53 years of the country Radio Botswana has ever carried a breaking story but they did it with me yesterday,” Butale said.

Asked when he will pick up his car Butale said, “I have decided not to drive that car anymore. My family and friends advised me not to drive that car anymore because they fear something might have been planted in it. I love my car because it’s a gift, but there is nothing I can do. I have decided not to drive it again”.

He went on to dismiss allegations that the car does not belong to him stating that it was a gift from a church member.



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