ORAPA: The Minister of Local Government and Rural Development, Slumber Tsogwane over the weekend launched an extraordinary tirade on the private media’s recent coverage of President Ian Khama.
Tsogwane was giving closing remarks at the official opening of the Adrian Gale Diamond Museum and the extended Orapa Game Park.
Towards the closure of his speech, Tsogwane said of recent Khama has been subjected to a sustained, unjustified and unpleasant coverage by the media.
Khama, who is due to vacate office at the end of this month, has made it no secret that he deeply loathes the local private media.
He has often accused the media of writing badly about him in a bid to push sales.
“We are concerned with the recent mischief in the media, but that will not derail our course your Excellency. When the mud is being thrown at you, we know it will not stick. That we have noted as part of your leadership and administration,” said Tsogwane.
He added, “That mischief in the media does not move the people of Boteti and Batswana in general. We greatly thank you for your outstanding leadership”.
Tsogwane told The Monitor that he was speaking in reference to recent media reports alleging that President Khama unduly benefitted from the P250 million misapproapriated from the National Petroleum Fund (NPF).
He is of the view that the way the NPF matter has been reported in the media has created an impression that indeed Khama benefitted from the Fund even though the case is still at its “infancy”.
“Even the debacle surrounding farewell gifts to Khama was given unnecessary attention by the media in my view and majority of the reports were negative towards Khama. (Former President Festus)
Some calculated Tsogwane’s gesture towards the press as a pure public relations exercise.
Asset manager, Bakang Seretse is facing charges of money laundering in relation to the P250 million NPF funds.
The prosecution alleges that the Directorate of Intelligence and Security (DIS) illegally spent the P250 million from the NPF.
Khulaco, a company managed by Seretse, allegedly disbursed the money to the DIS.
Last week Seretse’s lawyer Kgosietsile Ngakaagae alleged (in court) that Khama used money from the NPF to build a house and buy himself a caravan.
Ngakaagae did not reveal the amount Khama allegedly got from the NPF. According to Ngakaagae, Vice President Mokgweetsi Masisi is also one of the top politicians who benefited from the NPF funds as he allegedly pocketed about P3 million.
The Directorate on Corruption and Economic Crime (DCEC) has confirmed interviewing Masisi in relation to issues surrounding the P250 million NPF case.
The DCEC investigator, responding to Ngakaagae’s questioning, stated that he was not aware of Khama’s involvement in the NPF saga.
On Friday, the Office of the President refuted the claims that Masisi and Khama benefitted from the NPF funds.
The Botswana Democratic Party and some of its key members are also said to have benefited from the petroleum fund as well as other key government officials.