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Boko warns Swiss firm against DIS deal

The Umbrella for Democratic Change (UDC) leader, Duma Boko has cautioned a Swiss company approached by the Directorate of Intelligence and Security (DIS) to negotiate and purchase certain surveillance equipment to cease and desist from engaging in such sale.

Boko’s Geneva-based attorney, Dragan Zeljic, disclosed this on September 3, 2019 in a letter to Plath AG Group.

“Mr Boko was informed that, the Plath Group was approached by the senior executives of the Directorate of Intelligence and Security (DIS) to negotiate and purchase certain surveillance equipment, including such with interception features and ID cards reading capabilities,” disclosed Zeljic.

He also said it is worth mentioning that, since its inception in 2008, the DIS has been accused of many human rights violations and politicisation. “The DIS’ current chief himself, Mr Peter Fana Magosi, is said to be involved in extra-judicial executions and political surveillance of the opposition.”

He added that according to reliable information, Boko and the UDC have reason to believe that the said purchase of equipment and intelligence technologies from the Plath Group may be agreed in breach of the applicable Botswana regulation and be outside of the legally mandatory tender procedures and budgets.

“Moreover, Mr Boko and UDC are concerned that this equipment might in fact be used for the benefit of the ruling party, BDP, for electoral purposes, in order to exercise undue and illegal surveillance of the opposition parties, first and foremost of the UDC as the main opposition force in Botswana, and even to organise a potential electoral fraud by misusing the ID cards-related equipment whether to refuse potential opposition voters or to include inexistent voters in the electoral process,” Boko’s counsel said.

Selling the said equipment would therefore likely allow or facilitate further abuse of human rights against the people of Botswana by the DIS and the ruling BDP and political persecution, even by violence, of the political opponents to the current regime and meddling in the political process in Botswana, Zeljic claimed.

“You should be

aware that such acts may potentially amount to a criminal offence in Switzerland and constitute the breach of the foreign sovereignty (Art. 299 Swiss Criminal Code) and participation to electoral fraud (Art. 282 Swiss Criminal Code).”

“The undersigned has no doubt,” he said, “that your company acted in good faith in its dealings with the DIS.”

However, that now the Plath Group is aware of the stated facts, Boko and UDC ask the company to react immediately and cease and desist from any and all activities pertaining to the sale of the said equipment, at least until the end of the 2019 general elections on October 23.

This would be a more than reasonable precaution, the counsel said, especially in light of the potential public image deterioration and liability that the company may incur should it be involved in violation of human rights and meddling into the elections.

Boko suggested to the company to undertake all due diligence to enquire about the purchase process, origin of the funds to be used, and use of any equipment that may be ordered by the DIS or official agents of Botswana during the electoral period. 

“It is important to know that, in the likely event of an electoral win, Mr Boko and UDC intend to undertake an independent and non-partisan audit of the activities of the DIS, which will include its role in the 2019 elections and potential abuse of office for the benefit of political party(ies) or political figures.”

In conclusion the letter stated that any foreign supplier and their representatives or employees found to have sold equipment or technologies used for the abusive purposes, as outlined in the correspondence, would be facing potential investigation and prosecution in Botswana and/or their home jurisdiction.




Former BDP members

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