The Directorate of Intelligence and Security (DIS) has reportedly decided to engage independent investigators to pursue four suspended senior officers who allegedly leaked information on the P11 million purchase of presidential armoured vehicles, Mmegi has learnt.
This publication has established that independent investigators were sought after a disciplinary board set up for the four officers flopped recently. It emerged that no one within it was capacitated to investigate the deputy director-general operations, who is one of the accused.
The four senior officials, who also include the director of transport and two procurement officers, are reportedly each facing a single count of divulging classified information. The DIS says the alleged actions compromised national security.
The purchase of the armoured vehicles has outraged many Batswana who say it is an untimely and unnecessary expenditure as the country is scrambling for funds to fight COVID-19.
The quartet, according to highly-placed sources, were allegedly responsible for procuring the armoured cars and had information even about their arrival in the country from the manufacturer earlier this year.
Botswana is the third country in Southern Africa to buy the luxurious vehicles which, the Vice President Slumber Tsogwane told Parliament recently were procured at about $1, 015, 533. 28 (about P11.1 million).
“The only person who can investigate the director general operations is the deputy director-general administration who allegedly is not seeing eye to eye with the DIS director-general, Peter Magosi,” insiders told Mmegi.
“The DIS wants to instead bring in independent investigators to handle the matter.”
The source added: “The head of procurement and the procurement officer have been called for a hearing and it was done by some outsiders. We do not know those men and that is against the Act”.
According to information gathered by Mmegi, the suspended employees have to explain why classified information was leaked to the public and how it came to be that the public knew about the arrival of the said vehicles at the border. They have to also explain the pictures that were taken and the videos that were seen circulating on social media which, according to the letter charging them, compromised national security.
Meanwhile, it is understood one of the suspended employees was previously dismissed from the intelligence agency in 2013 for
The employee, name known to this publication, was previously accused of divulging classified information to the Directorate on Corruption and Economic Crime (DCEC).
“The official had previously told the DCEC that there were files to be destroyed to cover up corrupt activities when in fact the truck carried old files that originated from the Special Branch at the time.
“The DCEC was aided by the Military Police to intercept the truck.
“The said employee never made an appeal after the dismissal,” insiders said.
Mmegi has also been informed that another of the suspended officers is also being investigated for misappropriation of funds worth about P4 million after some garages contracted to provide services to the DIS, complained of non-payment.
Parliamentarians have been butting heads over the purchase of the armoured vehicles, with opposition MPs this week accusing the Botswana Democratic Party of prioritising “frivolous” purchases in the midst of a national crisis. R
uling party legislators, meanwhile, said the expenditure was not only pre-planned and pre-approved, but was nothing compared to alleged irregular spending that took place in the previous administration.
Last week, the Leader of Opposition Dumelang Saleshando asked Tsogwane to confirm if indeed President Mokgweetsi Masisi had “issued a directive for the purchasing of five armoured vehicles for his use as reported in the media”.
In response, Tsogwane said media reports on the directive were “wrong, misleading and malicious”.
“The said vehicles were purchased by the DIS in fulfilment of its established mandate to provide protective security services to the President, the Vice President, visiting Heads of State and other Very Important Persons (VIP). “The procurement of the vehicles had nothing to do with COVID-19 as the tender was awarded before the pandemic outbreak on September 20, 2019, by the Public Procurement and Asset Disposal Board (PPADB).
“The vehicles in question were purchased by the Directorate from its budget having followed PPADB procurement requirements.”