Democracy suffers as DIS cracks the whip

DCEC headquarters PIC: MORERI SEJAKGOMO
DCEC headquarters PIC: MORERI SEJAKGOMO

The raiding of the office of the graft buster, the Directorate on Corruption and Economic Crime (DCEC) boss, Tymon Katlholo this week has heightened fears of political interference in the affairs of the country by the Executive.

Officially, Katlholo whose office was sealed off by the DIS investigators Tuesday afternoon in his absence follows allegations that he has killed all efforts by his staff to investigate former president Ian Khama and his ally Isaac Kgosi, formerly DIS director-general in relation to possession of weapons of war. The other official reason for the raid is the allegation that Katlholo has refused to act on anything that implicates Khama and Kgosi. But, there is yet another allegation that in fact, the DIS chose to raid Katlholo’s office and that of his staff officer in his absence so that it could lay hands amongst others on files including that in which President Mokgweetsi Masisi and the DIS director-general, Peter Magosi are facing corruption allegations. So, the allegations suggest that the raid was more on snatching these two high profile files. In some quarters, the latest machinations by the DIS have been described as a threat to democracy. Quizzed about this rather scandalous development, the DIS director of public relations, Edward Robert vehemently denied the allegations. “The DCEC is governed by the DCEC Act while the DIS is governed by the DIS Act. The two pieces of legislation bring about separation of roles between the two institutions and there is no way one can encroach into the territory of the other to a point where there is interference as you suggest,” explained Robert. He was steadfast that actually his office would not be in a position to know whom the DCEC is investigating unless there is a good reason for the anti corruption agency to want to share that information with the DiS.

Ironically, the DIS raided the DCEC in search of specific files despite Robert's assertion. “To answer your question, I am not aware of any investigation against President Masisi or the director-general of the DIS,” Robert further emphasised. He was also adamant that by raiding the DCEC office, the DIS was not interfering with the work of the DCEC. “The DIS derives its mandate from the law. And the law is clear on what the Directorate can do and it cannot do. The DIS believes it is doing what it is doing in full compliance and observance of the law,” he said. Meanwhile, former DIS DG, Brigadier Joseph Mathambo left the DCEC at a time when there were growing concerns at the graft-busting agency that the DIS was overstepping its mandate. Mathambo previously cried foul that the DIS had snatched some files from the DCEC without permission to further investigate. At the time President Masisi is alleged to have intervened in the Magosi/Mathambo turf wars.

Editor's Comment
Are police trigger-happy?

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