EXPOSED: The missing link in Kalafatis murder

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A 2009 phone log and a secret video of an interrogation session of a drug dealer cum spy provides the crucial pieces to the jigsaw puzzle that is the murder of John Kalafatis and how the plan by members of the Botswana Defence Force Military Intelligence (MI) and the Directorate of Intelligence and Security (DIS) to eliminate him were hatched. Staff writers, THALEFANG CHARLES and NTIBINYANE NTIBINYANE investigate

The documents provide insight into how DIS director general, Isaac Kgosi may have been involved in the death of John Kalafatis.

Kalafatis was brutally shot and killed execution style by members of the BDF Military Intelligence (MI). Three officers of MI Gotshosamang Sechele, Ronny Matako, and Boitshoko Maifala were subsequently found guilty of his murder in 2011. However, President Ian Khama pardoned them a few months into their 11-year jail sentence. The men have since gone back to work.

Documented information shows that Andrew Sanderson, a rogue spy who told Mmegi in 2009 that he was hired by important people in the society to kill Kalafatis was closely connected to Kgosi, a few months before the death of Kalafatis.

The revelation comes from Sanderson’s phone log. The MI tapped and extracted the information from his phone in March 2009. It also comes from a video footage of his intense interrogation by members of MI some of whom later executed Kalafatis.

The extracted information covered contacts, SMS - text messages and call logs, from his Nokia 3109c cellphone. Sanderson, however, did not save outgoing messages and the tapping got blank on the outgoing texts except one. At the time the tapping took place. John Kalafatis was still alive.

In one of the messages sent to Sanderson by the late Alan West who was purportedly robbed by John Kalafatis, he appeared to be boasting, “We have got younger brother to KALAFATIS”. West, who has since died, was closely related to President Ian Khama.  The younger Kalafatis in this case was Costa Kalafatis according to sources in the intelligence community. The message was sent at 8:02pm on January 5, 2009.

That night, just after midnight at 12:29am Sanderson received another message, this time from Kgosi using his Orange number, stored in Sanderson’s phone as Kgosi 2. It reads, “The father is drivin a white bakkie B242 AOA nd the son B503AIV corolla its silver in colour (sic).”

Sources told Mmegi this week Kgosi may have been referring to the Kalafatis in his message to Sanderson.  This week Costa Kalafatis through his lawyer refused to talk about the issue. Kgosi is not talking to the media following his much-publicised allegations of corruption.

In 2009 Sanderson exclusively told Mmegi that he was hired to kill Kalafatis. He alleged then that a certain old man and his business partner, with the assistance of senior officials approached him from DIS to kill Kalafatis. He said he was promised P15,000 as down payment with about P65,000 to be delivered after the job was done. Sanderson repeated the same allegation in the interrogation by MI officers.


MI and Kalafatis

Sanderson had close links with MI. The relationship was so close that at one point in 2009 and 2008 he worked with the agency on some of their operations. 

In the leaked interrogation video of Sanderson by the MI after being arrested in Gaborone while planning to skip the country to meet his handlers, he revealed how he met Kalafatis.

It is evident that although initially the MI was not after Kalafatis, they were aware of his and younger brother Costa’s alleged criminal records.

In the video the four MI officers, some whom were later convicted for killing Kalafatis, discuss knowing John Kalafatis committed a crime in Phakalane at the home of President Ian Khama’s close friends. They speak of how Kalafatis was heavily armed and dangerous. The conversation goes like this:

Agent 1: A ko o mpolele ka Kalafatis, le ntse le a mmatla? [Tell me about Kalafatis, are you still looking for him?]

Agent 2: Re a mmatla le gompieno ga re mmone. Re dumela gore o tsamaya ka Uzi. [We are still looking for him and can’t find him. We believe he has an Uzi]. And we believe he might be having more than 200 rounds. Ga anke a iphitlha Kalafatis le goka, gompieno o itse gore o bolaile di brothers tsa bo Ian Khama, that’s why John a sia.... John o itse a bolaile lekgoa. West.  Ene o itse a bolaile West. Ke ene a buileng gore banna ke tobeditse go sele. [Kalafatis never hides, never, but now he thinks he has killed Ian Khama’s brothers…. that’s why he is on the run. He has himself confessed that ‘man I touched the wrong button’.

Agent 1: Mothaka yo o batla something. [That dude needs something]

Agent 3. Nyaya o batla go hulwa hela. [No, he needs to be shot]


The troublesome coloureds

In one string of their conversation the MI agents insensitively refer to people of mixed race as troublesome coloureds. They develop a theory that, “coloureds were used by Zimbabwe to infiltrate Botswana.” The theory, brought by one of the men who was tried and convicted for the murder of Kalafatis suggests “coloureds” were used in the Zimbabwe war.

The MI officers say in the video that the coloureds were targeting white people. One of the security agents even tells the other agents during an interrogation break that the whites had told him that they were frequently targeted by the coloureds led by John Kalafatis.

The whites apparently wanted action to be taken against the group, which included coloureds from Zimbabwe.  When they interrogated Sanderson about his relations with the Kalafatis family he responded, “I met the mother, I know Costa and I have had two fights with him. I know John too.” Sanderson also lists DIS agents (names withheld) as some of Kalafatis’ close associates.

The MI officers press him for more details on John. He tells them John was the fieriest of the Kalafatis. “He always has a gun. The CZ 75, he is smart, always loaded.” Sanderson tells the agents that Kalafatis killed one guy closely linked to the president, something that the agents dispute.

Did the agents use information provided by Sanderson to eliminate Kalafatis? It appears so.  For, two months after the interrogation the same agents who interviewed Sanderson executed Kalafatis. Was Sanderson telling the truth about the heavily armed Kalafatis? It is hard to tell, but Sanderson’s credibility has always been questionable.


Andrew Sanderson

Andrew Sanderson is a British Canadian spy who was arrested in 2009 for his engagement with the Zimbabwean intelligence operations in Botswana. 

This was during the well-publicised diplomatic tensions between Gaborone and Harare over allegations that president Robert Mugabe rigged the country’s general elections.

Interestingly, Sanderson was declared a prohibited immigrant by the government of Botswana in 2007.

Sanderson has gone on record that DIS director Isaac Kgosi brought him back to assist in drug investigations, according to the Sunday Standard. At one point Sanderson doubled as a spy and a drug dealer.


Inside the rogue spy’s phonebook

Andrew Sanderson, an international spy who was, at one point allegedly contracted to kill the late John Kalafatis and previously spied for Zimbabwe was a well-connected man.

Mmegi investigation team went through Sanderson’s leaked phonebook and found out that highly placed personalities were just a phone call away.

In his Nokia 3109c phonebook with 247 contacts Mmegi has established that Sanderson was in constant communication with DIS agents from all ranks. Top of the spies who constantly talked with Sanderson was none other than the chief spook himself, Isaac Kgosi.

So close was Sanderson to Kgosi that he kept both of Kgosi’s personal phone numbers – his Mascom and Orange numbers, as evidenced by documents in Mmegi’s possession. 

This is another indication that Sanderson was no ordinary spy and that he was deep in the spooks’ network.

In one communication Kgosi sent Sanderson an SMS on the January 6, 2009 around 0029hrs, giving him registration numbers and colours of some vehicles whose owners were not specified in the SMS. Suspicions are that the numbers may have been about the late John Kalafatis and his family members. 

The SMS communications studied by Mmegi also show constant communication between Sanderson and a number of known DIS agents and senior CID police officers (names withheld). 

Sanderson also kept contact numbers of, among others, a senior minister in President Ian Khama’s government, a former minister in Festus Mogae administration, a prominent member of one of the royal families, and the late Alan West’s private numbers. In some of the messages West communicated with Sanderson using military codes with reference to military intelligence.

The phonebook also has known journalists’ numbers, an indication that Sanderson may have infiltrated the media.

There are hordes of coded foreign numbers covering countries like US, UK, South Africa and Zimbabwe.

On close study of his SMS inbox, many of the other numbers were to or from girlfriends (the babes and babywe) that he was constantly sex-texting.

The inbox also shows messages that suggest dealings in hard drugs. A number of junkies stored with short abbreviated names with numbers kept desperately asking for unspecified ‘stuff’.


Kgosi’s deal with a drug dealer

The Directorate of Intelligence and Security (DIS) director Isaac Kgosi entered into a deal with Andrew Sanderson, a drug dealer-cum-spy, to help him identify drug lords and suppliers in Gaborone. 

Sanderson made these allegations during an interrogation session by members of the Botswana Defence Force  (BDF) Military Intelligence (MI) in 2009.

The nature of the relationship between the DIS chief and Sanderson was not known until this week. Sanderson tells the interrogators that he was paid by the DIS to track down his fellow drug dealers. Mmegi has seen a two-hour interrogation video in which Sanderson discloses to four members of MI about his attachment to the spy chief. 

“…I had an agreement with Colonel (Isaac) Kgosi, I have given him 70 percent of the dealers in this town… He wanted me to help with identifying guys selling crack and cocaine in this town.” 

He further revealed that the gentlemen’s agreement with Kgosi succeeded, as they were able to arrest key figures in the drug underworld.

According to Sanderson his partnership with Kgosi was a match ‘made in heaven’.

“We managed to retrieve an awful lot of information. I was able to provide him with names, addresses, telephones and cars of the drug dealers in town. We made a number of arrests including one big guy from Tlokweng called Rudeboy – a white guy,” he said, adding that three major drug suppliers were also arrested.

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