Magosi faces the chop?

Magosi (right) standing behind President Masisi PIC: THALEFANG CHARLES
Magosi (right) standing behind President Masisi PIC: THALEFANG CHARLES

The director general of the Directorate of Intelligence and Security (DIS), Peter Magosi is reportedly for the chop.

The spy chief’s job is supposedly on the line, as it has emerged that his relationship with President Mokgweetsi Masisi has allegedly turned sour.

It is understood that Magosi’s fate is not only in the hands of Masisi, but also of the Directorate on Corruption and Economic Crime (DCEC). It has also emerged that it is not only Magosi who could find himself out of a job.

It is purported the Attorney General, Abraham Keetshabe and the Director of Public Prosecution (DPP), Stephen Tiroyakgosi, too could have jeopardised their jobs over their indirect role in the wanton breaches of government rules.

They did not play a direct role, but they should take responsibility, sources close to DIS said.

“Magosi’s actions happened under their watch and the President is of the view that they should take responsibility. They should have raised red flags but instead they slept on their jobs,” an intelligence source said. Security insiders posit that while the DPP could escape the axe because the law protects him from being fired without any misconduct, the AG remains vulnerable because he is not protected by any provision.

Masisi is said to have been livid after it emerged that the case in which senior intelligence agent Welheminah Maswabi codenamed Butterfly was charged with, amongst others, terrorism financing only to discover that those were trumped up charges laced with fabricated evidence.

It is understood that jurisdictions or countries where Maswabi allegedly stacked away national funds in offshore accounts have denied that they have such a client.

For instance Indonesia, Britain, Scotland, the United States of America (USA) and Hong Kong have denied the existence of such accounts or funds in their banks.

In fact, the country’s image and reputation in diplomatic circles has taken a beating.

“Some of their diplomats even questioned the wisdom of coming up with such damaging and unfounded allegations. Some of them described the case as utter ridiculous wondering where Botswana could have gotten such funds since the country’s foreign reserves have never gone beyond the P90 billion mark,” the source said.

The above-mentioned countries join other banks from neighbouring South Africa, which have distanced themselves from the matter. The President is reported to have been rubbed the wrong way and is embarrassed after Bank of Botswana Governor Moses Pelaelo informed legislators during their induction late last year that there were no missing funds from the central bank.

“Magosi’s actions culminated in numerous negative media reports, wherein a number of people were belittled, insulted and portrayed in bad light and thereby bringing not only the central bank but the country into disrepute. There are fears that the government is going to be sued for millions of pula by those mentioned in the falsified court case,” the intelligence source said. 

According to an affidavit deposed by estranged DCEC investigation officer, Jako Hubona, former President Ian Khama allegedly instructed the central bank to shift over P100 billion to secret accounts and later moved the funds to several offshore companies and banks.

Former DIS director general, Isaac Kgosi, is also implicated in the alleged money laundering. The two men have since denied these allegations.

It has also emerged that the affidavit by Hubona was drafted and filed with the court without the consent or knowledge of DCEC director general, Brigadier Joseph Mathambo or other senior managers at DCEC. This is said to have escalated tension between Magosi and Mathambo.

As the tension between the two men boils over, Mathambo is said to have told Masisi in no uncertain terms that the former was “making my job a living hell”. The two men are not on speaking terms.

Mathambo felt belittled by Magosi’s decision to use his officer to do such a task.

The DIS boss knew that some people could question the legality of the involvement of his organisation in some of the operations that fall under the mandate of other law enforcement agencies hence sacrificed Hubona.

 “The President found himself caught between a rock and a hard place because Magosi is now a powerful man since he is in possession of a dossier that could implicate him. He could have been fired late last year, but the exit strategy hatched achieved little success.

That is why these days he is hardly following His Excellency around wherever he goes in public like he used to do. His sins are multiplying by the day and he is proving to be a thorn on Masisi’s side, who can’t wait to see his back,” the source said.

There are claims that Magosi has undisclosed relationships with some Chinese companies, which have been at war with each other over multimillion pula government tenders.

The corruption-busting agency is now reportedly trying to piece together information that is likely to see Magosi being charged with amongst others, living beyond their means.

Sources within the intelligence circles alleged that DCEC was following leads and paper trail showing that Magosi owned property that did not match with his salary as a public officer as well as suspicious bank transactions.

But key to Magosi’s downfall, sources say, would be his decision to overstep his legal authority dozens of times every time there is an investigation that falls under the purview of other law enforcement agencies. 

He is accused of fuelling the fragmentation of the already disorganised national intelligence community, consisting of Botswana Defence Force (BDF), Botswana Police Service (BPS) and DIS.

There used to be a mutual assistance amongst law enforcement agencies, but now there is no inter-agency collaboration because they do not cooperate closely. Even some of Masisi’s inner circles amongst them former BDF commander Lieutenant General Tebogo Masire and Masisi’s brother Brigadier Thulaganyo Masisi have lost confidence in Magosi and they believe he is a liability to the President.

On a related matter, security agents have revealed that Hubona and assistant director of prosecution Priscilla Israel, who is prosecuting in the P100 billion case, have been provided with a round-the-clock security.

“They have been assigned half a dozen of armed body guards who follow them around,” a source said.

“This is strange because unlike Judges who send hardcore criminals to prison who could hold grudges against them, are not provided with a 24-hour security,” said the source.

Judges in Botswana only enjoy protection and security detail of one police officer.

The source said, because Magosi is under pressure, he has revived conspiracy theories of President Masisi’s life being in danger.

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