President Mokgweetsi Masisi denied reports on Tuesday night that he intends to waive his presidential immunity on the judicial process of the National Petroleum Fund (NPF) looting.
“This thing ya gore I am going to lift my presidential immunity to testify in court, I read about. Nna I have pledged my innocence with respect to taking any money from NPF, or any such allegation,” Masisi said at a press conference at the Sir Seretse Khama International Airport.
Masisi was presenting to the media his wrap-up of his AU Summit trip just after landing at the Gaborone airport from Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.
Last year Mmegi reported on the new money-trail evidence before the Directorate on Corruption and Economic Crime (DCEC), which linked President Masisi with allegations of funds donated for his BDP leadership campaign in 2017 by the now embattled asset manager Bakang Seretse who is the first accused in the multimillion pula NPF looting scandal.
Over P230 million has been embezzled from the NPF.
Last August, leader of the Umbrella for Democratic Change (UDC) Duma Boko also labelled Masisi a criminal suspect.
Boko said: “He [Masisi] funded his ‘Camp Dubai’ mainly from NPF money. It has also been suggested that President Masisi used at least three law firms to receive and disburse these funds. President Masisi becomes, without any doubt, a criminal suspect”.
Yesterday while Masisi was flying home returning from his successful AU Summit, former minerals minister, Sadique Kebonang and his co-accused in the NPF looting, told the High Court that the money he received from the scandal-ridden private equity firm, Capital Management Botswana (CMB) executives was also used to fund Masisi’s BDP chair campaign.
Legal experts opine that the string of serious allegations against the President would never be proven in a court of law since Section 41 of the Constitution gives a sitting President absolute immunity against any form of prosecution. So Masisi would not have his day in court.
Last month there were newspaper reports claiming that Masisi told his officials that he will be boldly waiving his presidential immunity with regards to the NPF looting probe to allow investigators and the judicial processes to subject him to full scrutiny.
The President has now gone on record denying opting for such an audacious move to lift his presidential immunity. He has, however, vowed to never stand in the way of the law through the judicial process.
“As I stand here before you, I stole nobody’s money. We campaigned as a team in Tonota and we informed all that we work with that this must be clean money. As a President I will never stand in the way of anybody being pursued for corruptive behaviour,” Masisi said.