GABORONE: The Directorate on Corruption and Economic Crime (DCEC) has resuscitated about 13 prominent corruption-related cases that closed investigations due to the alleged insufficient evidence to prosecute.
The cases, now in the hands of the newly-appointed DCEC Director General, Brigadier Joseph Mathambo, include the BCL Mine and Pula Steel corruption cases.
The two cases in particular, were closed controversially amidst hullabaloo of hefty multi-million pula losses incurred in the investment by the Botswana Government.
“There are quite a number of cases that I am going to resuscitate in the interest of the public.
These are the cases that I feel the nation did not benefit well from way back,” Mathambo, the new broom sweeping at the DCEC headquarters, told Mmegi this week.
Mathambo and his team of crack investigators have already reopened a good number of cases for further investigation and these are cases that were closed due to insufficient evidence to prosecute.
Heads are obviously going to roll as the former BCL Mine executives will have to answer many tough questions relating to the oldest copper/nickel mine’s collapse and related issues.
In equal measure, some DCEC investigators will have to answer if they are found to have done a shoddy job deliberately because of any ‘inducement’ in the process of their duty.
Information is emerging from the DCEC headquarters that some DCEC investigators are being questioned for doing a shoddy job in some of the prominent cases that are being resuscitated.
“I have reopened such cases. They are quite many and now we have about 13 of them that we are actively involved in at the moment and the numbers will definitely grow as we continue to assess them,” highlighted the DCEC helmsman.
Amongst the prominent cases are the copper/nickel BCL Mine, which closed in 2016 shedding off thousands of jobs in the process and its sister company, Pula Steel, which came about as a result of the mine’s expansionary project otherwise known as Polaris II.
The government had invested millions of pula, which have seemingly gone down the abyss raising speculation that something went wrong in such projects that are now the subject of the DCEC fresh investigations.
Besides the BCL Mine and the Pula Steel, “there are many cases that we are looking into thoroughly and we are assessing (them) case by case”.
Mathambo was adamant that, “this country was in a situation called State capture where certain institutions were systematically weakened and squeezed to a position where they could not perform their mandate”.
He insisted worriedly that unfortunately, the public was not aware of all that.
“Look at the relations of the people. It pains me if justice is not served well on certain issues because of corrupt relations.”
Mathambo was worried that some DCEC investigators have deliberately collapsed investigations for their benefit something that the new DCEC head is adamant they have to win back the confidence of the public they serve.
Currently, there are disciplinary cases ongoing in Maun and other areas for wrongdoers and these are officers that have been removed from investigations and placed elsewhere.
Mathambo’s regime will not handle wrongdoers with kid gloves and he explained: “I am not going to do that. If you are involved in corrupt practice, you are immediately removed.
That’s the rule. If you have become compromised as a DCEC officer, you are thoroughly investigated and take the necessary action”.
What emerged clear during the interview as emphasised by Mathambo was that: “I am investigating my officers here. I have ongoing investigations and I have requested for an investigator from the Botswana Police to help weed out wrong elements.”
The Commissioner of Police Keabetswe Makgophe has given the DCEC an officer of the rank of Assistant Commissioner of Police to help in such investigations.
Mathambo was worried that it has become apparent that some DCEC officers have deliberately collapsed investigations for their benefits and as such they have not added value in such investigations.
“Once an officer is found wanting, they are moved out as the current President Mokgweetsi Masisi is very particular about these institutions. We have been wishful in dealing with corruption and now we are dealing with corruption head on.”