After weeks of investigations, Mmegi Staff Writers, THALEFANG CHARLES and NTIBINYANE NTIBINYANE have uncovered what appears to be the complete corruption and fraud allegations against the Directorate of Intelligence Services (DIS) head, Isaac Kgosi
The embattled spy chief is likely to face 16 counts of corruption from the initial 35 previously prepared by the Directorate on Corruption and Economic Crime (DCEC). Mmegi investigations indicate that the DCEC has handed over the docket to the Directorate of Public Prosecutions (DPP) though there are indications that certain forces do not want the matter to reach the courts. The DPP has not made it public whether it will prosecute Kgosi or not. Below are details of some of the allegations against the DIS director general:
The P100 million intelligence training payout
Sometime in 2010, the DIS is alleged to have fraudulently awarded a British registered company AfricIntel a tender worth P100 million to train its intelligence and security personnel.
In turn, AfricIntel, subcontracted another British company, Bowman Risk Management to do the training. AfricIntel only provided the premises (for training) and transportation. However, the total bill by Bowman (the subcontracted company) was just over P1.5 million. Surprisingly, AfricIntel slapped the government with an invoice of P100 million.
Mmegi investigations reveal that Bowman’s director, Peter Phelan had submitted all the company’s invoices to the main contractors AfricIntel, which then inflated the costs by close to P98.5 million.
Following this, Phelan cried out for his cut to be increased but that was never the case. According to sources, Phelan may give evidence against DIS and AfricIntel.
Investigations into AfricIntel reveal that its director, Richard Miles was a friend of Kgosi. This therefore suggests that AfricIntel may have worked in cohorts with Kgosi to defraud the government. AfricIntel and Miles may have exploited their close relationship with DIS chief to inflate the costs. Additionally, they may have exploited the fact that their service was confidential by conniving with Kgosi to grossly inflate the prices.
- Possible charge for Kgosi and other officers implicated in the fraudulent procurement is abuse of office in breach of Section 104 of the Penal Code.
The fraudulent purchase of training premises by DIS
The DIS allegedly bought training premises at Kgale Mews (plot numbers known to Mmegi) from Richard Miles of AfriIntel under dubious circumstances. The premises were also overpriced. The DIS deputy director Tefo Kgotlhane told DCEC investigators that Kgosi told him he “liked the premises”. It appears therefore he chose to buy his favourite premises from a friend under inflated prices using taxpayer’s money.
- Kgosi or any officer who facilitated such a transaction may have abused office in breach of Section 104 of the Penal Code.
- Richard Miles and AfricIntel could also face a charge of cheating because they have exploited the confidential transaction and overpriced the premises, which may amount to obtaining funds by use of a fraudulent trick in breach of Section 310 of the Penal Code.
Kgosi allegedly pocketed close to P1 million from Vladacom
Mmegi has uncovered that a company called Vladacom paid more than P600,000 for Kgosi’s Sentlhane farm. The money was deposited by Vladacom into the trust account of leading local law firm, Collins and Newman for the purchase of the farm on August 3, 2009. Kgosi had a year earlier secured Sentlhane farm at an auction. Details show that he made a down payment of P100,000 in February 2009. Exactly a year after the auction purchase, Vladacom paid for the outstanding amount through a trust account of Collins and Newman.
It is alleged that when Parks Tafa from Collins and Newman inquired about the purchase, Kgosi said that the farm was bought by Israel’s feared intelligence service, Mossad. Kgosi is said to have told Tafa that the Sentlhane farm was to be used by Mossad agents when they are in Botswana.
Interestingly in the DCEC interview, he changed the Mossad statement and said the funds were from the late Debswana managing director, Louis Nchindo. He never mentioned Mossad or even Vladacom during the interview. He said Nchindo just presented him with a P900,000 in hard cash as a gift because “he was very close to him”.
However, Kgosi used Sentlhane farm for personal benefit despite claiming it belonged to Mossad, Mmegi has learned. He renovated it and installed a high tech generator on it. It was also at Senthane farm where he hosted his daughter’s wedding.
Zooming into Vladacom and searching for their links with Kgosi, Mmegi has uncovered that the company won P500 million tender to administer the secretive Public Key Infrastructure (PKI). It has also done work for the DIS and was contracted to install the Automated Finger Print Identification Systems. It is therefore highly inappropriate that the company that was contracted to do multi-million jobs for the spy agency also bank rolls the spy chief.
- Kgosi may have had a conflict of interest by entering into commercial arrangements with Vladacom after they assisted him to purchase a farm. He may face a conflict of interest charge in breach of Section 31 of Corruption and Economic Crime Act.
- The payment by Vladacom could stand as receipt of corrupt benefit in return for influence on how Kgosi conducts duties of his office - a breach of Section 24 of Corruption and Economic Crime Act.
- Kgosi may have given false information to a person employed in public service when he told DCEC in that he got the money from Nchindo. This is in breach of Section 131 of the Penal Code.
The suspicious cash payments
Kgosi told the DCEC that he did not ‘blend’ DIS money by crediting funds into his personal accounts and private company account to later pay for official DIS transactions. He told the investigators that this has happened only once in the case of Tiger Lily transaction. But a simple look into his bank statements tells a completely different story.
The statements uncover a busy account that received high amounts on a regular basis. The payments are cash from people working at DIS, private local and international companies, cheques and electronic funds transfers. (See the ‘Analysis of Kgosi’s bank transactions’ for more details).
Mmegi investigations have revealed that the money was used to purchase DIS equipment while some suggests that funds were retained into Kgosi’s account for his personal benefit.
In 2011 and 2012, Kgosi spent P368,000 at Pilatus, possibly for DIS airplanes, using money from his private account.
He paid substantial amounts from his account including P200,000 to Starburst Pyrotechnics. Some other payments from Kgosi’s accounts that seem to suggest blending includes disbursements to Air Wear Botha’s Hill and Air Traffic Navigation though Kgosi told the DCEC that he did not blend funds.
- The cash payments into Kgosi’s account could amount to stealing by a person in employed in the public service in breach of Section 276 of the Penal Code.
- Cash retained after official payments from Kgosi’s private account could also be in breach of Section 276.
- The money not matched by official payments ring bells as to whether Kgosi is in possession of unexplained wealth in breach of Section 34 of the Corruption and Economic Crime Act.
- It is clear that there were various government payments made from Kgosi’s personal accounts but he chose to deny when asked by DCEC investigators, except in the Tiger Lily transaction. Kgosi therefore could face a charge of giving false information to a person employed in the public service as prescribed in Section 131 of the Penal Code.
The P200,000 Debswana tender
Investigations reveal that Kgosi’s company, Silver Shadows received P200,000 from Debswana in 2010. Kgosi said in the interview with DCEC investigator, Don Mckenzie that the money was a contribution from Debswana to pay for “belts and helmets” from Tiger Lily. Kgosi’s company, Silver Shadows paid P137, 000 to Tiger Lily.
Surprisingly Debswana’s group security manager’s version was completely different from Kgosi’s statement. He claimed that the hefty Silver Shadows money was paid to sustain and support DIS for investigation of their former employee (name known to this publication) and others who were said to be preparing a major heist on a Debswana convoy.
A closer inspection of the Debswana documents in Mmegi’s possession and the mining giant’s relations with Silver Shadows reveal a different story from what the two men claim about the P200,000. Silver Shadows was contracted to consult for security services for Debswana. Kgosi had smartly presented Silver Shadows as the only organisation with ‘High Level Security Clearance’ by government to execute such security services. Note that it was the DIS, led by Kgosi that granted security companies their ratings.
It is also worth noting that Kgosi was in a business relationship with Debswana managing director, Blackie Marole at the time. Marole told DCEC investigators that he does not remember signing anything although his signature appears on the approval for the consultancy to Silver Shadows. Marole had financial interests with Kgosi in Sediba Properties and BelaBela Quarries.Even more interesting is that in the Debswana supplier information documents, Kgosi deliberately omitted his common first name of Isaac and instead used the middle name Seabelo. This could have been a deliberate attempt to avoid triggering ‘Isaac Kgosi’ alarm bells by cunningly staying off the radar as a rather unknown ‘Seabelo Kgosi’.
- Kgosi may face a charge of obtaining by false pretence in breach Section 308 of the Penal Code.
- Details show that Tiger Lily was paid P137,000 by Silver Shadows and if Kgosi’s version that it was a contribution from Debswana to pay for belts and helmets, then he faces a charge of stealing by a civil servant for the remainder amount of P63,000 in breach of Section 276 of the Penal Code.
- Kgosi could faces another charge for giving false information to a person employed in public service contrary to Section 131 of the Penal Code.
Kgosi’s suspicious dealings with Jere
Powerforce, a company owned by the Zambian national, Nsingo Jere received substantial contracts from the DIS. Jere was also involved in building Kgosi’s mansion at Phakalane.
When questioned about this, Kgosi was quick to say that Jere was only subcontracted so he did not see a conflict of interest. But further investigations show that Jere was even involved in the construction work at Kgosi’s Sentlhane Farm. Kgosi said he only bought tiles.
But Mmegi can reveal that Jere organised the installation of the BH Botswana generators at Kgosi’s farm. At one point, Jere received over P100,000 for “building costs”. A look into Kgosi’s bank statements shows that he (Kgosi) received numerous payments from Jere (See the ‘Analysis of Kgosi’s bank transactions’ for more details). There is even a cheque from President Ian Khama that went into Kgosi’s account paid in by Jere.
- Kgosi and Jere’s commercial relationship may have been in conflict with his (Kgosi) public duty to ensure that he secured services for the DIS at the most economic rate in breach of Section 31 of the Corruption and Economic Crime Act.
The controversial generator purchase
Mmegi investigations reveal that DIS purchased a number of generators from BH Botswana. Kgosi too acquired his personal generator from BH Botswana through the DIS procurement officers. Interestingly, Kgosi may have deceitfully arranged the same DIS staff that procured generators for the directorate to facilitate his private purchase from BH Botswana.
- By entering into a contract with the firm that supplied DIS using the same staff who handled the DIS procurement, Kgosi may have created a situation where his personal interest in terms of getting a good commercial deal from BH Botswana may have been in conflict with his public interest in securing the best possible deal for the public through the DIS and BH Botswana contracts in breach of Section 31 of the Corruption and Economic Crime Act.
The suspicious acquisition of Gakgatla farm
Another suspicious transaction by the spy chief is his acquisition of a farm in Gakatla. Details show that Kgosi bought a farm that was previously presented for auction on a number of occasions and “knocked down to buyers” but it seems the sales contracts in all the cases were never completed. So when the farm was put up for auction again, no one turned up surprisingly other than Kgosi. The DIS chief used Isaac Seloko Attorneys to purchase the farm. Seloko was at that time chairman of the DIS Tribunal.
- Kgosi may have manipulated the mortgage sale process and the purchase may amount to obtaining a valuable asset through a fraudulent trick in breach of Section 310 of the Penal Code.
The unexplained property
Studying Kgosi’s bank accounts reveals large amounts of deposits that are not explained. Kgosi denied receiving any funds into his personal accounts in his interview with the DCEC investigators. But a simple perusal of his bank statement is littered with large mysterious deposits.
Some are from legitimate sources like salaries, imprests and per diem. Others however appear dubious. For instance, there are unexplained back-to-back payments of P40,000 and P30,000 from his driver, Shathani July. Kgosi’s salary deposits are also questionable because they are credited irregularly in different amounts. (See accounts side bar).
- If Kgosi failed to explain the generous amounts that poured into his accounts, he may face a possession of unexplained property charge in breach of Section 34 of Corruption and Economic Crime Act.
The Choppies money and shares
Mmegi investigations reveal that a planned DIS investigation into suspected illegal Choppies business practices was mysteriously abandoned. Immigration papers in Mmegi’s possession reveal that Choppies routinely brought in Indian nationals from the home village of its chief executive officer Ramachandran Ottappath.
The Indians were always successful in getting work permits. DIS is responsible for vetting applications for work permits. It was therefore questionable that the DIS boss received a gift of a large number of Choppies shares for free. Investigations show a money trail from Choppies into Kgosi’s accounts.
- Kgosi’s personal commercial benefits from Choppies, namely gifts of shares and payments may be in conflict with his public responsibility to ensure the investigation into Choppies is conducted properly and to ensure that the DIS vetting of Choppies Indian expatriates is done properly in breach of Section 31 of Corruption and Economic Crime Act.
The tax clearance agents
Kgosi told Mckenzie and Seretse that he used Zebra Shipping as clearance agents when he imported his second hand BMW M5 and a personal gun. Information shows that Zebra Shipping is also the sole clearance agent for DIS and other government agencies.
- The Kgosi-Zebra Shipping commercial relationship could warrant a charge of personal interest in getting the best deal for personal benefit by Kgosi in conflict with public interest in getting best commercial deal for DIS in breach of Section 31 of the Corruption and Economic Crime.
The Barclays documents
During the initial stages of the investigations in 2013, Kgosi (or his associates) is alleged to have worked with a Barclays bank employee (names withheld) to remove documents about funds he received from outside the country from the system. The investigators found several missing documents at Barclays bank.
- This may be in breach of Regulation 12 (4) of the Banking (Anti-Money Laundering) Regulations in Section 51 of the Banking Act. Kgosi may also face aiding and abetting the commission of an offence which is in breach of Section 21 of the Penal Code.