The ever-unfolding case of NPF looting


Every mention of the so-called National Petroleum Fund (NPF) looting case is an interesting episode playing out. On November 29, 2018, the Directorate of Public Prosecutions (DPP) quietly dropped the P250 million criminal prosecution against Bakang Seretse and two other others.

They brought new charges and added more accused persons. The six accused persons are High Court judge, Zein Kebonang, his twin brother former cabinet minister and Lobatse MP, Sadique Kebonang, executive director of BERA Kenneth Kerekang, asset manager Bakang Seretse and his younger brother Mogomotsi Seretse together with one Kago Stimela. The accused include six companies namely Khulaco (Pty) Ltd, Basis Points Capital (Pty) Ltd, M & B Properties (Pty) Ltd, Raging Bull (Pty) Ltd, Leomog (Pty) Ltd, STM Holdings (Pty) Ltd, were used in the alleged multimillion pula money laundering case. In November last year charges against Botho Leburu were dropped.

Then, the DPP brought new charges against Bakang Seretse. The charges emanated from a P60 million transfer made by the Ministry of Minerals, Green Technology and Energy Security to Basis Point Capital in March 2016. At the time of the alleged transfer, Kgomotso Abi was the permanent secretary in the Ministry and Kitso Mokaila was the minister.

The two have not been charged along side Bakang Seretse and his company Basis Point Capital.  Mmegi investigations reveal that there has never been any demand by the ministry for Basis Point Capital to account for the money transferred to it. On February 18, 2019, the DPP informed the court that it was not ready to proceed with the case, as the charges were prematurely brought.  The DPP informed the court that it had engaged an advocate in South Africa who advised that the charges as currently framed were incompetent and the charge sheet must be amended to exclude some of the accused persons and to include others not presently before court.

It is not clear who the other accused persons would be. The discontinuation of the quarter of a billion Pula charges in November 2018, saw the former director general of Directorate of Intelligence and Security (DIS) Isaac Kgosi and Dr Obolokile Obakeng escaping all possibilities of being charged. Obakeng is a former acting permanent secretary in the Ministry of Minerals, Green Technology and Energy Security when the initial charges were conceived.  Initially, it was alleged that Seretse, Leburu and Kerekang, “between September 5, 2017 and November 27, 2017 in Gaborone received various sums of money knowing or suspecting or having reasonable grounds to know or suspect or having derived or realised in whole or in part, directly or indirectly from the commission of a confiscation offence, to wit theft”. 

The case involved P250 million, which the DIS requested from the NPF to build fuel storage facilities. The DIS, however, changed the intended purpose of the money and then diverted the use of the funds for anti-poaching equipment. The discontinuation of the case came about as a result of government accepting that the DIS and Israeli security firm, Dignia Systems deal was a legitimate and lawful government contract notwithstanding any shortcomings.

The Broadhurst Magistrate is to rule on the application by the accused persons to be furnished with further particulars to the charges brought against them. It is not clear why the DPP is reluctant to provide further particulars in this matter.

Editor's Comment
What about employees in private sector?

How can this be achieved when there already is little care about the working conditions of those within the private sector employ?For a long time, private sector employees have been neglected by their employers, not because they cannot do better to care for them, but because they take advantage of government's laxity when it comes to protecting and advocating for public sector employees, giving the cue to employers within the private sector...

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