The Minister of Labour and Home Affairs, Edwin Batshu has defended his ministry’s decision to do business with an Israeli company which has attracted bad reputation in countries such as Zimbabwe.
He told Parliament Friday that the Botswana government sees nothing wrong in awarding Nikuv International a multi million pula tender.
Member of Parliament for Gaborone Central, Dumelang Sasleshando quizzed Batshu on the safety of engaging the company to deal with the country’s immigration system.
Saleshando’s question to Batshu follows an investigative report by Botswasna Guardian that linked Nikuv to an Israeli spy agency Mossad. Nikuv International is accused of helping the Zimbabwean president Robert Mugabe to rig elections in that country and had similar scandals in Zambia and Lesotho.
Opposition members of parliament on Friday expressed concern over the national security of the country seeing that Nikuv International is the one making passports for Batswana. MP for Francistown South, Wynter Mmolotsi feared that Nikuv, with its tainted reputation could unlawfully create and sell birth certificates and passports to non-Batswana.
Mmolotsi also expressed worry that the company knows the local immigration system well and it could temper with it anyhow which could compromise national security.
But the minister was resolute, saying, “we have strict measures at the Immigration to ensure that anyone one acquiring a passport is legally a Motswana and as a ministry we have not seen any fault with the company and we trust it.”
According to Batshu, five companies were shortlisted for the tender won by Nikuv International. He also noted that his ministry was not bothered by media allegations against Nikuv as they assessed the company before awarding it a tender and saw nothing wrong with it and that they did not see the need to ask the local intelligence organization to scrutinize it.