Directorate of Intelligence and Security Services (DIS) Deputy Director, Modiri Kooagile has denied purging one of the organisation’s pilots by redeploying him to position of Air Liaison Officer.In July 2018 Kooagile redeployed Opelonomi Edwin Matlhagela, the DIS Principal Intelligence Officer from the Air Wing Division (Unit) of the DIS to the Corporate Services Division.
According to Kooagile, this was a DIS policy decision, but Matlhagela doubts that any such policy exists and argues that if it does, it is unlawful and unreasonable. This is because he was moved from a pilot to a Clerk (or Administrator) without his consent and outside his scope of duties that he has trained for. “Much to my shock and surprise, I was on the 27th July 2018, served with a letter redeploying me from the Air Wing (where I served as a Pilot) to the Corporate Services Division.
“It is important to point out that when I queried the justification for the change and what the role entailed, I was only given an unsigned note by my supervisor Tshegofatso Dioka. “As it would appear from the profile these roles are not technical but merely clerical in nature as they include procurement of all logistical needs for Air Unit and their personnel,” argues Matlhagela in his court papers challenging his redeployment.However, in his answering affidavit seen by this publication and filed with the court on December 4th 2018, Kooagile argues that the redeployment was a DIS Policy decision by the security organ’s management.
He said the decision was taken sometimes in June 2018 to create Air Liaison Unit so as to facilitate and coordinate flying missions of the organisation. In the court papers Kooagile denies that the redeployment occurred because Matlhagela was associated with former DIS boss Isaac Kgosi.
This is after Matlhagela pointed out that his redeployment took effect after he had flown former President Dr Ian Khama to Mosu under the instruction of Kgosi. Kooagile stated in court papers that the unsigned note by Dioka is as a result of discussions with the Applicant (Matlhagela), as a matter of fact his input. “During the discussion with the Applicant, he proposed that he be allowed to continue to fly whilst in the Air Liaison Unit. A decision has not been made yet on the issue as currently the Applicant is the only officer in the Unit.
“I have no knowledge of who made the undertaking to the Applicant, all I know is that the Applicant was recruited primarily as an Intelligence Officer and that depending on the needs of the organisation the Director General may exercise powers vested in him to redeploy the Applicant,” Kooagile said. In his replying affidavit to Kooagile’s answering affidavit, Matlhagela stated that, “I am not privy to the policy decision and have not been favoured with it. “After my redeployment I asked my supervisor, Tshegofatso Dioka, on numerous occasions if such policy exists and if so, I be given a copy of it, I am to date still waiting for it.
“For all I know, from 6th June 2018 to 19th June 2018, I was at Simcom, Florida, USA for training. On 22nd, 25th and 27th of June 2018, I was called in by my supervisor, Tino Phuthego, not to discuss policy decisions but the instruction I received from the previous Director General Kgosi to fly former President Dr Ian Khama to Mosu on 13th and 20th of April 2018. “As a matter of fact, I was told by Phuthego that a panel or board of investigations or enquiry (comprised of Kenamile Badubi, Gopolang Mogotsi and Tendai Mantanire) was assigned by management which convened at the Air Wing on the 5th July 2018 to investigate me.
“Phuthego informed me this was to facilitate my removal from the Air Wing by any means possible as an Isaac Kgosi associate by way of recommending a dismissal, redeployment or demotion”.Matlhagela has admitted that he was employed as an Intelligence Officer, but with a specific mandate. He said that he has no background of intelligence. According to Matlhagela he was never consulted before the redeployment.
“I deny that there is a policy decision that informed my redeployment, it was merely for personal reasons that had nothing to do with the needs of the DIS. That is why I still do not have resources availed to my new office as there is nothing to do there. “Procurement matters are done by procurement unit, for instance and have nothing to do with me,” Matlhagela said in the court papers.