Serowe North Development Trust, an organisation set up by President Ian Khama, has been used by the Directorate on Intelligence and Security (DIS) as a conduit for money laundering and secret operations, Botswana Guardian can confirm.
This is revealed in a transcript contained in a docket - referred to as DOC/IF/2011/001166 (27) - that the Directorate on Corruption and Economic Crime (DCEC) opened on DIS Director General, Isaac Kgosi. The interview on Kgosi conducted by DCEC directors, Rose Seretse and Don Mackenzie on the 27th of February 2012 lays bare Kgosi’s absolute control of a secret account that was initially used by president Khama for activities of the Serowe North Development Trust. The account, according to Kgosi’s interview, was created in the 1990s when Khama was vice president. But it is not clear why the DIS had to use funds from the “contributions account” to finance its official activities, which include “secret missions” and payment of tax authorities in South Africa.
The amount ran into millions, according to those close to the secret contribution account. Kgosi admitted that the funds channeled are often ‘substantial’. Media reports have it that the funds that may have been laundered are in tens of millions of Pula, partly to fund the ruling Botswana Democratic Party (BDP). A few weeks ago the Sunday Standard newspaper reported that the trust was now fully controlled by DIS and that its trustees are in the dark about its operations. The office of the president vehemently denied the assertion in May this year. Sunday Standard has since been interdicted from publishing verbatim excerpts from the docket between the DCEC directors and Kgosi.
Below we publish the excepts from the Kgosi-MacKenzie interview:
Don J. McKenzie: I have an accountant back home who does my tax. Because I am too lazy to do it myself. And he is here in Botswana? Right uum I just, has there been in your work as the Director of the DIS, has there been any blending of your sons with Government funds what I am talking about is how do you been required to pay money out of your personal funds for the purposes of the DIS. And has money from the DIS been paid into your account for any particular reason?
Director General Kgosi: I used to have an account which was really it wasn’t my personal account it was called sort of a contribution account whereby the boss is to have a, when he was the MP he used to have the Serowe North Development Trust and then.
DJM: And the boss you are talking about HE. Because when you are Director General it is hard to say who is the boss
DGK: So then when people used to donate money lets say for what funding they may request I didn’t want that to go into my personal account and then there was a contribution account and then after i left the Office of the President, then the account was dormant. I just let it like that and what at times when we want to pay I spoke to my banker at the Bank may be the South African Revenue Services, may be the ATS (Ait Traffic and Horticulture: so we don’t have an account at the office so may be they would need Rands and so forth then I said they can use that account, that account can be used by them and I am not going to put any money nor anything on it.
DJM: So this is the Northern Development trust?
DGK: No no no the contribution account. I said my office can because its no longer a contribution account it was never closed, so i said my office can use that to change money from pula to rands for them to pay the South Africans let it be the South African Revenue Services let it be ATS and so forth for our covert aircraft because we don’t have an account in-house. I even one day asked they director if we could use their account to change money from it so that we pay them because they wanted Rands. That is the only time I remember.
DJM: am just little bit confused, this contribution account it wasn’t generated when you, it was established before you were the Director General of the DIS
DGK: Yes it was in what? 1997,90 something when people would say can we contribute lets say towards buying of wheel chairs and so forth, that was before i was the DG. And since being the DG i have never used it, i kept it open and i was not putting any monies in it nor drawing any monies from it. When they started to use it i made sure it had zero balance in it or no it had P10 in it so that they don’t close it for them to use it to change and only to facilitate to change money and in it I told the bank that they should now put it under DIS but the thing is they need, if it was going to be a company there would need a company regulations and so forth because that why I had to come and find out from the Director DCEC how your thing is running and I said what about if we put money in there for us to just get a the same money back to pay them, it is using really to change money from pula to rands to pay them and I have got nothing to do with it.
DJM: so its never been a personal account.
DGK: no no.
DJM: and but money has gone in there from the DIS? And money has come out there for DIS purposes and are we talking susbstantial quantities of money or excess?
DGK: yes sometimes its substantial because it depends on how much the thing the aircraft had gone to South Africa and what are the charges and so forth.
DJM: Just getting back to, what i am interested in is whether your personal accounts have ever been used for DIS business? Have you ever had to pay money out of your personal account for a significant expenditure for the DIS and then had to recover money from the DIS?
DGK: I don’t remember that, always when that account is been dealt with it is the Director, Finance who would do that and i have got nothing to do with it.