Less than a year in the hot seat, Brigadier Peter Magosi has hit the ground running, trimming excess baggage and transforming the DIS into a well oiled and effective machine. Magosi has saved government millions by advocating for the law enforcement units to work in tandem rather than duplicating duties.
He has also advocated for the auditing of the organ, amendment of the DIS Act and staff promotions which have not happened in the last five years. In his maiden interview with this publication, Magosi stated that he wants his organisation to be transparent. Asked this week how much progress has been made Magosi said his 32 years of service in the army has helped him to manage the transition. “During that time I learnt firstly that government was overspending unnecessarily, secondly the service delivery was very slow because neither hand knew what the other was doing.
Thirdly there was no interpersonal relationship between the leaders in different places and, or organs”. He then met the leadership of secutity stakeholders and together came up with a more close working relationship and more effective and or improved coordination. “Today there is no security organ which claims to be bigger than the other. We are all equals and our job is to serve the nation.
“I felt that we needed to break the existing silos and I believe we have successfully done that as a result today for the first time we are able to see all the security elements within the country working much closely together without anyone of them claiming the big brother mentality and wanting to perform certain duties over others”.
On transparency Magosi has insisted that the DIS must have respect, discipline and interpersonal relationship and support among the people within the organisation. “I believe that these have been achieved, but we can never say it is enough as there is room for improvement. I must point out that we still have weaknesses here and there, but I believe they are manageable and we can move forward”. DIS has also embarked on the amendment or revision of the Act after picking that there are issues that don’t sit well with the public and politicians.
One of the clauses Magosi singled out in the Act is the DIS Oversight Committee. “We must make sure that this committee plays its role undisturbed. Currently my team is working on the Act as I want to make sure the oversight execute its mandate on us”.
DIS has also come up with an audit which was amongst the most controversial issues with the public.
“I have personally approached the Auditor General and asked them to come and audit us. They have since done that, but have not completed the audit as certain things still needed clarity from us. “I am trying to get accountability of certain things as it is not easy to release them quickly in terms of getting credibility on them. “But it is not unusual in that area as it can take some time to clarify issues because as long as we did not do the handover which is protracted, there will be these kinds of gaps and we will keep on going back and forth to try and get things in line”.
Magosi is also pushing government to enable him to promote members of the organisation in order to reward the good job that they are doing. The organisation has never had any promotions in the past five years. “I feel this will bring some kind of incentive to the people,” he said. Top of Magosi’s welfare conditions for staff is to improve accommodation both residential and offices. “We have spent a substantial amount of money in rehabilitation of houses. We cannot do everything at a go, but we have done some that indicate we are moving somewhere”. As for challenges, Magosi is held back by lack of finances. He wants to do lots of training in order to build different capabilities that will match the current national security calls.
With 32 years of anti-poaching service, Magosi feels he is at home in this field and is not so bothered by incidents of elephants and rhino poaching intended to discredit his administration. “I would like to assure the nation without hesitation that you will see a lot of improvement as time goes on but not long in terms of anti-poaching,” he said.
As for external threats, Magosi said the major threat is terrorism and the fear that Botswana can ultimately be used or is already being used as platform for terrorism financing. Turning to internal threats, he cited drugs trafficking, Trust national organised crime, espionage, cybercrime, stock theft and corruption, the latter which he said is a serious threat that makes the country lose its identity.
You can run but you cannot hide, this is the stern message from the country’s Chief Spy, Brigadier Peter Magosi (r) as he unveils his plan to crack down purveyors of high level corruption. Speaking to Botswana Guardian in a wide-ranging interview Magosi disabused public perceptions that his organisation is a toothless dog that only goes after the small fish.
Magosi said people should know that whatever has been done and swept under the carpet, come one day the truth will come out. “If you have committed a crime or done something wrong then you must be brought to book and answer for it. I will keep on investigating any allegation and where there is reasonable evidence to justify that one has committed a crime, such a person has to face the law”.
He said even in the DIS they have already built enough evidence that suggests there is a prima facie case against one officer. He will appear before the court soon. In the same breadth if any person in a security agency commits crime, say in Botswana Police or DCEC, he will call the Commissioner or Director General instructing them to take action against such officers. If this fails, Magosi will take action against them because, “I do not want us to be seen to be above the law”.
Magosi said his organisation is currently in the middle of investigating many cases. But, it is still premature to discuss them with third parties. “I do not want to discuss even those that I am about to close up. But a lot is happening and what I can say is that the clock is ticking and, or time is getting quite near for many wrongdoers to be taken to court. “I will not go into details, but we are on a lot of cases which shows many are in the wrong”.
Samson Moyo Guma
Did security agencies fail to protect Member of Palrliament for Tati East, Samson Moyo Guma who has fled the country for fear of being assassinated? Magosi retorts with a rhetorical question, “Do you believe Guma. Do you know him very well”? Asked if he knows Guma’s whereabouts, he says, “Yes I know that Guma is in Sandton, South Africa. I will tell you the bottom line is Guma is lying. He went to South Africa because he was afraid that BURS was closing up in him. Now let us all wait and see if he will never come back, if he does you journalists should interview him”.
Magosi supported his premise by showing us a series of his cellphone communication with Guma. “I am trying to show you that this is a man that talks to me everyday or regularly”. In one of the messages Guma says to Magosi, ‘’Sir Guma is my name the conspiracy theory about me working with former President Ian Khama is alive and thick. It is not true; rumour mongering and lying to the leadership were bringing instability in our society, and please assist in ensuring what reaches His Excellency has been properly vetted, he has noble ideas to take this country forward”. Magosi replied: “Good evening my dear brother, I am in Zambia and we will be arriving on Friday.
I have actually prepared the ground over the weekend in Gantsi, my ultimate interest is for you to meet and talk about it, thanks and we will keep in touch”. Magosi also showed us a WhatsApp message from Guma which he says bothered him the most. The message in question was about former DIS boss Isaac Kgosi and was written on 17 September 2018. It reads, “Evening sir, I met Kgosi at his request, he says he is targeted for assassination by the state, I humbly ask you to investigate and protect him”.
Magosi’s response written on 18th September 2018 was “Hi my brother, he is my brother and will always stay my brother.
Professional differences do not mean I can allow such a thing to happen to him. Please tell him that I give him assurance of safety. Thank you my brother’. “I am doing all these things to show you that I am terribly disappointed about what Guma has done but I know he was just talking politics”. Magosi said that all along Guma has been communicating with him and in fact it is not only Guma, “I communicate a lot with all politicians. “It is my job to make sure that where I think you are doing something wrong, I should talk to you. “What I had done is to instigate an investigation whereby we see a white elephant of a cooking oil factory in Francistown which belongs or is owned by Moyo Guma.
“In this company P30 million had gone down the drain. Do you expect me to sit and watch? No I could not because this is the money that could be used by another Motswana elsewhere. “I instigated an investigation on that and when it took direction I do investigation to a certain level and then give it to DCEC to continue with the investigation.” Said Magosi, “Whilst still there, it became evidently clear that Guma owes a lot of tax. I have never met with Guma over the issue of tax. I did my investigation through my officers who did this at the level to get the facts and forwarded them to DCEC.
“Although it is unusual to talk about our operations, I have to do so specifically about this particular operation so that the nation understands that the image of this organisation will stay cordial or good at all times and we will prove our case if we have to”. Guma was summoned by DCEC and BURS who investigated him on tax related issues. Getting emotional, Mogosi asked, “what reason do I have to get this guy murdered you tell me?
“I am not crazy, Guma knows that. I was in Serowe one evening when this issue appeared on the news and I called him. I knew he will not answer, but I did not give up. I subsequently sent him the article written about his life allegedly being in danger and that he has gone into hiding.
“I do not have a problem when someone tells lies about me. But when you attack my people, I will never take it lightly and I will defend them at all costs. “This is why I took the trouble to make a rebuttal that Guma is lying because he is killing the very same people that I am trying to build. “I am trying to make a better image of this organisation in order to win the public image. Guma is looking at his own safety using us, so I get emotional about it because it really gets me mad”.
His Excellency the Former President Lieutenant General Dr. Seretse Khama Ian Khama notes with serious concern the allegations levelled against him in the Botswana Guardian newspaper of 15th March 2019 under the headline “Khama lied to SABC”.
The article is set on a tone of malicious intent whose purpose is to discredit Former President Khama, cast him in bad light as a liar who will stop at nothing to tarnish the image of this country. The writer accuses Former President Khama of being reckless and selfish. The article further casts aspersions of treason and sabotage on the part of the Former President. These very serious allegations are not to be taken lightly. By intentionally ignoring the basic facts on the ground since this is no longer a breaking story, one can tell from the article that the writer has an agenda.
His Excellency the Former President Lieutenant General Dr. Seretse Khama Ian Khama dismisses these allegations with the contempt they deserve. The allegations are preposterous and border on deformation of character. It is very disappointing to note that the Botswana Guardian did not bother to get the Former President’s side of the story. Basic tenants of journalism require that a story be balanced and both sides be afforded a chance to respond, unfortunately this is glaringly missing in this article. Former President Khama and none of his staff were ever contacted by your publication.
This was obviously a deliberate attempt to tarnish the good name of the Former President. Furthermore, the story lacks credibility as reinforced by the writer’s own admission that he or she did not speak to anyone from the DIS since Brigadier Peter Magosi was unreachable. Unfortunately the said officers have been charged by the Directorate of Intelligence Service.
It is common cause that due to the continued mistreatment and harassment of the Former President Khama by the current administration, his security detail and protocol was withdrawn and instructed not to accompany him on his trip to India for the 60th Tibet Uprising Celebrations. The Former President was never officially informed of the withdrawal but only heard it verbally from the affected officers. Apparently the officers received the instruction through telephone calls.
The Former President, having not received any communication in writing from the Directorate of Intelligence Service then proceeded with them on the trip. The constitution requires that the Former President be protected twenty four hours every day, furthermore he is entitled to four international trips and there are no conditions as to who and where he should visit. Had your esteemed writer bothered to enquire, this information would have been freely availed.
Needless to say the article was a shoddy piece of someone’s fertile imagination, seasoned with personal disdain and intolerance of Former President Khama. This is further evidenced by the fact that in the entire article, there is not a single sentence addressing His Excellency the Former President Lieutenant General Dr. Seretse Khama Ian Khama with his full title. We live in a democratic country and it is acceptable to differ on opinions, however we need to do it respectfully.
The role of journalists is to report news in a fair and balanced manner, and this is all we ask from our media. Furthermore the article is clearly misplaced on the front page since it is an opinion piece, therefore should have been properly placed in the opinion section. It is very important that the press remain impartial in their reporting regardless of political persuasion. The Botswana Guardian lied about the Former President Khama, this is unprofessional and unethical.
His Excellency the Former President Lieutenant General Dr. Seretse Khama Ian Khama
Francistown Industrial Court Judge, Galesite Baruti on Monday ordered Botswana Power Corporation (BPC) not to hire or engage anybody for the position of Chief Operations Officer (COO) pending trial completion.
Jonathan Raheem Hosseini who was expelled from the position under controversial circumstances appealed to court citing the Corporation and its outgoing Chief Executive Officer, (CE0) Dr Stefan Peter Schwartzfischer as first and second respondents respectively.
On Monday Hosseini’s efforts paid the first dividends as he successfully registered a victory in his first open court appearance in the matter in which he is challenging as unlawful, the manner in which outgoing CEO - Schwartzfischer and others pushed him out of the Corporation.
The Industrial Court issued an order against both the BPC and Schwartzfischer interdicting and restraining BPC and Schwarzfischer from taking any action that advances or attempts in any manner whatsoever to hire, employ, engage and, or fill up the position of Chief Operations Officer.
The position has been advertised in both Mmegi newspaper edition of 8th March 2019 and in the Sunday Standard Newspaper dated 10th to 16th March 2019. The court interdicted the corporation from advertising the post or any other subsequent recruitment method in whatever form, pending the outcome of the applicant’s case filed at the Industrial Court of Botswana at Francistown under case number ICF 232/18.
The case has been set for hearing on 16 May 2019. If Hosseini is successful, the court could order that, he be reinstated as COO of BPC. Speaking to Botswana Guardian Hosseini said Monday’s court order shows that there can be no effort by anyone in BPC to pre-empt the court’s eventual ruling.
“As you know, an independent disciplinary panel appointed by the BPC Board itself found me not guilty of the charges that were thrown at me. BPC’s subsequent action was misguided and unlawful, and I am confident that the court will confirm this fact and correct the injustice. I look forward to returning to BPC and completing what I started.”
In the matter, Justice Baruti appeared together with C. T Morapedi a nominated member of the Union and P Kelailwe a nominated member of Business Botswana. Hosseini was represented by Attorney Mere, while attorney Tango Rubadiri appeared for BPC.