Government tight-lipped on Panama leaks fiasco

Peter Madiya - NE correspondent
Monday, 09 May 2016
Government tight-lipped on Panama leaks fiasco

President Dr. Ian Khama’s government has come under heavy criticism for its deafening silence over the Panama leaks which continue to link local businesspeople to involvement in offshore accounts.

The scathing attacks were made by the former Speaker of Parliament Dr. Margaret Nasha recently in Francistown. Nasha, who dumped Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) in favour of its offspring Botswana Movement for Democracy (BMD) said that since the Panama leaks, Khama has preferred remained tight lipped even though some local businessmen have been fingered in the alleged dirty tax evasion deal.  She pointed out that while other countries have taken measures against their citizens’ involvement in Panama, Khama’s regime has preferred to remain mum in the process leaving the public with more questions than answers.

“The British Prime Minister David Cameron was at one point under pressure as citizens wanted him to step down since he benefited from the Panama offshore accounts held by his father. This is a clear sign that the country’s powers that be are gravely concerned to the extent of knowing the truth about these offshore accounts. Khama’s silence on this issue is questionable as it leaves a lot of questions than answers,” she explained.

Her sentiments follow hard on recent revelations that President of the Court of Appeal Ian Kirby and Farouk Ismail, a major shareholder in Choppies, are also linked to the Panama leaks. Nasha said that people should start asking themselves questions as to why Khama is silent this time around. She suspects that a good number of influential figures of the country are connected to the leaks.

“Go ka se didimalwe jaana. Tjingwenyana tji yapo,” she added in Kalanga to the amusement of the crowd. Nasha is also disappointed that the current government is run without a National Development Plan which she said is like a budget. Her other worry is that running a country without a budget breeds fertile ground for money laundering by leaders.

“Corruption cases involving high ranking government officers are not brought before the court and this a laughable matter as these guys are hiding something. When rot was smelt at Botswana Meat Commission (BMC), we advised that an investigation be carried out to salvage the BMC only for the president to refuse until BMC went on its knees. When we tried to investigate Botswana Development Corporation (BDC) on their glass manufacturing plant in Palapye, Khama refused until the project collapsed and it will never stand up again. We have plenty of salt but the president doesn’t see the need to package it locally in the process creating employment,” she added.

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