SPY WARS: or is it just BDP factional wars?

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SONNY SERITE

On a normal day, former Directorate of Intelligence Services (DIS) Director General Isaac Kgosi starts his day with a routine morning exercise, a jog around his neighbourhood. However, on this particular Monday morning, the first since his dramatic arrest at the Sir Seretse Khama International Airport (SSKIA) last week Tuesday, Kgosi is just relaxing at his house in Phakalane. 

He needs to take it easy as he still complains about his back pain. He is recuperating from a surgical operation he underwent in December. The former spy chief looks physically tired and emotionally drained, understandably so, given how the past week has been a rollercoaster of emotions and the most tumultuous events in his life. 

Even though he has allowed this reporter access into his house, Kgosi pleads that he has been advised by his lawyers to decline any request for media interviews. With further cajoling however, Kgosi shares titbits of his much publicized arrest that was carried out by a team of officers from the DIS, Botswana Police Service (BPS) and the Botswana Unified Revenue Services (BURS) and supervised by his successor at the DIS, Peter Fana Magosi. 

The former spy chief revealed that as he flew from India with his wife and son, he did not have the slightest clue of what was being planned by Magosi and his team. Even upon his arrival next door in South Africa and waiting for his flight connection to Gaborone, Kgosi did not detect the covert operation that was already set in motion by Magosi and his team of plain clothes police and intelligence officers.

He spent two hours at OR Tambo airport in Johannesburg after his connecting flight to Gaborone was delayed by two hours and during all that time, he was communicating with his friends, family and associates in Gaborone, all of whom turned out to be useless in as far as sniffing what was happening and giving him the heads up before he could board the aircraft and fly right into the hands of Magosi and his team who had been patiently waiting for his arrival at the SSKIA. The covert operation was airtight this publication has learnt.

Kgosi claims while he had no clue about the arrest, it took him just a few seconds after emerging from the arrivals terminal, to scan and notice at least fifteen (15) DIS agents who were strategically positioned at the airport. Contrary to some media reports, Kgosi says he has never worked with any of the agents who were assembled to arrest him. They were all Magosi’s new recruits and perhaps that is why none of them felt any allegiance towards him so as to send a red flag in advance.  There have been reports that Kgosi was betrayed by the officer who was tasked with handcuffing him (now popularly referred to as Trompies because of his Pantsula-inspired outfit), with further allegations that the same officer used to be Kgosi’s trusted right hand man. Kgosi laughs off such reports. It turns out ‘Trompies’ is a police officer and not a DIS agent and has never worked with Kgosi. 

Kgosi admits that he had cash on him when he was searched at the airport but would not say much about the issue. His lawyer, Diba Diba, when briefing the media outside Kgosi’s house in Extension eleven on Friday, said the money, believed to be 10,000 US Dollars, was just ‘‘pocket money’’. Kgosi said no money was recovered from his house and no illegal firearms were discovered from any of his properties. He said the only guns that were found stored in his safe were legally licensed. Police Commissioner Keabetswe Makgope did not respond to our enquiries on what he knows about the licensing of Kgosi’s firearms.  Kgosi raised concern about reports that he has unorthodoxly connected Botswana Power Cooperation (BPC) electricity at his farm in Maboane near Jwaneng. He claims his farm uses a power generator which the search team was able to see while the power transmitters said to be part of his farm infrastructure actually belong to the Jwaneng Debswana mine where the transmitter supplies power to the Debswana boreholes in areas around his farm. 

Revelation from the Isaac Kgosi docket that emerged in 2015 revealed that in 2010 the DCEC’s Don Mckenzie investigated Kgosi’s connection with Debswana and the preferential treatment he received. Kgosi’s personal company, Silver Shadows had received P200,000 from Debswana. Kgosi said in the interview with DCEC investigator at the time that the money was a contribution from Debswana to pay for “belts and helmets” from Tiger Lily. 

In contrast Debswana’s group security manager’s version differed. He claimed that the hefty Silver Shadows money was paid to sustain, and support DIS investigations into a former employee.

DIS Director General Peter Magosi could not, in an interview, disclose what they had seized from Kgosi’s properties save to say they were happy with the level of cooperation the DIS had received from his predecessor. Magosi said it was Kgosi’s cooperation that gave them no reason to detain him during the search and investigations as they felt he was not obstructing them from doing their job. In fact, during the last search at Kgosi’s farm in Sentlhane, he was allowed to delegate his brother to accompany the search team to the farm as the search at other properties had taken a toll on his health (back pain). 

The former DIS boss declined to make comment on the controversial statement he made during his arrest where he threatened to topple ‘‘this government’’. His lawyer, Unoda Mack, however said people should not be agitated by the statement because, according to him, it was ‘‘flight of the hyperbole’’. 

While Kgosi’s drama was unfolding, his former boss and confidante, former President Ian Khama was holed up in Mashatu in the Northern Tuli Game Reserve where he was said to be holidaying with Mike Chase of Elephants without Borders. 

At the time of the interview with Kgosi, he revealed that he had not yet been charged or told of when the investigators were likely to finish their investigations. He said apart from the theories he sees flying around on social media and groups, he too does not know if the investigations are purely on his taxes or are meant to look for anything else. Kgosi said after being dropped from his position, he peacefully handed over to his successor, Magosi. There have been theories that suggest the tax evasion charges against Kgosi were meant to gain access into his properties and sniff out any illegally gotten objects or assets that he may be in possession of. It has also been suggested that it was suspected Kgosi would fly into the country with stashes of money from his associates in Israel in order to assist BDP members who are aligned to Khama’s faction.