How OP concealed Nkarabang’s medical bills
- Khama’s bodyguard hit woman and child with quadbike
- Minutes later, Khama’s Private Secretary fell off quad bike
- Public funds used to foot Secretary’s medical bills
- Inconsistency in statements
In 2015, President Ian Khama’s blue-eyed boy Tsaone Maysen Nkarabang got involved in a motorbike accident while frolicking in Mosu. He got top class medical treatment using public funds amounting close to P100 thousand. On the very same day, Khama’s bodyguard had also been involved in a near-fatal quad bike accident that resulted in an elderly woman and a child being rushed to the clinic.
A year later journalist Sonny Serite got arrested and detained along with an employee of Office of the President Abueng Sebola over allegations that they were attempting to steal secret records Nkarabang’s public funded medical bills. Serite’s charges have since been dropped while Sebola will appear before on August 24.
An investigation by The Botswana Gazette into the matter shows that Nkarabang, Khama’s Private Secretary and bodyguards are in the habit of engaging in some daredevil quad-bike-stunts the moment the President disappears from their sight.
Medical records seen by this publication show that on New Year’s Day of 2015 (Thursday, 1st January), at around 0830hours, President Khama was having breakfast with his personnel at a camp in Mosu where he then instructed his Private Secretary, Tsaone Nkarabang and a bodyguard, One Gaborone, to ride quad bikes and mobilise kids around the scattered homesteads of Nthane for the president’s Christmas hamper give out.
According to a statement dated 27 January 2015, submitted by Nkarabang to the Accounts Department in the Office of the President, he and Gaborone left the camp between 0900hours and 1000hours to mobilise the children.
In his affidavit, Nkarabang wrote that, ‘‘As soon as His Excellency left, Mr Gaborone hit a lady carrying a child and I proceeded to assist in getting her leg out as it was trapped under the quad bike’’. He pointed out that being the only senior officer available at the time, he immediately instructed one Keokilwe to assist by providing transportation for the lady and the child to the nearest health facility in Mosu village. ‘’I then also informed them that I and Mr Gaborone will ride ahead of them and ensure the nurse is available to provide the emergency service.”
They then sped off in their quad bikes and reached a large pool of water just before the concrete slab of the drift or bridge. Nkarabang reveals in his statement that he then tried go around a pool of water towards the end of the drift where there were concrete blocks mounted with metal poles to prevent vehicles from veering off the drift to the side. This is the ‘stunt’ that led to the accident. ‘‘I remember that the quad bike slipped as I tried to manoeuvre between the pool of water and the concrete blocked poles’’, Nkarabang said in his statement. The next thing he said he remembered is being at Orapa hospital ‘‘with a broken shoulder, collar bone, various head injuries, ear injuries, rib and chest pains, finger pains and pains across my entire body’’. This statement was submitted to the Accounts Department to justify his claim of reimbursement for his medical expenditure. He also submitted another affidavit justifying reimbursement for cab services he used when going for medical treatment at Bokamoso Private Hospital from his house in Gaborone West.
After he stated that he visited Bokamoso Hospital 14 times between January and February, Nkarabang was reimbursed P1, 500.00 for cab/taxi services. For medical bills, he was reimbursed P12, 822.75 after he had used his medical aid scheme, but that was just the beginning of the several medical bills that soon followed. On the 5thFebruary 2015, Secretary in the Presidential Affairs and Public Administration, Kebonye Moepeng wrote a letter of guarantee to Bokamoso Private Hospital confirming that the Office of the President undertakes to pay all medical expenses incurred by Nkarabang. Another letter of guarantee was written on 29th October 2015, still assuring Bokamoso Hospital that the Office of the President undertakes to pay all medical expenses incurred by Nkarabang. The Commissioner of Labour and Social Services had asked Moepeng to submit all the necessary papers relating to Nkarabang’s accident. Interestingly, despite Nkarabang having stated in his affidavit that he was admitted in hospital for only 7 days (1-2 January in Orapa and 3-7 January at Bokamoso), he only reported the accident to the Police three months later in March and told the police officer that he had been in hospital for two months.
According to a police statement submitted by an officer in Letlhakane, Nkarabang came to report the accident on the 6th of March 2015. ‘‘He was then referred to Bokamoso Hospital for about 2 months and he came to report on the 06/03/2015 after he regained consciousness,’’ narrated the officer.
However, it would seem that Letlhakane Police failed to pick the inconsistencies in Nkarabang’s statements because in one that he gave them, he wrote that he was “discharged from hospital on the 7th January where I was allowed to be taken care off(sic) by my parents. I continued taking care of myself since the accident.’’
The Botswana Gazette has seen several payment receipts in which the Office of the President paid various medical doctors who continue to treat Nkarabang. In one of the invoices, Mariri Speech Therapists & Audiologists billed Office of the President P28, 000.00 for the procurement of a hearing aid for Nkarabang. He acquired the hearing aid in November, eleven months after the accident. The audiologist who issued the hearing aid noted in the invoice that its life span was 4 years and that it requires annual service to maintain it to good shape and the medical bills covered through public funds.
This therefore means government will every 4 years have to purchase a new hearing aid for Nkarabang as the audiologist has also noted that ‘‘This is a permanent hearing loss and the only treatment is fitting hearing aids’’. The batteries for the hearing aid cost P330 per pack of 6 and Nkarabang is billed each time he visits various medical institutions for check-up and physiotherapy.
In one invoice, the Office of the President was billed P6, 440.00 for 23 sessions of musculo-skeletal physiotherapy. Another health clinic takes care of his acupuncture sessions. Among several payments issued out to Bokamoso, there is one for P5, 110.40 while another payment was made to a South African neurosurgeon. Nkarabang has so far been to at least 9 different private medical clinics that are billing the Office of the President. Senior Private Secretary to the President, George Tlhalerwa has since deposed an affidavit to the police stating that he is the one who had assigned Nkarabang to accompany President Khama to Mosu.