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China Jiangsu corners DISS, PPADB in court

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  • PPADB defends DISS against interference in tenders
  • Refuses to reveal information against DISS
  • DISS under pressure to release evidence

TEFO PHEAGE

China Jiangsu International Botswana has piled pressure on Directorate on Intelligence and Security Services (DISS) Director General Peter Magosi to release evidence on why he cancelled a multi million tender which the company was awarded.

The Public Procurement and Asset Disposal Board (PPADB) told the high court that the DISS’ interference and disqualification of the company from the Moshupa Hospital tender was justified. The DIS involvement, according to court papers filed last-week is likely to stall the construction of the hospital as the matter may take months or even years.

Government says should the court entertain the interdict appeal, this will greatly hurt the interest of the public as the hospital was meant to address a particular need.

While China Jiangsu was preferred for the contract, DIS warned PPADB not to award the tender to them as they were involved in corrupt activities. China Jiangsu court papers describe the conduct of the DIS as “injurious falsehoods sand defamatory matter.”

According to the company, the conduct of the PPADB and DIS contravenes provision of the PPADB Act. The company accused the spy agency of interference. In response, PPADB says the DIS is well within their rights to intervene according to the law.

“In terms of the Intelligence and Security Act, the directorate’s functions are to investigate , gather coordinate, evaluate, correlate, interpret, disseminates and store information whether inside or outside Botswana for the purpose of detecting any threat or potential threat to national security, advising the president and the government of any threat or potential threat to national security as well as taking steps to protect the security interests of Botswana whether political military or economic,” PPADB responded.

PPADB further said the DISS is also empowered to “gather ministerial intelligence at the request of any government ministry, department or agency and without delay to evaluate and transmit as appropriate to that ministry , department or agency such as intelligence at the directorate which constitutes ministerial intelligence.”

According to PPADB, section 7 of the DISS Act, provides that the directorate shall be the principal advisor to the President and the government on matters relating to national security and intelligence. He reports to the president and the government on threats and potential threats to national security.”

“According to Magosi , having regard to the above functions, the directorate carried out investigations and continues to carry out investigations, gathered information and continues to do so, and has evaluated and interpreted some of the information, and continues to evaluate and interpret fresh information, which information is from within and outside of Botswana and which information shows that the applicant is involved in massive corrupt activities which threaten the national security of Botswana,” reads PPADB documents.

Magosi said he was afraid of breaking the law by releasing the evidence which he was called to release before court.

“As I have said above, the directorate continues to carry out its statutory mandate in respect of the activities of the applicant. As a result , I have certified that production or disclosure of any documents or other evidence gathered so far would be injurious to the public interest. It would compromise the ongoing investigations within and without Botswana. If I were to produce or divulge such documents or evidence, I would be guilty of a criminal offence under section 20 (6) of the ISS Act.”

It was recommended that PPADB approve the request from the department to award the tender to the Chinese company at P418,932,846.86.

PPADB dismisses China Jiangsu’s arguments saying their interests are purely commercial as opposed to the overwhelming public interest in having the tender executed expeditiously.

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