- DISS advised Moagi, Debswana against the matter reaching the courts
- Masisi has asked Moagi for an explanation
- Minister deflects Gazette questions to Debswana
- Masisi named for being lobbied to endorse the late Milton as Debswana MD
- Mine union mulls legal action against Debswana
President Mokgweetsi Masisi and the Directorate of Intelligence and Security Service (DISS) are not pleased with the way Debswana and the Ministry of Mineral Resources, Green Technology and Energy Security have handled the P110 million lawsuit against Debswana by Infotrac, The Botswana Gazette has established.
Impeccable sources say chief spy Brigadier Peter Magosi made several attempts late last year to advise both Debswana and the ministry to settle the matter out of court as the issues raised bordered on national security and could expose sensitive operations of the mining company and seriously hurt the reputation of Debswana.
“Magosi went as far as engaging the Minister Lefoko Moagi in the presence of President Masisi in an effort to persuade Debswana to settle and retreat from the matter but to no avail,” a source told The Botswana Gazette.
Magosi’s warning is now coming to pass as skeletons come tumbling out of the Debswana cupboard in open court in what may only be the tip of an iceberg should the matter reach the Court of Appeal where it seems to be headed.
The Botswana Gazette is given to understand that President Masisi, who was also mentioned in court recently, has asked Minister Moagi to explain how the matter was allowed to reach the courts against the advice of the secret service. When reached for comment this week, Moagi responded tersely: “Debswana is best placed to deal with the matter.”
He would not be drawn on advice from DISS. In court, the Managing Director of the private investigations company that is suing Debswana for an unpaid amount of P110 million for work done has testified about how he made several desperate calls to a number of senior government officials and politicians for their intervention before the matter went to court.
Mompoloki Motshidi of Infotrac is demanding the money as payment for spying for Debswana between 2017 and 2018. President Masisi has been named in some Infotrac operations for being lobbied alongside the late former governor of the Bank of Botswana Linah Mohohlo to support the appointment of the late Albert Milton as Managing Director of Debswana. Former Debswana deputy chairperson, Carter Morupisi, has also testified that he was aware of the Infotrac contract with Debswana.
Last week, Motshidi told the court that at some point Debswana had offered P10 million as part of a settlement arrangement but only P2 million was readily available. He rejected this due to “uncertainty” of the payment terms. Motshidi said other payment options proposed by Debswana included giving future jobs to Infotrac.
Motshidi also told the court that Infotrac had a track record of undertaking assignments for Debswana without any written contract and that Debswana always paid without fail or any trouble. He attributed the processes to the sensitivity of the jobs he did for Debswana, which included providing spying equipment and gathering intelligence information on some company employees.
Meanwhile, the Botswana Mine Workers Union is considering at suing the mining company for spying on its members. As part of his testimony, Motshidi revealed that he was assigned to install spying equipment in cars and houses of some employees of Debswana who are union members.
The union’s president, Joseph Tsimako, told this publication that they were following the court case “very closely” and a decision about lodging a case against Debswana would be taken at the end of the Infotrac case.
The trial is expected to continue on Thursday this week with former Debsana MD, Balisi Bonyongo, among more witnesses who will take the witness stand.