Did Minister Sadique Kebonang lie to the DCEC?
Revelations by Minister Sadique Kebonang that he has submitted a statement to the Directorate on Corruption and Economic Crime (DCEC) have raised more questions than answers. Kebonang disclosed in his statement how the beleaguered Basis Points Capital (Pty) Ltd Managing Director Bakang Seretse donated money to political parties, however leaders of opposition parties have come out refuting the allegations and distanced themselves from the alleged gesture of benevolence from Seretse. Kebonang is quoted in a weekend newspaper as having said there would be very few political leaders in Botswana who have not received money from Seretse.
Leader of opposition Botswana Congress Party (BCP) Dumelang Saleshando has categorically distanced himself from the list of political leaders alleged to have received financial contirbutions from Seretse, who is currently facing charges of money laundering with two others, Kenneth Kerekang and Botho Leburu.
‘‘I never received a cent from Bakang, his companies or Sadique’’, Saleshando said in an interview on Sunday. The BCP leader further confirmed that following consultations with the party’s Treasurer and the BCP National Executive Committee, neither the BCP nor members of the National Executive Committee had sought or been given financial contributions by either Seretse or Kebonang. In addition both Saleshando and the BCP have issued a public statement distancing themselves from the allegations made by Kebonang.
Leader of the newly formed Alliance for Progressives (AP) Ndaba Gaolathe has also come out publically denouncing the allegations, denying that he received financial assistance either directly from Seretse or through Kebonang. ‘‘I didn’t receive a dime’’, Gaolathe said in an interview on Monday. In a public statement he released on Monday, Gaolathe advised that the focus of the money laundering allegations should be on the DIS and the quantum of the money involved, if correct is so significant even by the standards of a developed country that it warranted serious consideration. ‘‘And yes, indeed, if anyone should discover that I am (personally) in any way involved in money laundering or in any other corrupt activity (something that always disadvantages our people), then jail is where I should be sent – that would be the right thing to do’’, Gaolathe wrote in the statement.
Botswana Movement for Democracy (BMD) president Sidney Pilane refused to grant this publication an interview, stating in his response, ‘‘You guys have said that you are boycotting us. If you announce publicly that you have withdrawn the boycott, or that your paper is not part of the decision to boycott us, then I will answer your questions’’. The Botswana Editors Forum and the Botswana Media and Allied Workers Union resolved to boycott BMD press conferences until its leader issues a public statement withdrawing and apologising for threats made against a journalist. BMD spokesperson, Winfred Rasina however responded curtly to media questions, ‘‘If indeed Minister Kebonang has said BMD received money from him, then he is having a mental breakdown and needs help’’.
Despite his refusal to answer questions from this publication, Pilane released a public statement distancing his party from Seretse’s donations. ‘‘I should let you know that I did not know that Bakang Seretse existed until he and 2 others were arrested recently and the news broke. It follows that I have never asked him for money for our Movement, nor received any from him’’, Pilane wrote.
Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) Treasurer Satar Dada did not respond to our queries. Pressed to provide names of political leaders who received money from Seretse, Minister Kebonang opted for a ‘‘no comment’’ stance.
The Botswana National Front (BNF) President Duma Boko and leader of the Umbrella for Democratic Change (UDC) had not at the time of going to press, publicly refuted the allegations made by Kebonang. Boko attended Seretse’s court appearance at the Regional Magistrate on Friday and sat alongside Seretse’s lawyer, Kgosi Ngakaagae.
Unsubstantiated social media debates suggested that Seretse had donated money to the BNF during the Goodhope/Mabule parliamentary campaign, an assertion that was commented on by BNF councillor Arafat Khan. Responding to the allegations, Khan stated that Member of Parliament for Goodhope/Mabule Kgosi Lotlaamoreng was never told about the donation. Khan wrote on Facebook, ‘‘business people don’t normally donate to parties but rather give individuals!…the donations were declared and a report was done’’.
Investigations by this publication indicate that there is no set practice for political donors, though many within the business community when sought out for comment, indicated that donations are done directly to political parties, though at times on condition of anonymity.
The denial by political parties and their leadership directly contradict the statements made by the Minister.