- Council officers detained in connection with property fraud
- Council officers probed for conniving with foreigners in land allocations
An ongoing investigation into alleged land fraud and tax evasion involving a cartel of foreign nationals allegedly aided by certain Gaborone-based law firms has forced critical offices of Gaborone City Council (GCC) into temporary closure.
A GCC statement released on Tuesday this week states: “The general public is informed of the temporary disruption of services at the Building Control, Rates and Credit Control offices.
“The offices are temporarily closed effective today 7th March 2023 due to ongoing investigations by different law enforcement agencies.”
Aiding and abetting
Sources close to the investigations say some officers of GCC are currently in detention for questioning about how a cartel made up of five Nigerians and two Zimbabweans came to own and sell more than 150 plots in Gaborone.
The officers are believed to have aided and abetted the alleged criminal cartel to secure the plots.
“We recently questioned some foreign nationals,” said one source. “They own and sell properties in Blocks 5, 6, 7 and 8, Tsholofelo, Phakalane and Gaborone North.”
The Botswana Gazette is informed that the investigations have unearthed suspicious bank transactions associated with the cartel. Millions of pula are reported to have been transferred to bank accounts in Zimbabwe, Nigeria and the UK.
“BURS is also investigating possible tax evasion,” the source said. “Investigations show that millions were shipped in and out of the country through accounts linked to the cartel. Some of the funds may have been laundered through trust funds.”
The investigating task force, which is made up of the Directorate of Intelligence and Security Service (DIS), the Directorate on Corruption and Economic Crime and BURS, recently seized files from a number of attorneys in Gaborone.
Matlala law firm, Moyo Legal Practice and MK Moesi Attorneys are among law firms from which potentially incriminating files have been seized.
DCEC director general, Tshepo Pilane, has confirmed that a raid carried out in Mogoditshane last week was in connection with investigations into corruption and money laundering.
The task force is expected to carry out a countrywide investigation into property fraud that will run for the next six months.