- Says he has never received a complaint of DISS abuse from any law enforcement agency
Despite widespread concerns that the Directorate of Intelligence and Security Service (DISS) bullies other law enforcement agencies and interferes in their work, the Minister of Defence, Justice and Security, Kagiso Mmusi, says he has not received a single complaint of that nature.
“We hear of such concerns of abuse of our departments by the DISS, but we have never received a complaint or report from our agencies – the BDF, police and prisons – to that effect and I don’t think that can happen under my watch because I would take that up should it happen,” Mmusi said in an interview.
The Chairman of the Law Society of Botswana (LSB), Tshekiso Tshekiso, recently expressed serious concern about the role and powers of DISS in the country’s administration of justice, saying the secret service operates above the law and is in total control of other law enforcement agencies which it also abuses. Speaking at the opening of the legal year, Tshekiso called for the taming of DISS which he characterized is a law unto itself. “The DIS continues to operate above the law,” he said.
“Other law enforcement agencies are helpless as the DIS seems to have usurped their mandate. There should be a clear line and definition of roles of all law enforcement agencies which have been created especially for certain purposes.”
“The DIS should not be allowed to assume the powers of the Botswana Police Service when it comes to investigations of criminal offences and DCEC when it comes to investigation of corruption or PPADB when it comes to adjudication of tenders.”
Thekiso said it is even more concerning when the DIS now assumes the constitutional powers of the DPP to prosecute. “It does not matter who the investigation or prosecution concerns,” he asserted. “In fact, it is of paramount importance when it involves prominent members of the society that the public should see that the law is followed to letter, without manipulation, abuse, or bias. This conduct of the DIS continues to be the greatest threat since its establishment to our democracy.’
DISS subsequently responded angrily to the LSB speech, saying such statements have the potential to mislead society.