More damning details about Debswana’s unsavory spying practices are expected to emerge from the 100 million pula lawsuit against the company as Infotrac’s Mo Motshidi takes the stand. This follows testimony from former PSP and Debswana Deputy Board Chair Carter Morupisi’s shocking testimony on Monday confirming knowledge of the debt.
A decision by Debswana to allow its spying shenanigans to be washed in public may leave an indelible dent on the reputation of the diamond mining company which the government is an equal partner.
Thus far the court has heard sordid details about how Debswana often engages in shady conduct and how the blue chip parastatal often operates in Hollywood-style smokes and shadows in its engagement of external clients.
Accounts of a long-time client of Debswana’s, Mompoloki Motshidi of Infotrac – a security consultancy company – are laying this bare in its legal action against Debswana for an unpaid debt amounting to P110 million for spying work.
More revelations are expected in court tomorrow (Thursday) as Motshidi continues with his thrill-a-minute narration of his company’s working relationship with Debswana.
By their nature, operations of espionage are covert and should never reach the public. But when the settlement deal failed, Debswana decided to challenge the alleged debt. A feather in the cap of Motshidi and Infotrac was added by former PSP Carter Morupusi, who confirmed knowledge of the issue this debt from the time he was chairman or deputy chairman of the Board of Debswana.
Whereupon John Carr-Hartley of Armtrongs Attorneys (for Debswana) asked Morupisi why he was not alarmed by the figure as a Debswana board member knowing that any procurement of over P100 million can only be authorised by the board. Morupusi replied that although he was aware of his fiduciary duty as Debswana board member, he never knew if the debt in question was a lump sum or debt that had accrued over time.
When Carr-Hartley wanted to know why Morupisi did not report the matter to the board, Morupisi replied it was that it was a management issue and he was not involved in management at the parastatal. “If there was anything wrong, I would have expected (then MD of Debswana Albert) Milton to raise it during their call,” he said.
He added that the complications may have been caused by the kind of services rendered by Infotrac, which would naturally be restricted to people responsible for it. When he discussed it with Milton, the MD indicated that he was travelling but promised to settle the matter as soon as he got back.
The court also heard that as part of its scope of work, Infotrac reached high to lobby and contacted President Mokgweetsi Masisi (then vice president) through Albert Milton and the late former governor of Bank of Botswana Linah Mohohlo to support Milton for appointment.
Motshidi told the court that as part of settling the debt, at some point Debswana had offered P10 million but only P2 million was readily available. He rejected due to “uncertainty” of the payment terms. Motshidi said other payment options proposed by Debswana included giving future jobs to Infotrac.
Motshidi also told court that Infotrac had a history of undertaking assignment from Debswana without any written contract and the Debswana always paid without fail or any trouble. He attributed the processes to the sensitivity of the jobs he was doing for Debswana, which included providing spying equipment and gathering intelligence information on some company employees.
“Whenever they wanted my services, they would either send me a WhatsApp message, email or inform me directly and I would give them the figure for the job before being given the go-ahead to do the job,” he said. “I was comfortable with the agreement as Debswana always paid and we had built trust.”