- Luxurious aircraft held at DISS bunkers
- Aircraft routed in through secretive security agencies aviation space
The controversial multimillion pula business jet for the Directorate of Intelligence and Security Services (DISS) boss Isaac Kgosi has finally arrived in the country after a long anxious wait by the spy chief.
Reliable sources in the intelligence community revealed to this publication that the luxurious Bizjet is currently kept at DISS bunkers away from the public eye after arriving under heavy escort. Strategic preparations are still under way to pave way for the use of the jet.
Although it is virtually impossible to hide an aircraft that big forever, efforts to trace how and when the jet arrived in Botswana were not successful as the security agency does not use Civil Aviation Authority of Botswana (CAAB) facilities for its fleet.
CAAB Public Relations Officer, Modipe Nkwe said they would “not know much about the DISS new jet as such agencies regulate their own aviation space.”
Sources allege that the jet will also be used by President Ian Khama for round trips in Mosu where he recently built facilities which include a private airstrip using public funds.
Last-month, the local media reported that the DISS was among 84 customers worldwide that have ordered the first batch of the Pilatus PC-24 twin engine business jet which has been under development by Pilatus Aircraft of Switzerland and is due for delivery in the last quarter of 2017.
The reports were that when Pilatus opened its order book on the first day of the May 2014 European Business Aviation Convention & Exhibition (EBACE) in Geneva, Switzerland, the DISS was among the first to place an order. By the end of the show, the PC-24 had gained 84 orders, with production sold out until 2019.
Kgosi is reported to have paid a non-refundable deposit of $250 000 (about P2, 5 million) for the aircraft, roughly equivalent to 2.8 percent of the PC-24’s $8.9 million price tag according to reports – an amount that makes 50 percent of the spy organisation’s development budget for the current planning period.
The jet is expected to ignite excitement among the country’s elites who seem to have developed a predilection for splashing public funds expensive paraphernalia for personal interest. Recently at the Parliament Accounts Committee (PAC), Tati East legislator Samson Moyo Guma called on the Permanent Secretary at the Ministry of Environment, National Resources Conservation and Tourism Jimmy Opelo to stop his boss, Tshekedi Khama from using the ministerial aircraft. This was after it emerged that Khama used the Beechcraft King Air 350 for other duties other than for operations it was meant for.
Tshekedi’s brother, Ian Khama was yesterday grilled by Swedish journalists to justify their obsession with jets but he defended the deal saying Botswana has to police the its skies and feel safe.
Kgosi’s jet is said to be wonderfully made for comfort, “only the finest-quality materials have been used to create an interior that fits in perfectly with the latest standards of comfort and functionality. Every component is chosen to enhance the passenger experience: soft leathers and rare hardwood cabinetry full of exquisite details create a bespoke interior that reflects the meticulous purpose of the aircraft.”
In a recorded interview with this publication, Kgosi said he does not have a comment on the subject before inviting this reporter to his office for further engagement on the matter. “I wish you can come to my office tomorrow morning for a fair engagement on this matter. I mean what do I need a jet for?” he said.
It is not unusual for Kgosi to deny major developments involving DISS. In 2000 when he was asked about the formation of the spy agency for instance, he told The Botswana Gazette that “ It is not true: the truth is that there is nothing like that and if it is the truth why should it be hidden. There is absolutely nothing like that.”