Masisi Defends Against Corruption Claims

The president slammed opposition members for abusing the protection of parliamentary privilege.


President Mokgweetsi Masisi has expressed concern over mounting allegations that his presidency is plagued by corruption, implicating both him and his family.

The president took the opportunity at the BDP congress this past weekend to hit back at allegations that he, along with his family members are involved in corrupt practices with state funds. The president offered the first public rebuttal since the allegations emerged soon after his election to office. Masisi addressed several contentious issues including Banyana farms, Okavango land acquisition, business dealings with Choppies CEO, Ramachandran Ottapathu and the awarding of lucrative tenders to his sisters.

Family Affair
With regards to the controversial awarding of tenders to his sister Boitumelo Phadi Mmutle, Masisi offered little in terms of his defense, but criticized the media and the opposition for peddling a false narrative. “The opposition have been challenged to ward off parliamentary immunity and make those statements outside Parliament and they have not.” The president’s sister is currently embroiled in a multimillion pula Water Utilities tender dispute, in which it is alleged that her company was awarded the contract despite her lack of experience.

Choppies deal
On business dealings with Choppies, Masisi said he declared his interest to cabinet. “Those shares were bought with my small start-up company. Everything I did was ethically above board and right, but of course perception is something else,” he said. It was revealed shortly after ascending to the presidency that he held 10 percent shareholding in Ramachandran Ottapathu’s company Arceet pty ltd. The President was accused of conflict of interest and has since parted ways with Ram.

Okavango land deal
On the government’s controversial decision to acquire a 22-hectare plot that covers part of Moremi Game Reserve in the Okavango Delta, Masisi said everything was done procedurally further adding that this was not the first time such a development occurred.
“The state is permitted by the law to acquire any land from any land board in the public interest, even during Rre (Festus) Mogae’s tenure, this once happened at a time when the late Debswana Managing Director, Rre (Louis) Nchindo had wanted Debswana to venture into tourism activities. That land was spared for that purpose and became state land,” the president said.

There were widespread concerns about the manner in which the land was acquired, with the Chobe Land board openly opposing the allocation, citing poor consultation from the government.

-The president slammed opposition members for abusing the protection of parliamentary privilege.