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Masisi, DISS clash over Chinese PI status

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  • Magosi wants Masisi to re-deport China Jiangsu boss Cui
  • Cui was deported by Khama last year but Masisi revoked the PI status in June the same year
  • Magosi , China Jiangsu in national security fracas

TEFO PHEAGE

President Mokgweetsi Masisi and the head of Botswana’s secret service Peter Magosi are reportedly at loggerheads over the presence of Cui Wanglin of China Jiangsu International in the country.

Wanglin, who is the director of China Jiangsu, was deported by former president Ian Khama in January 2018 but returned after Masisi lifted his prohibited immigrant status (PI) in June 2018.

At the centre of the differences between the President and the head of the Directorate of Intelligence and Security Services over Wanglin’s presence in Botswana are investigations into his construction company for what is alleged to be “massive corrupt activities”. So serious is the probe that the company has been classified as a threat to national security by DISS.

The matter is already before the courts where the Chinese company has accused Magosi of peddling unsubstantiated falsehoods about it and is daring him to reveal the corrupt activities that he says it is involved in. The Botswana Gazette has turned up information that Magosi is now pushing for Wanglin and others at the Chinese company to be re-deported to China and that Masisi is opposed to this.

“Masisi is worried that he cannot revoke somebody’s deportation status and retrace his steps on it in short order because that would portray him as another Khama,” says a source in the intelligence community.

Another director of China Jiangsu, Daniel Hongwei, has confirmed to this publication that Wanglin was deported by former president Khama and returned after President Masisi lifted his PI status. “It is true that Mr Wanglin was deported in January 2018 but president Masisi revoked the order in June the same year,” he said in an interview.

The law empowers the President to make a deportation order and not reveal the reasons for doing so. This has attracted heavy criticism in recent years for its potential for abuse.

Approached for comment regarding how a foreign national accused of being a national security threat can still be in Botswana, the Permanent Secretary to the President, Carter Morupisi, said he did not have any answers. “We know that such people are deported or declared prohibited immigrants,” Morupisi said. “But in some cases, particularly in less serious circumstances, such people are charged. It is a case by case issue, if I recall well.”

The affected directors of China Jiangsu have neither been charged, deported or declared prohibited immigrants. In an interview with some local publications, Morupisi said the company was not even been blacklisted.

Observers say the situation of the Chinese has all the hallmarks of punishing an outfit that will not grease palms. “It could be that their deportation order was revoked on certain conditions attached but they found them too steep and reneged on them once the order was lifted,” a source said.

Magosi has denied all accusations and innuendo around the matter, telling journalists at a recent press conference that the courts would absolve him.

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