- Khama says he was unaware of Masisi and Ram’s dealings
- Former PSP says he remembers none of Masisi’s declarations
Former Permanent Secretary to the President (PSP), Carter Morupisi, says he does not recall seeing any declarations of President Mokgweetsi Masisi’s dealings with the controversial Choppies CEO, Ramachandran Ottapathu, for a commercial company established in 2017 when Masisi was Vice President.
Infact, Morupisi is adamant that there was never any declaration by Masisi at the time he left public service in February 2020. “Maybe the declaration would have been after I left,” the former top civil servant told The Botswana Gazette this week. “Ask the new PSP. Honestly I have never seen any of his declarations.”
For his part, former president Ian Khama responded: “I received declarations from different members of the Cabinet. Therefore, I cannot recall every declaration. However, the PSP was responsible for keeping a register. So you can check with the former PSP, Rre Morupisi. I was not aware of their business dealings.”
In July 2019, Parliament adopted the Declaration of Assets Act. The law requires a specific range of public officials such as heads of state, cabinet ministers and MPs to declare all their financial and business interests. These declarations were to be made to Director General of the Directorate on Corruption and Economic Corruption (DCEC), the Speaker of the National Assembly, the Permanent Secretary to the President and Permanent Secretaries.
According to CIPA records, President Masisi has business interests in at least 10 listed businesses underneath. His co-shareholders are powerful and wealthy businessmen such as Ottapathu. Masisi became a shareholder in most of these companies after becoming President in April 2018.
When Festus Mogae stepped down in 2008, he was soon made a shareholder and Board Chairman at Choppies. A few years later, the then spy chief Isaac Kgosi was also awarded shares in Choppies. The two, and a few members of Khama’s cabinet, were spotted in images leaked to this publication in 2019 at a wedding of Ram’s child in India. The images showed former DISS chief Isaac Kgosi, his wife, former transport minister Dorcas Makgato (now High Commissioner to Australia), former High Commissioner to India Dorcas Kgosietsile and a number of other high profile politicians at the wedding that was celebrated in India and Qatar where the guests went by chartered flights.