- FIA refuses to explain what their role was and if indeed the money is missing
- FIA director says the law prevents him from sharing information with third parties
- Parliament accuses FIA director of disrespect
The Parliamentary Committee of Governance and Oversight last week dismissed the Director of the Financial Intelligence Authority (FIA) from its presence after he declined to answer its questions about the P100 billion that allegedly went missing from the Bank of Botswana and is now the subject of a high profile court case.
FIA boss Abraham Sethibe was asked to state what his organisation’s role was and to confirm or deny whether he is aware of the case or not. The committee said it could not be right that FIA should come before Parliament and not be asked about the money which is estimated to be half of the country’s GDP.
However, Sethibe would have none of it and insisted that the law does not allow him to share information about his work, particularly not with third parties. Whereupon the committee accused Sethibe of deliberately misinterpreting the law in order to avoid answering its questions, which they said to be general in nature and could not offend against the principle of sub-judice.
They told Sethibe that they were not asking him to go into details of the case but merely wanted a general overview as has been the case with the Bank of Botswana that has since said it is not aware of any money missing within its custody.
The parliamentary counsel and members of the committee subsequently said FIA should be excused to go and consult further on the matter. “I have consulted on this matter and I have been advised that FIA should be excused and attend with a senior lawyer on this matter so that they can advise this committee better at the next appearance,” said Parliamentary Counsel, Merapelo Mokgosi.
The Chairman of the committee, Mabuse Pule, then said Sethibe was excused and would be advised of his next appearance before the committee.