PSP probes Khama’s Mosu home
- Trip a “go and see-come and tell mission” -Morupisi says
- Morupisi says he has never been to Khama’s Mosu home
- Says he awaits report from CAAB on airstrip appropriation
- Mosu airstrip was to be released back to the public after Khama’s presidency
The Permanent Secretary to the President, Carter Morupisi is scheduled to visit former president Ian Khama’s Mosu compound and the airstrip that is scheduled to be opened to the public, as previously undertaken by the government.
The exact details of the trip remain unknown but sources reveal that government is facing challenges over the appropriation of the airstrip from Khama by the Civil Aviation Authority of Botswana (CAAB), the authority under which the airstrip was to be an asset, and was supposed to have been transferred to upon Khama’s retirement.
Morupisi confirmed the scheduled visit to Mosu to this publication in an interview yesterday, saying he has already made the request to the former President, Khama and will go when time and schedule permits, “I have already made the request to the former president, Khama and he has not expressed any disapproval to the request. The trip is basically to appreciate the construction and everything around it,” he said, further adding that since the construction in 2001 he has never been to the controversial site.
“I think it is important to have a picture of what people are talking about. So that even when we are making a decision we know what type of a situation we are dealing with and so forth,” Morupisi said. He admitted that the Civil Aviation Authority of Botswana (CAAB) is working on the airstrip appropriation in order to register it under their national assets list, but he emphasised he is yet to get a full briefing on the matter from CAAB on their progress and stage.
“I know they are working on transferring ownership to themselves but I do not want to speculate on anything for now so I will only make comments on that after receiving a full report on their progress,” he said.
Recently the Ombudsman, Augustine Makgonatsotlhe submitted his report to the office of the president in which he absolved the former president and government of any wrong doing.
Makgonatsotlhe found that the airstrip at Mosu was built by the BDF, with their own resources (i.e. machinery and manpower) using local materials (gravel), to avert the cost of always having to land Khama in Orapa, approximately eighty-five (85) km away, then transporting him to the site either by car or helicopter. Reports also indicated that over P3 million of public funds was used to erect the compound. The finding by the Ombudsman has raised scepticism by opposition politicians, as they claim it fails to address conflicting answers in parliament and by government on the developments.
Speaking to this publication this week over the impending PSP’s visit to Mosu, Makgonatsotle said he doesn’t know anything about the PSP’s visit.
“I have submitted my report to them and that was the last time we engaged on the matter, so I would not know what the PSP’s trip is about,” he responded.
The airstrip has been under the control of the Directorate of Intelligence Services-which was, under Khama’s reign and the responsibility of Isaac Kgosi, who was in charge of Khama’s security. The new director, Brigadier Peter Magosi and the Botswana Defence Force have confirmed withdrawing their officers from Mosu.
The Airstrip controversy and ownership scandals continued to play out during the Ombudsman’s Mosu inquest.
In his report, the Ombudsman says Khama’s Senior Private Secretary, Brigadier George Tlhalerwa told him that the Airstrip was fenced by CAAB and therefore fell under their management. The Ombudsman however says this was “contradicted by the CAAB, who posited that they were, in September 2016, requested by the then permanent Secretary in the Ministry of transport and Communications-Goitsemang Morekisi to fence the airstrip on the understanding that its ownership would be transferred to them as soon as fencing was completed.”
According to the Ombudsman report reminder was sent to the Ministry in June, 2017, some eight months since the assurance was given, but the transfer failed to materialise.
The Ombudsman found in addition that “there were contradictions between government senior officials on the airstrip at the time of his investigation.” “I have earlier demonstrated the contradictions between the information given on site and the CEO of CAAB on this point, with the former indicating that the airstrip was already under the management of the latter, who however denied such, stating that they were told that the airstrip would only be transferred to them once they had fenced it, which has not happened,” reads the report.
Government initially denied public funds were used to develop Mosu.