- 8 officers were detained to aid property fraud investigations
- Officers alegedly connived with foreign nationals for illicit land allocations
Offices at Gaborone City Council (GCC) have resumed full operations following a temporary sealing of some of them to enable land fraud investigations by law enforcement agencies.
A GCC statement released on Monday this week states: “The general public is informed that Building Control, Rates and Credit Control offices have been reopened for public use. Services at these offices have been restored following their closure by law enforcement agencies on 7th March 2023.”
Eight GCC officers were detained for questioning in an joint operation conducted by the Directorate of Intelligence and Security Service (DISS), the Directorate on Corruption and Economic Crimes (DCEC), Botswana Unified Revenue Service and the Department of Immigration and Citizenship in relation to land fraud in Gaborone,
Nigerians and Zimbabweans
According to sources, preliminary investigations had shown that a cartel made up of five Nigerians and two Zimbabweans owned and sold more than 150 plots in Gaborone. Some GCC officers are believed to have aided and abetted the cartel in securing the alleged plots.
“A number of officers have been detained with regard to ongoing property fraud investigations,” said one source. We recently questioned some foreign nationals. They own and sell properties in Blocks 5, 6, 7, 8, Tsholofelo, Phakalane and Gaborone North.”
The Botswana Gazette also previously reported that suspicious bank transactions associated with the cartel were unearthed in the course of investigations.
Millions of pula are reported to have been transferred to bank accounts in Nigeria, Zimbabwe and the UK. “BURS is also investigating possible tax evasion,” a source said.
“Investigations show that millions were shipped in and out of the country through accounts linked to the cartel. Some of the funds might have been laundered through trust funds.”
Files were seized from a number of attorneys, among them Matlala law firm, Moyo Legal Practice and MK Moesi Attorneys in connection with the same investigations earlier this month.
The Director General of DCEC, Tsepo Pilane, confirmed during one of the raids carried out two weeks ago in Mogoditshane that the investigations were related to corruption and money laundering.
The joint task force is expected to carry out a countrywide investigation into property fraud for the next six months.