Ministers, MPs, Councillors implicated in COVID corruption probe

  • One case forwarded to DPP for possible prosecution
  • 22 cases at analysis and investigation stage at DCEC
  • Most of a total 80 tip-offs have fallen off for lack of evidence

LETLHOGILE MPUANG

Several ministers, MPs and councillors have been implicated in ongoing COVID-19 investigations by the Directorate on Corruption and Economic Crimes (DCEC), The Botswana Gazette has established.

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Sources say DCEC has received over 80 COVID-19 corruption tip-offs and that 22 of them have managed to successfully reach the stage of further analysis and investigation. One case has been forwarded to the Directorate of Public Prosecutions (DPP) while the rest of the reports have fallen off due to lack evidence.

The Botswana Gazette has it on authority that a number of prominent politicians across the aisle and ministers (known to this publication) are implicated.

Most of the reports are linked to awarding of tenders at the Ministry of Health and Wellness and the Ministry of Local Government and Rural Development in the course of the first State of Emergency (SoE) that ran from 1st April 2020 to 31st September 2021.  “We are not in a position to reveal names,” the head of DCEC, Tymon Katlholo, said in an interview.

“Remember that these are only allegations. There is a lot involved in a corruption case. We need to close all possible loopholes before we can hand over these cases to the DPP for consideration of evidence and possible prosecution. It is not a good thing to have such prominent people implicated in corruption allegations.”

“However, as we always say, there is a thin line between a corrupt decision and bad decision by a government official. So we have to be extremely careful when dealing with these matters. You must also understand that these are allegations and you can never stop people from making them but it is our responsibility to follow up on all of them.”

Meanwhile, in August 2020 The Botswana Gazette reported that President Mokweetsi Masisi had told his ministers and MPs of the Botswana Democratic Party to keep away from COVID-19 tenders. According to some ministers, Masisi warned them that that he would not hesitate to fire anyone caught meddling in COVID-19 tenders.