The suspension of Director General of the Directorate on Corruption and Economic Crime (DCEC), Tymon Katlholo has dealt a debilitating blow to efforts to block interference from the Directorate of Intelligence and Security Services (DIS), Parliamentary Public Accounts Committee (PAC) chairman Dithapelo Keorapetse has lamented.
On Friday, Keorapetse said Katlholo’s suspension, which he called obscenely obnoxious and wicked is most probably linked to his great assistance to the PAC when he laid bare corruption at government enclave.
“I have noted the sudden suspension of DCEC Director General, Tymon Katlholo, following his appearance and the giving of sworn testimony before the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) on Wednesday. I find it hard to believe that his suspension has absolutely nothing to do with how he answered questions and assisted the PAC with information regarding recent developments at the DCEC,” he said.
According to the hard probing PAC Chairman, who is also MP for Selebi Phikwe West, it is not a coincidence that Katlholo has been suspended purportedly for conduct not compatible with public service. He said the decision will send a chill down the spines of permanent secretaries to censor their evidence when they appear before the PAC. “They are likely going to withhold information, equivocate, not answer truthfully and possibly protect wrongdoing if in their view their honesty may get them into trouble. This would make the Committee’s work of ensuring prudent management of the economic resources more difficult. It is going to also get more people into trouble for possible contempt of Parliament or perjury offenses,” said Keorapetse, cautioning that DIS has now been given a open cheque to take total control of DCEC operations.
Keorapetse said Katlholo’s suspension sends a clear message that wheels are falling off on corruption in the country and that those who seek to fight grand elite graft will be targeted. “There is nothing wrong that Katlholo has done apart from serving the nation with honor and distinction in the police service and the DCEC. His only crime is his gargantuan appetite for the rule of law, transparency and accountability. He has resisted interference from the DIS and sought to assert his directorate independence and mandate,” charged the highly worried Keorapetse.
Meanwhile, the suspended DCEC boss emerged victorious against the DIS in the case where he had sought to interdict the spy agencuy from gaining access to some corruption files held by DCEC.
Lobatse High Court Judge Reuben Lekorwe on Friday barred the DIS from accessing the files. He ordered that a Deputy Sherriff accompanied by the Registrar or any of her Deputies shall attend at the offices of the DCEC and take custody of files demanded by DIS and hold them in custody of the High Court.
The DIS through its Director General, Peter Magosi has been fighting tooth and nail to access some of the corruption dockets in custody of DCEC but the court barred him.
Keorapetse said after Katlholo’s suspension, now his expulsion is imminent over trumped-up, frivolous and vexatious charges, which will mark the beginning of the end of DCEC. “The directorate is going to be swiftly taken over by criminals at the DIS who will do two most evil things to ensure the survival of the current regime; DCEC will be used to fight political wars, secondly it is going to be used to shield and protect those who are in or are close to the controllers of the government machinery/ system. This would complete the process of state capture,” said PAC Chairman.
Given the circumstances, Dithapelo said Botswana has lost the corruption war as a country and the genesis of that loss can be traced to the sealing of the Director General of the DCEC offices by the DIS and his subsequent suspension. Also, Keorapetse said he is worried that a puppet Director General will soon be installed at DCEC, marking the final blow to the battle against corruption in Botswana.
“There has been failure to make the DCEC independent of the Executive arm of government and the reasons are becoming clearer by the day. There has been resistance to revamp the anti-corruption strategy by formulation of policy and enactment of tough laws. More resources are going to be lost to corruption. We have become just another African country. Botswana is a banana republic!” he said.
On Thursday, Acting President Slumber Tsogwane suspended Katlholo with immediate effect. “The decision to suspend Katlholo is necessitated by the fact that in the course of his official duties, he has misconducted himself and exhibited a behavior that is incompatible with the conduct of a public officer. In this regard, the established disciplinary procedures will be followed by to the letter,” said the Office of the President (OP) in a statement on Thursday signed by John Dipowe.
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