- Is Magis’s career as chief spy over?
As the contract of Director General of Directorate of Intelligence Services (DIS), Peter Fana Magosi, contract comes to an end in May things have not gone according to plan, especially rooting out corruption and bringing to book the perpetrators. To the eyes of many within government enclave especially the security cluster, the career of Magosi is over and his relationship with President Mokgweetsi Masisi is something of a broken love affair, but those close to him said that he is likely to intensify his confrontation with Masisi and ensure his contract is renewed.
Highly placed sources at Office of the President have observed that because of his short fuse, they won’t be surprised if Masisi fires Magosi at the end of his contract in May. The leaking of the audio and other confidential information which have littered the public domain is said to have irked Masisi who is now losing trust on his close confidant.Masisi is said to be livid with the leaking of confidential information and gave Magosi a dressing down.
“He came at a critical time when President Masisi was fighting his predecessor Ian Khama and as spy chief and security adviser to the president, he knows more about the president than anyone else and it will depend on how he will exploit that to his advantage,” confided a senior security agent.
In an interview through Head of Public Relations at DIS Edward Robert, Magosi said that he has achieved a lot on his stint at the spy agency. Before his appointment there was concerns even from legislators that DIS has not accounted to the funds allocated to them and former DIS Chief Isaac Kgosi once informed the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) that he doesn’t account to anyone as per the DIS Act.
Magosi contends that after his appointment he sought to institutionalize accountability and transparency at the Spy Agency though his efforts have been met with some challenges, he has subjected his institution to an audit by the Auditor General for the first time since its inception.
“The Director General also appeared before the Parliamentary Public Accounts Committee (PAC) where he addressed key issues regarding the integrity and accountability of the department, staff welfare and national security threats,” responded Robert.
As part of his achievements, Magosi said that he played a key role in growing the department’s responsibility in the much necessary multiagency cooperation of security and law enforcement organs.
“One of his objectives has been to avail the department to the efforts of combating organized crime, corruption and subversion. This is evidenced, among others, in the success of anti -stock theft crusade in which collaboration with the Botswana Police Services (BPS) among other stakeholders paid dividends and grew assurance among livestock farmers that such criminality, no matter how well-organized, would not go unaffected by the rule of law,” said Roberts.
As one of his achievement since assuming the office of the spy master, Robert said that Magosi committed himself to broaden collaboration with peer organization in the region, the continent and abroad.
“Intelligence sharing among nations, has become the way to go in the face of the ever fast changing global security environment. Intelligence failure, the world over, has in almost all the known cases been attributed to failure by security outfits to share intelligence. This explains why to date the Directorate has signed a Memorandum of Understanding with no less than 14 countries. The actualization of the said has, among others, seen scores of employees of the Directorate going on training and exchange programmes; all aimed at enhancing organizational efficiency,” revealed DIS head of Public Relations.
One of the issues that Magosi said will do was to reform the DIS and ensure that it is accessible to the media and Robert said that they have achieved that.
“Important and necessary reforms within the Directorate have occurred and continue to unfold as the Director General continues to seek paths towards turning this department into a world class and accountable security organ. It should be noted that institutional reform is not an event, but a process which while fraught with challenges also provides many opportunities to attain reforms necessary to secure the viability of the Directorate in the long run. Where such opportunities have been available, the Director General has optimized them,” he said.
There has been raising concern with the interference of the DIS on the awarding of tenders which has led to government losing billions of pulas in litigation as the court has declared that the spy agency has no saying in the awarding of the tenders.
The recent one is the SPEDU Land Servicing Project whereby the DIS has halted the project indicating that they are investigating corruption in the awarding of the tender.
In defence, DIS indicates that as per the Intelligence and Security Services Act (2008) they have responsibility to facilitate and ensure the country’s political and economic security.
Robert said that in executing his mandate as the spy chief, Magosi shares information and advice government departments based on security risk assessments conducted from time to time.
“It is then up to government departments to consider the advice and use such information as may be applicable in light of national security. The Directorate does not award tenders let alone interfere in tender processes as that is the responsibility of PPADB,” he said.
Asked what he thinks are his failures and challenges since he assumed office, Magosi said that like the leader of any organization, he encountered both challenges and opportunities when leading the department.
“It is his desire to see greater cohesion within the directorate as well as improved staff welfare and working conditions going into the future- as this will not only boost morale but also the effectiveness of the Directorate,” responded Roberts.