This week the MP for Jwaneng Mabutsane, Shawn Ntlhaile put pressure on the Office of the President to respond to corruption allegations leveled against Government’s most senior civil servant when he posed questions in Parliament.
Ntlhaile wanted the minister of Presidential Affairs, Governance and Public Administration (MOPAPA) to update Parliament on the status of investigations by the Directorate on Corruption and Economic Crime (DCEC) which link the Permanent Secretary to the President, Carter Morupisi to pensioners’ funds embezzlement.
The PSP has been among those singled out as beneficiaries of the missing half a billion Pula that the Botswana Public Officers Pension Fund (BPOPF) had given to Capital Management Botswana (CMB) for management.
At some point the Directorate on Corruption and Economic Crime (DCEC) impounded a double-cab land cruiser belonging to Morupisi and his wife, linking the latter to the CMB corruption scandal.
Making things even more sinister is the fact that DCEC falls under the Office of the President which means it can be manipulated by the senior officials to avoid being prosecuted.
Assistant minister Machana Shamukuni came to the rescue of Morupisi when some MPs went further to call for Morupisi’s suspension pending alleged corruption investigations against him just like other government officials has been suspended before.
Shamukuni confirmed that he was indeed aware that the DCEC was investigating embezzlement of funds from the Botswana Public Officers Pensioners Fund (BPOPF). .
He was however economical with information saying such details cannot be divulged at this stage as doing so may compromise investigations and tarnish the integrity of the whole investigation process.
“Yes, I we are aware of the misappropriation of pensioners’ funds at BPOPF under which PSP is being associated to the corrupt scandal although the investigations are still on by DCEC and I cannot confirm if he (Morupisi) indeed is being involved. Only the final investigations by DCEC which are ongoing on the matter will reveal the whole truth,” he said.
Facing a baptism of fire from opposition legislators especially, he pulled on Section 44 of the Corruption and Economic Crime (CECA) of 1994 to defend Morupisi. The Act prohibits disclosure of information about individuals who are being investigated whilst investigations are still on-going.
MP Ntlhaile had accused the Office of the President of not relieving Morupisi off his duties while he is being involved in the corruption investigations.
Francistown South MP Wynter Mmolotsi intervened and called for the suspension of the PSP pending investigations against him. He criticised Government for using state oversight institutions to settle political scores while protecting others.
Reached for comment on Friday morning Morupisi briefly said he was not aware of any claims leveled against him with regards to the misappropriation of pensioners’ money. Morupisi has also in the past denied allegations of his involvement in the CMB scandal.
Some of the key players in the BPOPF scandal are CMB directors Rapula Okaile and Tim Marsland who were this week reportedly slapped with civil forfeiture though the claimed political witch-hunt against them.
The duo faces allegations of using a substantial fraction of the P500 million pensioners money for their own personal interests.