The National Petroleum Fund (NPF) has been looted. A quarter of a billion (250M) Pula has been embezzled from the fund leaving Batswana with hurting frequent fuel hikes.
In an attempt to nab the looters of the fund, after a long investigation by the Directorate on Corruption and Economic Crime (DCEC), six men including a High Court judge, a former Cabinet minister and an MP are facing 65 criminal charges.
The looting of the National Petroleum Fund (NPF) has been described as the biggest white-collar heist in Botswana; a country that prides itself on low corruption and strong governance.
A fund that was designed to help cushion Batswana against the fuel hikes and inflation has been ransacked.
For Botswana, not only was the public purse robbed, but also the protection against high fuel prices that the NPF provided, was taken away.
This year alone, fuel prices have gone up three times and although Energy Authorities say the empty NPF coffers are not much to blame, analysts disagree.
Six men: A High Court judge, Zein Kebonang, his twin brother former Cabinet minister, and Member of Parliament Sadique Kebonang, executive director of Botswana Energy Regulatory Authority (BERA) Kenneth Kerekang, flamboyant asset manager, Bakang Seretse and his younger brother, Mogomotsi together with one Kago Stimela are accused of being looters of the fund.
The accused include six companies namely, Khulaco (Pty) Ltd, Basis Points Capital (Pty) Ltd, M & B Properties (Pty) Ltd, Raging Bull (Pty) Ltd, Leomog (Pty) Ltd, STM Holdings (Pty) Ltd, that were used in the multimillion pula money laundering heist.
Initially only three persons, Bakang, Kerekang, and Botho Leburu were accused in the pillage, but yesterday the State amended the charges and dropped Leburu from the case.
The new charges are now 65 with money laundering counts being dominant. Kerekang has also been brought in as first accused facing one count of abuse of office, giving false information to a person employed in the public service, theft and four counts of money laundering.
The central figure in the case, Bakang Seretse faces whopping 54 charges of money laundering and one count of uttering a false document. MP for Lobatse and former Cabinet minister, Sadique Kebonang faces four counts of money laundering.
His identical twin brother, Zein Kebonang, ditched the judge’s wig and joined the accused in the dock facing two counts of money laundering.
Prosecution is lead by the veteran state counsel, Wessen Manchwe while top local criminal lawyer Unoda Mack represents the Kebonang brothers. Kgosietsile Ngakaagae represents the reminder of all the accused.
The case is adjourned to February 18, 2019 when the prosecution is expected to be ready to commit the accused persons for trial.
Highlights Of Counts
Kerekang who is now the accused number one, faces key charges. He is accused of giving false information to Isaac Kgosi, then Director of Directorate of Intelligence
and Security (DIS) that Khulaco (Pty) Ltd had been contracted by government to manage the NPF.
P60, 000, 000 – Kerekang and Bakang accused of stealing from NPF
Uttering a false document
Bakang accused of fraudulently uttering a forged Basis Points Capital (Pty) Ltd company resolution
Some of the properties allegedly bought with NPF money:
P2, 411, 000 property bought by Bakang Seretse
P42, 000, 000 property bought by Bakang Seretse
P1, 194, 029. 85 property bought for Zein Kebonang in The Polofields, South Africa
P6, 800, 000 property bought for Sadique Kebonang at i-Towers
P 3, 300, 010 property for Sadique Kebonang at Broadacres, South Africa
According to the Act a person who engages in money laundering shall be guilty of an offence and shall be liable, if he is an individual, to imprisonment of a term not exceeding three years or to a fine not exceeding P10, 000, or both, or if the offender is a body of persons, then, every person who at the time of the commission of the offence was a director, manager or partner of such body shall be liable to a fine not exceeding P25,000.
more details soon …..