Motsepe-Radebe denies role in Botswana heist
Publish date: 04 November 2019
Issue Number: 848
Diary: IBA Legalbrief Africa
SA businesswoman Bridgette Motsepe-Radebe has been fingered as a co-signatory to at least two bank accounts holding some of the more than $10bn allegedly stolen from the Botswana Government to finance 'terrorism'. This was heard last week in a Gaborone court during the bail application of a former spy, Wilhelmina Maswabi, who has been implicated in the saga. The court heard that Maswabi was found to have more than $390m in her personal global accounts and had allegedly been transferring funds to former spy chief, Isaac Kgosi, who is being investigated for threatening to topple the government. City Press reports that these claims are contained in a bail-opposing affidavit by investigating officer Jako Hubona. He claimed Maswabi and Motsepe-Radebe were co-signatories on South African bank accounts owned by two companies, Blue Flies and Fire Flies. Between them, the companies hold 17 bank accounts outside Botswana. Motsepe-Radebe has dismissed these allegations as well as claims she is meddling in Botswanan politics. 'I have never been involved in money laundering, illicit outflow of capital, regime change and terrorism. This reporting is all derogatory and unjust,' she said.
In other developments, Botswana’s newly re-elected President Mokgweetsi Masisi was sworn in on Friday during a ceremony snubbed by his predecessor after the two former allies had a high-profile fall-out. Masisi promised to tackle corruption in diamond-rich Botswana, which has been seen across Africa as a beacon of stability and democracy. A SowetanLIVE report notes that he did not mention his predecessor, Ian Khama, who is now entangled in a corruption scandal. ‘My government will put in place ... mechanisms through the application of practices of good governance to ensure that corruption is defeated,’ Masisi said. Khama has been accused of being part of the alleged scam involving Motsepe-Radebe. In a statement on Friday, his lawyers denounced the allegations as fabricated and an attempt to ‘settle personal vendettas’. ‘Our client will launch a thorough investigation of all the allegations made against him, in order to clear his name, offer the nation the truth, and expose this clandestine conspiracy by some government institutions to assassinate his character,’ it said.
Meanwhile, opposition leader Duma Boko who led the coalition Umbrella for Democratic Change, has vowed to overturn Masisi’s election victory in court, citing ‘massive electoral discrepancies’. He claims that many UDC members, including his own wife, were turned away at the ballot box by the Independent Electoral Commission. ‘The summary of the voters roll showed the total number of registered voters as 753 470. However, if one counted the total number of individuals listed in the detailed version of the roll, there were in fact 1 002 320. This is a truly massive discrepancy – a difference of fully 33% – a third of the voters roll,’ said Boko. The Star reports that Masisi’s Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) extended its 53-year grip on power after winning 38 of the 57 constituencies in last Wednesday’s poll. The BDP rallied from its worst-ever electoral performance in 2014 despite a split caused by the departure of former President Ian Khama, who endorsed the opposition in the build up to the election.