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    Botswana ruling party distances self from US$25m petroleum fund scandal

    APA-Gaborone (Botswana)

    The ruling Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) has distanced itself from a case in which a financial advisor is accused of fraud and money laundering.

    Asset manager Bakang Seretse is facing charges of defrauding the National Petroleum Fund (NPF) of more than US$25 million.

    BDP treasurer Satar Dada and secretary-general Mpho Balopi on Thursday moved swiftly to distance the ruling party from the claims.

    “Whilst we would ordinarily not comment on a matter still before the courts, the allegations made against the party are far-reaching, and in the interest of the party, its supporters and the nation at large we would like to set the record straight,” Dada and Balopi said in a joint statement.

    They said the party never received any money “nor solicited any funds from the NPF.”

    “If such evidence exists we urge those with it to bring it forward lest the allegations are misconstrued as factual.”

    The case is one of the biggest financial scandals involving Botswana politicians, with President Ian Khama accused to have allegedly accepted cash from the proceeds of the US$25 million said to have been stolen from the NPF.

    According to Seretse’s lawyer Kgosietsile Ngakaagae, the Botswana leader allegedly used the money received from the financial advisor to build a house and buy himself a caravan.

    Ngakaagae did not disclose the amount of money that Khama allegedly got for the personal properties.

    The court also heard that Vice President Mokgweetsi Masisi was another top politician who benefitted from the NDF funds as he allegedly pocketed about 3 million Pula (around US$300,000).

    The case has seen investigators widening their probe to South Africa, Italy and the United Kingdom amid allegations that some of the stolen funds may have been laundered in these countries.


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