Botswana-Governance-Corruption

Masisi’s anti-corruption crusade claims top Botswana official

APA-Gaborone (Botswana)

In what some observers may view as political expediency while others may consider it as “walking the talk” against corruption, President Mokgweetsi Masisi has fired Permanent Secretary to the President Carter Morupisi for alleged graft and abuse of office.

Whether it was coincidentally or not, when news broke out that Morupisi has been charged with corruption, Masisi tweeted that “we have introduced stronger processes to stop any corrupt practice before it has even had a chance to begin.”

He added: “I urge anyone who is aware of any ill-practices to speak out to assist us in getting rid of the rotten apples. Corruption must be fought bare-fisted.”

Some observers say the decision by the prosecution to slap the top official with corruption charges is nothing more than political expediency as the country gears for tough polls and Masisi’s ruling Botswana Democratic Party is under immense pressure from a combined opposition.

But following his ascendance to power last year in April, Masisi said that he would prioritise fighting corruption and his supporters believe that the charges against Morupisi are just a tip of the iceberg as more people are expected to be hauled before the courts.

It remains to be seen how many influential people will be charged and prosecuted before October as reports indicate that some of Masisi’s ministers are being investigated by the Directorate on Corruption and Economic Crime.

Morupisi is the only top official to be prosecuted since Masisi became president last year.

The official, his wife Pinny Morupisi, and their company R7 Group, briefly appeared before a magistrate in the capital Gaborone on charges of abuse of office, receiving a bribe and money laundering.

On the count of abuse of office, Morupisi is alleged to have on 11 November 2014, while holding the position of board chairperson of the Botswana Public Officers Pension Fund (BPOPF) and without authority and final resolution of the board, signed a contract with Capital Management Botswana (CMB) on behalf of the pension fund in which he authorised CMB to administer BPOPF funds.

On the bribery charge, Morupisi is alleged to have received a vehicle from CMB following the awarding of the BPOPF contract to the firm.

KO/jn/APA

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