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Ombudsman clears President of abuse on Mosu construction

The Ombudsman has cleared President Lt. Gen Dr. Seretse Khama Ian Khama of any wrongdoing on alleged maladministration and abuse of office with respect to the construction of his private home and other facilities at Mosu.

In a detailed report the Ombudsman, Mr Augustine Makgonatsotlhe dismissed opposition party, Botswana Congress Party (BCP), suspicions that Khama had abused public resources in building on his Mosu private property. 

The BCP had complained to Ombudsman that Khama wrongly used public resources, personnel and equipment to build an airstrip on his private property, structures and water connections.

The Ombudsman, however, said that the allegations with respect to the construction of the buildings and water connection on the president’s plot lacked merit and were not supported by any evidence.

With respect to the houses in the compound the Ombudsman reported in his findings that:

“There is a clear record (receipts, bank cash slips, cheques book stubs etc.) of how the construction of the houses was paid for, which we have inspected for all of the houses including the President’s house. 

Evidence placed before us clearly showed the construction of the buildings was paid for by the President himself from personal resources. There is nothing therefore to suggest that public resources might have been expended on developing the President’s private property, at least as far as the main compound.”

He also noted that the “eight residential houses, the biggest being a two bed-roomed house, while the rest were small cottages; some are made from prefabricated material.”

With respect to the water connection the Ombudsman confirmed that:  “The connection was considered (by WUC) as a special private development request and the applicant was to incur all cost for the construction of the line, including maintenance.”

He also added “Though the water connection tapped onto the main line supplying Mosu village, it was procedural and had not affected the water supply to the village because of the limited number of people residing in the premise.” The Ombudsman further confirmed that he had been given the names of the private contractors who were engaged in the laying of the pipeline supplying water to the premises who confirmed that they had been privately employed.

With respect to the airstrip, the Ombudsman noted that it had been “built by the Botswana Defence Force, with its own resources (i.e. machinery and manpower) using local material (gravel), to avert the cost of always having to land the President in Orapa, which is about 85km away, then transporting him to the site by car or helicopter.”

The report also noted that the airstrip is fenced and maintained as a public resource by the Civil Aviation Authority of Botswana (CAAB), although it has not yet been transferred onto their asset register.

Further to the above, the Ombudsman reported that “information from security arms of government indicate that the airstrip is currently for exclusive use of the President as it is classified as a National key/Security Area, hence access is not allowed to any aircraft or private persons. State and civilian aircrafts will only be allowed on the airstrip after the President ceases to hold office and upon compliance with CAAB formalities.”

The Ombudsman thus stated that “I have come to the conclusion that the fencing and maintenance of the airstrip by CAAB was consistent with past practice of providing landing facilities for the sitting President and did not amount to maladministration.”

The Ombudsman concluded that: “No clear injustice to the complainants in their own right or a political party representing the interests of members of the public has been shown to have occurred.”

In his report the Ombudsman also expressed concern that BCP seemed to abuse the process of the public advocate, noting: “In analyzing the Mosu case and referring to previous reports on matters brought to our office by the Botswana Congress Party, we have observed that all complaints lodged by the party precede general elections.” Office of the President. ENDS

Source : BGCIS

Author : BGCIS

Location : GABORONE

Event : Rebuttal

Date : Feb 01 Thu,2018

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