Friday, 11 January 2008

Mogae's camel gifts land on Sir Seretse Khama Internatinal

Source : Mmegi

A huge cargo plane landed at Sir Seretse Khama International Airport in Gaborone yesterday to deliver three live camels from Libya.

The three animals were among others to be delivered in Lesotho, Mozambique, Madagascar and Sudan.

The Trans Attico Cargo plane - IL 76TD - the largest to land at Sir Seretse Khama International Airport, arrived at 5pm. It had already delivered its camel cargo in Zambia and Zimbabwe.

The animals that were delivered in Botswana are a present to President Festus Mogae from the Libyan leader, Colonel Muammar Gaddafi. The Libyan ambassador to Botswana, Assed Almutaa and his compatriots were at the airport to witness the arrival of the animals.

Early Wednesday evening, one animal had already been transferred from the plane into one of the two waiting trucks from the Department of Wildlife and National Parks that were to transport them.

A third additional truck was needed to transport the third animal. There should be a handing over ceremony before the end of the week. Colonel Gaddafi has been campaigning for quick establishment of the United States of Africa that will have one currency, one government and one parliament.

Many African leaders rejected the idea believing that establishment of a unitary African government for the continent should be done gradually.

Big fish swim in banks

Source: Mmegi

Just on the heels of corruption charges that have been slapped on former Debswana employees, there is yet another multi-million high profile case in the offing. This time it is the commercial banks that are said to be reeling from sophisticated fraud that has left them poorer by many millions of pula. The suspects are not just petty thieves but respected elders and men believed to be some of the country's richest businessmen.

The grafters at the Directorate on Corruption and Economic Crime (DCEC) are said to be wrapping their investigations around a huge case of graft.

There is a belief that the suspected plunderers burnt a heavy black hole of up to several tens of millions of pula in the coffers of at least two local commercial banks through a form of money laundering.

When asked about this incident, the Managing Director of Barclays Bank (Botswana), Thuli Johnson said he was bound by the Banking Act not to discuss activities, transactions or accounts of individuals with third parties.

"Even in the event that we could have made a report to an investigation agency - and we make these reports occasionally - it would be unethical for me to discuss this with the press," Johnson said.

Standard Chartered Bank is one of the banks that are alleged to have been hit by this spate of sophisticated white-collar crime. It is believed that Standard Chartered could have been the hardest hit.

Asked if her bank had been hit in the pocket, the Acting Chief Executive Officer, Mrs Serty Leburu said since she was holding the fort for the substantive CEO, David Cutting, she was not privy to such information which might be the domain of her boss-Cutting.

"Mr Cutting is out of the country, you may have to talk to him when he comes back next week. I am not aware of any fraud activity" said Leburu.

There is, however, a strong indication that these activities were reported to the DCEC for investigation.

Information reaching Mmegi is that the DCEC has in turn engaged the services of forensic experts to help trace the millions of pula that disappeared from the bank through some sophistry.

It is understood that the DCEC, with the help of these experts, has unravelled the money trail. One of the suspects is understood to have skipped the country, perhaps fearing for the worst.

When DCEC was contacted for comment, they did not want to reveal much. Poppy Monyatsi, the Assistant Director relaying the instructions of acting director, Rose Tsiane-Seretse, said they would not want to confirm or deny that they are investigating some rich well known Batswana businessmen for fraud amounting to millions.

"I have been instructed to inform you that in an answer to your question, we cannot confirm or deny the allegation contained in your enquiry," she pleaded.

South African clubs for Gabs tournament

Source: BOPA

South African Premier League sides, Jomo Cosmos and Supersport United (SSU) are expected to feature in a four-club tournament scheduled for the National Stadium in Gaborone on January 25-26.

Other clubs scheduled to take part in the event are two Mascom Premier League giants Mochudi Centre Chiefs and Extension Gunners. The visiting clubs will be using the tournament to keep fit and test players who have been on the fringes.

The South African league is on a break until next month because the national team, Bafana Bafana, is preparing for the African Cup of Nations (AFCON) scheduled for Ghana from January 20 to February 10.

Information reaching Mmegi Sport indicate that Chiefs' chairman Ernest Molome and Fobby Radipotsane travelled to Johannesburg during last month to seal the deal with the South African clubs.

But when contacted, Molome declined to disclose details saying they will call a press conference on Thursday. Mmegi Sport has learnt that two games will be played on the night of January 25 while the final will be the following day.

"The games promise to be big as it is understood that the clubs have sealed a deal with Supersport (the pay TV sports channel) to televise the games live," said a source. Chiefs are reported to be in negotiations with state-owned Btv to broadcast the games live.

Meanwhile, Rollers' managing director Somerset Gobuiwang has said that their match with South African giants, Kaizer Chiefs has not been confirmed. Rollers are scheduled to face the Soweto giants on January 20 in Gaborone but reports indicate that Amakhosi are asking too much to honour the date.

Botswana braces for high oil prices

Source: Mmegi

International oil prices briefly hit the $100 (about P604) mark a barrel in the New Year, raising concerns of further retail fuel prices and further inflationary pressures in Botswana.

Maungo Lebanna, an analyst with Investec Asset Management Botswana, says her inflation forecast for December could breach the 8 percent mark to 8.3 percent.

"Our inflation outlook has deteriorated. We previously thought inflation would peak at 8 percent by February; now we see it peaking at around 9 percent. Although domestic sources of inflation are muted, nontradeables inflation is likely to go up in the first quarter of 2008," Lebanna said.

Botswana's inflation edged from 7.3 percent in October to 7.7 percent in November influenced mostly by food and transport indices.

Transport inflation increased marginally in November, with the year-on-year rate edging up to 8.7 percent on the back of higher operating costs, mainly fuel.

Lebanna noted that over a period of one year, from November 2006 to November 2007, crude oil prices had increased by 40 percent, while local petrol prices increased by 11 percent.

This further fuelled prospects of further fuel prices in the first quarter of 2008 to cater for the fuel price cycle.

She said this mismatch implies that the current pump prices of petrol, diesel and paraffin do not reflect the true value of local fuel prices.

"Unlike South Africa, Botswana does not respond instantly to changes in crude oil prices causing the under-recoveries to build up in the system.

Depending on the movement of crude oil prices, it is highly possible for another fuel hike in the first quarter of 2008 to make up for the current under-recovery", said Lebanna.

Motswana bears witness to Kenya killings


GABORONE - Weeks ago Kenya was one of the peaceful countries in the continent, but today the country is marred by disputes, protests, riots and violence that threaten its economy.

This is the result of the announcement of President Mwai Kibakis re-election. Much of the troubles in the country has affected many people bringing the death toll to about 500, while thousands remain displaced throughout the country.

One Motswana who was on a private visit to Kenya at the time, gives an account of how inhumane and scary the situation was when the riots started.

I was in Mombasa during the elections. I have never seen people fighting each other like that in my entire life and it is something that I will never forget, said Ms Lorato Khumotaka.

The situation being unbeknown to Khumotaka, except for having seen similar acts only on television , forced her to immediately change flights.

All hell broke loose immediately after the announcement of the results as people went out in the street and riots erupted. I was watching from the hotel window as people beat each other up, and firing buildings with petrol booms. I then decided it was time to go home, Ms Khumotaka who was on a private visit to the East African country said.

That was never to be the case however, as everything was literally closed for business. The situation then forced her to stay put and pray for her life.

The streets were full of young people fighting the police for hours. Police had guns and the people had sharp instruments such as arrows and spears.

There was smoke from burning tyres, while many people lay wounded on the ground .

Ms Khumotaka had to stay under protection in the hotel room and wait for the situation to calm down.

We were helpless. I saw young people and women being killed like flies and there was nothing I could do to help. I just sat there and prayed to God to save the lives of people especially women and children, she said.

The riots continued for days and it was on the second day of the New Year that Ms Khumotaka was able to leave the hotel room and caught a flight to Nairobi.

In Nairobi the situation was no better. There was riot there too.

There was a demonstration by opposition supporters . There was a mass rally by the park where Odinga was supposed to address his supporters. Violence continued as the police barred the followers from attending the rally, she said.

Khumotaka said the demonstrators were mostly young people brandishing white cloths- a symbol of peace.

I was amazed by how men hit each other with rocks, while police fired tear gas and turned on water cannons to beat back several hundreds of protesters from going into the park,she said.

Ms Khumotaka said in one street the restriction angered the youth that they torched a section of the most expensive mall in Nairobi.

She said she was able to catch a flight on the fourth day of the new month to come back home.

Ms Khumokata said her bad experience in Kenya has made her appreciate life and her country more.

From that day I have realised that we are a blessed nation to not go through what other countries are going through, she said.

The violence has shaken Kenyas stability and has left many Kenyans stranded with no supplies of food and shelter. BOPA

Zebras head south

Source: BOPA

GABORONE -- The national team, the Zebras, will play neighbouring South Africa in a practice match in Durban, next week.

Mooketsi Tosh Kgotlele, CEO of the Botswana Football Association, confirmed the January 16 macth in an interview on Tuesday.It will be played at Chatsworth Stadium at 6pm.

Zebras go into the game with last years Cosafa Castle Cup semi-final defeat by South Africa still fresh in their minds.

The match is to help Bafana Bafana prepare for the Africa Cup of Nations competition slated for Accra, Ghana, starting January 20.

Both teams have met several times in the past, with Botswana only managing to put one past South Africa, a win in 2006 that knocked Bafana Bafana out of the Cosafa cup group stages.

However, South Africa is trying hard to regain their once commanding position under the tutelage of World Cup winning Brazilian coach, Carlos Alberto Parreira.

As the 2010 FIFA World Cup host, South Africa is automatically amongst the 32 participating teams. They would be wary of the Zebras, who are fast becoming a hoodoo team for many African football powerhouses.

Zebras coach, Colwyn Rowe would also be in a vengeful mood together with his charges, as they still believe they can embarrass South Africa at home.

The match will also go a long way in helping Rowes charges, who are currently on camp, prepare for the all important 2010 World Cup and AFCON qualifiers in May.

Some new faces in the team include the crafty and creative Mochudi Centre Chiefs midfielder Oteng OT Moalosi, national Under-23 players Moreetsi Mosimanyana, Gobonyeone Shoes Selefa and Boitumelo Modisaotsile as well as Ecco City Greens midfield workaholic Abednico Powell.

BFA is expected to organise more friendly games for the Zebras, who will be watching the January 20 to February 10 AFCON on television. BOPA

UB student appears for killing

Source: BOPA

GABORONE - A university of Botswana (UB) student who has been on the run since November last year appeared before Village Magistrate Court charged with a single count of murder on Wednesday.

Mbaakanyi Pagiwa, 21, is jointly charged with his cousin, Oteng Pagiwa, 19, for the murder of Kagiso Diteko Seleka, 25, at Tsolamosese on November 3, 2007.

The co-auccused is a UB student, as was the deceased.

The prosecutor, Sub-Inspector Modironyana Lekone of Mogodisthane police told the court that the suspect was arrested in Gaborone after hiding for sometime in Zimbabwe.

Pagiwa was not asked to plead and he will appear again on January 23. He was remanded in police custody, while his co-accused who is on bail will appear on January 28.

Pagiwa appealed to the court to give him a conditional bail, as he is a student.

He complained that he is staying with old prisoners and that he had not been able to sleep well due to over crowding in prison.

Village Magistrate Mareledi Dipate advised him to make a formal bail application supported with an affidavit to either a magistrate court or High Court.

Meanwhile, the Village Magistrate Court has granted bail to a mechanic who is facing a threat to kill charge. Kabo Kgosimore is alleged to have threatened to kill Gregory Kelebonye in Mogoditshane on January 6.

Kgosimore was granted bail on condition that he pay P500, not interfere with state witnesses, including the complainant, and attend all court proceedings. BOPA