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Botswana - Corruption

During the 1990s, the BDP had many corruption scandals. In 1992, Vice- President Peter Mmusi and Minister of Agriculture Daniel Kwelagobe were forced to resign after an investigation into their illegal transfer of land. Both were later reinstated in a victory of the BDP old guard and cattle owners over party modernizers. In 1993, several top government officials, including President Masire, were found to be indebted to the National Development Bank. The sum of the indebtedness was so large that the bank was forced to close offices and lay off workers. Another scandal in 1993 involving the Botswana Housing Corporation forced the resignation of two other ministers.

Attracted to the immense wealth generated within the two countries, transnational crime networks spread from South Africa into Botswana during the 1990s. Botswana has vast, sparsely populated border areas. These areas are very difficult to patrol with the countrys limited police forces. Crime syndicates have learned that they can move large numbers of people and illicit goods across the borders with little fear of detection.

In the 1990s the government became seriously concerned about the detrimental effects of corruption and economic crime should it take hold in the country. In developing new legislation and anti-corruption structures, the government reviewed the approaches taken elsewhere in the world, particularly Hong Kong, and saw that significant results had been achieved by implementing a three pronged attack of detailed investigation, corruption prevention and public education. It was also clear that the greatest success had been enjoyed in those countries which had established separate bodies specifically set up and designed to deal with corruption problems rather than imposing additional burdens on existing law enforcement agencies. As a result a Corruption and Economic Crime Act was enacted, leading to the establishment of the Directorate on Corruption and Economic Crime (DCEC) in 1994.

Corruption in Botswana remains less pervasive than in other parts of Africa; nevertheless, foreign and national companies have commented an increasing tender-related corruption where colluding officials manipulate the process. Botswana has been consistently rated by Transparency International as the least corrupt country in Africa, and is ranked amongst the least corrupt countries in the world. This clearly shows that Government institutions are efficient, effective and transparent, thus creating a conducive environment for the seamless operation of the private sector. Highly significant too are the rankings of Standard and Poor and Moodys, which give Botswana the highest investment grade sovereign credit rating in Africa and among the highest in the world consistently for a period spanning a decade.

Botswana has a reputation for a relative lack of corruption and a willingness to prosecute corrupt officials. Transparency International ranks Botswana as the least corrupt country in Africa (31st overall), and a 2014 report by the World Justice Project ranked Botswana number one on its regional rule of law index. Investors with experience in other developing nations describe the relative lack of obstruction or interference by law enforcement or other government agents as among the country's most important assets. Nevertheless, private sector representatives now note rising corruption levels in government tender procurements.

The major corruption investigation body is the Directorate on Corruption and Economic Crimes (DCEC). Overall, the DCEC is regarded as an active and independent organization. The DCEC has embarked on an education campaign to raise public awareness about the cost of corruption and is also working with Government departments to reform their accountability procedures.

Corruption is punishable by a prison term of up to 10 years, a fine of USD 50,000, or both. The DCEC received 1,471 reports of corruption in 2013, an 18 percent decrease from the 2011 statistics. The DCEC investigated 520 allegations in 2013, and the government typically obtains 16-20 convictions per year for corruption-related crimes. High level officials have been prosecuted. Allegations that the Director of Intelligence and Security Services escaped corruption charges because of his personal connections circulated widely in Batswana media in 2014. The Directorate of Public Prosecutions applied for a withdrawal of corruption charges against MTI Vincent Seretse in March 2015 citing the grounds that key witnesses were unavailable. The charges stemmed from alleged tender manipulation in 2008 when he was CEO of SOE Botswana Telecommunication Company.

The 2000 Proceeds of Serious Crime Act expanded the DCEC's mandate to include money laundering. The 2009 Financial Intelligence Act provides a comprehensive legal framework to address money laundering and establishes a financial intelligence agency (FIA). The FIA, which operates under the Ministry of Finance and Development Planning, cooperates with various institutions, such as Directorate of Public Prosecutions (DPP), Botswana Police Service, Bank of Botswana, the Non-Banking Financial Institutions Regulatory Authority (NBFIRA), the DCEC, and foreign FIAs to uncover and investigate suspicious financial transactions. Botswana is a member of the Eastern and Southern Anti-Money Laundering Group (ESAAMLG), a regional standards-setting body for ensuring appropriate laws, policies and practices to fight money laundering and the financing of terrorism.

At one time in the history of the BDF, sources say, it was impossible to procure any major equipment for the local army without involving the then commander Ian Khama's brothers, Tshekedi and Anthony. The two brothers owned a company, Seleke Springs. The company dominated procurement by holding agency licences for major military suppliers. The company was linked to almost every major military equipment supplier selling to Botswana Defence Force (BDF).

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