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New Police Lab to help fight cybercrime



Botswana Police Service is anticipating an increase in convictions of cybercrime cases once their P267 million new Digital Forensic Laboratory becomes operational.

The Laboratory will be certified using ISO 17025, according to Kealeboga Keeditse of the Botswana Police Service, rendering it a credible and competent facility capable of generating valid results.
The lab is integral to the implementation of the National Cybersecurity Strategy (NCS) that was formulated to deal with rising incidents of cybercrime in the country.

Approximately P20 million was lost in 2018 as a result of a variety of cyber crime in Botswana. Keeditse said at a National Cybersecurity Strategy workshop last week that the role of the Police in the NCS is to be an investigating authority and enforce all the written laws of Botswana.Currently Botswana uses the Electronic Records (Evidence) Act of 2014. The Act applies to all legal proceedings before all courts – civil, criminal or administrative proceedings or before a tribunal, board or commission as well as affidavits in such proceedings.

In addition, this law permits admission of any evidence generated and stored in electronic form, and courts of law will now be able to admit such records when tendered as part of evidence. It also takes into consideration digital forensics. The recently enacted Cybercrime and Computer Related Crimes Act of 2018 also helps combat cybercrime and computer related crimes, to repress criminal activities perpetrated through a computer or computer system and to facilitate the collection of electronic evidence.

The law, which replaced the 2007 Act, also introduces crimes like cyber bullying, racism, xenophobic remarks, revenge pornography and offensive communication. Keeditse says among the common cyber and related crimes in Botswana are unauthorised access to systems and theft of data, business email compromise commonly known as change of supplier fraud, social media crimes including extortion, cyber bullying, romance fraud and child pornography as well as revenge porn and embezzlement.

He adds that of concern to the Police are social media pages like Youth of Botswana and Citizens of Botswana where a variety of violations noted in the legislation take place. “Last year we had numerous cases of embezzlement,” Keeditse said, adding that “tenderpreneurs are the most gullible because they are constantly looking for opportunities to make money, but end up falling victim to fraudsters.”

Keeditse cautioned about romance fraud stating that it mostly affects women. Last year, they had to deal with a case in which a woman spent hours at the airport waiting for a man supposedly in a romance relationship with her after sending him money for air tickets. Their biggest challenge is the complex nature of the investigations as well as new areas of forensics like Cloud Forensics. According to Keeditse, the lack of understanding of computer terminology by the judicial system is another headache for examiners.

Other challenges include the new paradigm of Big Data, where storage of evidence is being affected, and encryption and other data hiding techniques, as well as human resources capacitation and maintenance of skills set. As of September 2018, Police spokesperson, Near Bagali confirmed to The Midweek Sun that there were 56 registered cases, 39 in 2017, 25 cases in 2016 and 23 cases in 2015.

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University of Botswana students are bracing themselves for the Student Representative Council (SRC) elections. Contenders are fighting tooth and nail to appease the electorate. Three camps are in contention to fill the 13 council positions.

Umbrella for Democratic Change’s (UDC) Moono-wa-Baithuti has the onerous task of defending all the 13 seats which they hauled at the last elections of 2018. “As Moono wa Baithuti, we have lots of achievements. We are on the verge of getting the student bar open, so we need to go back and fix what we started,” said UDC’s Tumelo Legase who is vying for the position of Vice President.

He said they have advocated for student empowerment policies and are also proposing a third arm of student representation. “We have the SRC and the Judiciary, what we need is the student Parliament so that we have a large number of leaders who can independently attend to problems across the university.” The dark horse in this race is the University of Botswana’s Alliance for Progressive (AP) which will take another leap of faith despite their loss in the previous election.

They are rejuvenated and redefined. Candidate for Vice President Karabo Bokwe said central to their mandate is making the welfare of the student community a priority. “We want to help eradicate school policies that border on oppression, and through new polices call for initiatives that come with enterprenuership benefits to students.”

AP candidate for Information and Publicity, a first year Criminal Justice student Gracious Selelo said they are more united than other parties even at national level. “We don’t have internal squabbles within our party, we are more focused and can deliver our mandate easily,” she noted.

However the ruling party’s BDP GS-26 will come with all guns blazing after an embarrassing defeat in the previous elections. Preparations have been made and the GS-26 is looking to take the elections by storm.

According to their Presidential Candidate Boniface Seane, they come with the message of hope that addresses the current status quo at the University.“The university is not functioning so we drew three policies that embrace inclusiveness. We want to lead collectively with the students, through the student body meetings which the previous SRCs have failed to do. “We will consult with the students with no discrimination.”

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Healthcare system to improve



The Health ministry has developed a seven-point programme to guide the country in improving the healthcare system, says Minister of Health and Wellness, Dr Alfred Rabashemi Madigele.

“The seven priority areas will serve as a roadmap and a guardian angel towards improving the overall healthcare system and increasing access to health care while fighting the burden of disease that confronts us,” said Madigele at Masa Square Hotel on Tuesday.

The focal areas include decentralisation; Universal Health Coverage, Tertiary Care, Strategic leveraging on the Private sector; Supply Chain; Research as well as Staff welfare and accountability.
Point-one of the seven priority areas according to Dr Madigele is about empowering the District Health Management Teams (DHMTs) and transforming them into fully fledged Regional Health Authorities.

“In this case, they will be rationalised from 27 to 18 and have the authority to hire A and B Scales, promote up to C1 and manage micro procurement,” he said. Point two is about improving the quality of healthcare services. “The main causes of mortality and their risk factors in Botswana are Primary Health Care issues,” Dr Madigele said.

He added that “Our efforts for the attainment of Universal Health Coverage should thus focus on: Prevention; Comprehensive screening; Early treatment; and Surveillance at the community.”
This he said, would require revamped grassroots efforts in which adequate numbers of community health workers through partnerships with the non-governmental sector will be deployed as necessary.

According to Dr Madigele, the top five causes of death in Botswana in 2017 were HIV/AIDS, Ischemic heart disease, stroke, lower respiratory infections and Diabetes. He said compared to 2007, NCDs among these had increased in burden by an average of 34%. The top five risk factors related to these causes of mortality were unsafe sex; poor diet; high blood pressure; alcohol abuse and tobacco use.

Improving the quality of care, Madigele said will also include the safety and security of patients; attitudes of staff as experienced by patients; time taken in queues either before seeing a health worker or receiving medication and the availability of drugs.

Meanwhile, the health minister revealed that the commissioning of Sir Ketumile Masire Teaching Hospital (SKMTH) is ongoing with the facility scheduled for opening on April 24th. “This will be a phased approach commencing with some services including paediatric oncology, internal medicine, rheumatology and endocrinology, diagnostic radiology, laboratory services and pharmacy”.

A phased commissioning of SKMTH will reduce overdependence on South Africa for referrals, reduce costs and also institutionalise provision of super specialist services within Botswana.

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