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Gabz cheese boy ‘sees dust’ as DCEC seizes his assets

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It doesn’t rain but pours for Bakang Seretse who is being made to dance to the music in alleged corruption claims. This week Directorate of Corruption and Economic Crime officials pounced on his properties to search them and seized some of his assets. From yesterday, Seretse’s property in Extension 11 was placed under judicial restraint and cordoned off, with DISS officials and SSG soldiers guarding the place.

The Midweek Sun has gathered that Seretse was handed a court order for 48 hours last week but did not honour it. Thus the DCEC yesterday raided his properties and started searches.
Some of his assests believed to be from the proceeds or instruments of crime, which were to also be put under judicial restraint include among many others, cars including a Maserati Ghibi worth P8 million, two Mercedes Benz sedans, Lexus LX, Toyota Rav4, Ford Ranger, Volvo XC 90, Landcruiser 4.5, Toyota hilux, Ford Fiesta, a Subaru station wagon, a VW Polo and a Rolls Royce Phantom estimated to be worth P7 million.

Other assets listed include gym equipment, a Rolex watch worth more than P200, 000 as well as farm and gardening equipment, all totalling more than P30 million. The list also includes three properties, two in Gaborone at Extension 11 and Gaoborone West, while one is in Lobatse. Well-known lawyer Kgosietsile Ngakaagae says that his client is a victim of an ugly campaign. He however says that they will fight tooth and nail for justice to prevail and for all the other “guilty” parties in the infamous National Petroleum Fund (NPF) saga, believed to be the most expensive fraud case in the history of Botswana, are exposed.

The lawyer and his client threatened to “spill the beans” and to “spoil” 2019 for everybody by exposing other individuals they allege to be involved in corrupt cases, but are yet to do so.
Yesterday Justice Omphemetse Motumise denied them the opportunity to challenge the order and asked Ngakaagae and his client to make the appeal in a fresh application.

Seretse has been living it up for the past few years, and was known to be a “cheese boy” of note, throwing parties, drinking expensive drinks at parties and clubs, wearing expensive threads, driving expensive cars and was never short of willing female suitors to keep him company, as well as a circle of “friends” with an equal thirst for the finer things in life.

But things started going south after he was implicated in the NPF scandal, which played out in a drawn-out court battle. On several occasions following his arrest and trial a few months ago, Seretse went as far as to claim that certain individuals who were protecting themselves were targeting him. The matter was quiet for a while, and the NPF can of worms was opened again this week when the case reared its ugly head again. DCEC officials pounced on his properties and failing to gain access, forced entry on the strength of a court order.

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Healthcare system to improve

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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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JUST PROPAGANDA

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Dr Pelonomi Venson-Moitoi has refuted claims that she is under the radar of the Financial Intelligence Agency. Dr Venson-Moitoi who pulled out of the Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) presidential race at the eleventh hour, was last week reported to have had her accounts frozen because she was being investigated by FIA.

It was alleged that the freezing of the accounts would have a negative bearing on her campaign as she could not access her funds. Responding to enquiries on the issue during a media briefing in Kang Village, Dr Venson-Moitoi said the allegations were far from the truth.

According to the former cabinet minister, all her accounts were clean and she was accessing her funds without any challenge. “The person who was saying all those things was lying. My accounts are clean as we speak. I was never confronted by FIA or anyone. As far as I know I am not under any investigations,” she said.

Linked to that, it had emerged that Dr Venson-Moitoi’s campaign was being funded from outside the country especially by the some rich families in South Africa. Reports then suggested that her source of funding was blocked through the intervention of FIA, and that even her accounts were frozen. She dismissed the reports as propaganda that was perhaps spread to soil her campaign.

“I am clean. This is why I am never mentioned in missing funds from National Petroleum Fund or those of Capital Management Botswana,” said the Serowe South Member of Parliament. Last month Dr Venson-Moitoi had reported to the Directorate of Intelligence and Security (DIS) Director General Peter Magosi that she was not happy that she is being followed around the country by security agents.

Magosi dismissed the claims on grounds that his organisation is not the only one that uses private motor vehicles.

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