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DIS demand ‘Ntlole’

Bame Piet

From 2008 when it was established, to 2018 when former President Ian Khama stepped down, the Directorate of Intelligence Services (DIS) has consumed close to P8 billion in annual budget allocations and supplementary budgets.

The employees of DIS were associated with expensive lifestyle, flashy cars, mansions and loaded bank accounts. The spy agency was a dream vocation for many soldiers, police officers and civil servants.

In equal measure however, the DIS was a nightmare for opposition politicians, journalists, lawyers and criminals alike.

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However, last week, Director General of DIS Brigadier Peter Magosi painted a totally different picture of a broke DIS that is struggling to acquire the latest spying technology, struggling to attract highly skilled and experienced officers, and operating with a frustrated personnel. Magosi was appearing before the Public Accounts Committee chaired by MP for Francistown South, Wynter Mmolotsi.

In addition to a legal action by former Government security officers who were absorbed into DIS, that was settled-out-of-court, former Botswana Defense Force officers and former Botswana Police officers are also unhappy with their remuneration and are putting pressure on Magosi to do something.

This is because when they were recruited into the DIS, the two disciplined forces were not paying good salaries and the working conditions were far below those of their counterparts at DIS.

The income disparity came to an end in 2019 when President Dr Mokgweetsi Masisi introduced what would be later be referred to as ‘Ntlole’ in which many BDF and police officers were promoted and skipped a salary notch for a higher one.

While many DIS officers have stuck in one salary scale for years now, their colleagues in BDF and Botswana Police have been promoted several times and way above them, but the spy agents cannot return to the barracks, Magosi confirmed.

“The other major problem I have is that at some point, BDF and Botswana Police approached the Defense Council a couple of years ago to request for better remuneration and it was subsequently approved, but DIS were not included. These officers believe they lost a lot when they left the disciplined forces. They believe that they could have progressed and their colleagues have progressed. There has been a back and forth between these officers and the DIS management,” he told the PAC.

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He revealed that he has engaged a consultant to review the working conditions of DIS officers since taking the other process is likely to take many years before it can be resolved.

“The bottom line is that I am leading an organization that is not happy because of the problems that are there. I appeal to this committee, to the government to assist solve these problems that are beyond my control. I am doing as much as I can to alleviate this problem,” he said to the PAC.

Meanwhile, Magosi said there is theft of drugs from Government facilities that are sold to private clinics and doctors something he said has potential to damage the public confidence in government, adding that a lot of government projects have stalled because of officials who are sabotaging the government.

“Right now it is very clear that the government IT is porous and customers are constantly told the system is down. Government has to take a decision to address these issues or risk losing public confidence,” he said adding that the problem is a ticking time bomb.

With regard to crime and corruption, Magosi accused the judicial system of slowing down their efforts to fight these ills, adding that the poor working conditions for prosecutors at Directorate of Public Prosecutions should be addressed urgently.

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He said a few foreign companies have enjoyed big government tenders at the expense of other competitors, citing members of government tender committees of aiding the problem.

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