Monday, February 9, 2009

Response to Sunday Standard article "DCEC boss steps down"

source: Republic of Botswana (9/2/09): TAUTONA TIMES no 2 of 2009
The Weekly Electronic Press Circular of the Office of the President "Democracy, Development, Dignity and Discipline"

C3) 2/2/09: Response to Sunday Standard article "DCEC boss steps down"

With reference to the above, addresses may have already received attached Press Release (also reproduced below) issued from DCEC.

The Press release seeks to refute the contents of the said article, which reported that the DCEC Director, Mr. Tymon Katlholo, intends to resign from his post in the coming months and is further "expected to go and head the anti-corruption unit in the Central African [sic] country of Benin later this year."

This Office is also concerned about misleading content contained in the newspaper report.

In particular we wish to refute the implication contained in paragraphs 3 & 6 of the report that this Office has in some way announced that the DCEC Director is to retire in the coming months. No such announcement has been made.

This Office is also totally unaware of any plans on the part of the DCEC Director to take up a position in Benin.

DCEC Press Release: DCEC Boss not stepping down

The Directorate on Corruption and Economic Crime (DCEC) is deeply concerned about an article that appeared on the Sunday Standard of 1st February 2009 entitled "DCEC boss steps down," which falsely reports that the DCEC Director, Mr. Tymon Katlholo, intends to resign from his post in the coming months and "is expected to go and head the anti-corruption unit in the Central African [sic] country of Benin later this year."

We wish to inform the public that the Director has never mentioned to the reporter that he has immediate plans to retire. What he mentioned was that when that time comes he will make a public statement. We also wish to affirm that there is no truth whatsoever to the notion that the Director anticipates becoming the head of an anti- corruption unit in the West African country of Benin, or for that matter any other country.

In this respect the article's purported quotation by the Director that: "I have been offered a job by the Benin government and my government and the Government of Benin met and discussed the matter", is false, misleading and potentially defamatory.

For the record the DCEC director has never made any statement about assuming a position in Benin. Neither did he in anyway suggest that he was planning to resign from his post as the article suggests.

Mr. Katlholo's only connection to Benin is reflected in the attached 28/1/09 press release from the Office of the President about his recent award of the said nation's Distinguished Service Medal.

We are also concerned that the article further suggests that Katlholo has expressed disappointment in the Office of the President (OP) over the announcement of his resignation. This statement is completely false. Indeed, as far as we are aware it is untrue OP has never made such an announcement in the first place. In this respect we would like to challenge the Sunday Standard to produce any evidence to back its claim that OP has announced Mr. Katlholo's resignation.

C4) 28/1/09: Press Release - “DCEC Director Honoured by Benin”

The Government of Botswana is pleased to announce that the President of the Republic of Benin, H.E. Dr. Thomas Boni Yayi, has awarded his country’s Distinguished Service Medal to the Director of the Directorate on Corruption and Economic Crime, Mr. Tymon Motlhasedi Katlholo.

The medal was recently presented at a public ceremony in Benin, held at the country’s Office of the President.

In expressing his appreciation on receiving the award, Mr. Katlholo stated that:

“I am humbled and delighted by this unexpected honour, which I accept as a tribute to my country’s efforts to promote a culture of zero tolerance for corruption, and more especially to the dedication and good work of the men and women working with me in the Directorate.”

During his September 2007 Official visit to Botswana, President Boni had expressed a strong desire to the then President Festus Mogae that his country draw upon Botswana’s experience in fighting corruption as an area of bilateral cooperation.

Growing out of President Boni’s request, late last year the DCEC Director travelled to Benin to assist in the country’s anti-corruption drive as an external resource person. While there, the DCEC Director was hosted by the country’s principal anti-corruption organisation “Observatoire de Lutte Contre la Corruption” (“Observatory [Watchdog] for the Fight Against Corruption”), commonly known by its initials “OLC”.

Established in 2004, OLC’s mandate includes research and analysis on the nature of corruption, as well as carrying out investigations for the potential prosecution of corruption cases.

OLC efforts gained increased impetus following President Boni’s landslide 2006 election on a platform of public service reform. A recent report by the NGO Global Integrity has noted that:

“Since his inauguration on April 6, 2006, Boni has shown the Beninese people that he plans to follow through on his promises for widespread reform, not only holding past officials accountable, but also by stressing the importance of integrity within his own administration.”

It was in this context the DCEC Director travelled to Benin to conduct an intensive series of workshops and symposia with various stakeholders including civil servants, business leaders, trade unions and civil society organisations, as well as educators and students.

The visit also provided an opportunity for members of the OLC and other public institutions to directly engage with Mr. Katlholo on issues related to the implementation of Public Service and Institutional Reforms in Botswana, as well as the operations of the DCEC.

The Government of Botswana wishes to express it own delight at Mr. Katlholo’s award and the resounding success of the DCEC Director's mission to Benin.

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