Botswana editorial team held for questioning over story

2015-05-07 12:20
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Gaborone - Three editorial members of The Botswana Gazette in Gaborone are being held for questioning at the Directorate on Corruption and Economic Crime (DCEC) headquarters in Gaborone, the paper's editor told News24 on Thursday.

"They haven't yet formally told us what they have arrested us for. We are waiting right now to get an update about why we are here," the paper's editor Lawrence Seretse said.

He said officials from the DCEC had arrested him, managing editor Shike Olsen and reporter Innocent Selatlhwa just after 09:00 at the publication's premises on Thursday morning.

Seretse was the only one whose cellphone was not taken during the arrest.

"As we speak we have been taken into the interrogation room... They have kept us here and we are waiting for them."

The paper had published an investigative story on its Tuesday/Wednesday edition titled "DCEC foils Chitube, Reatile and Moumakwa's alleged P150 million oil deals".

Oils, diamonds

The article is about Zambian businessman Jerry Chitube who was deported back to his home country by Botswana earlier this year, Seretse said.

"The story was exposing his connection with the ruling party's intelligence system and their business deals in the oil and diamonds industry along with other South African businessmen."

Seretse said after the story was published, DCEC officials arrived at the paper's offices in Gaborone on Wednesday morning demanding all the computers used during the writing and publishing of the story.

"We denied them access after being advised by our lawyers because the warrant they had was not clear [about what we had done wrong] and it was contradictory.

"They eventually came back with an arrest warrant for our reporter, Innocent."

Seretse said after some time the officials agreed to let Selatlhwa go but sealed the office, preventing the staff from entering the building for the rest of the night.

"We still denied them access this morning again and then they decided to take us in."

Read more on:    botswana  |  media  |  southern africa

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