Those who have dealt with her will tell you that she is not a pushover.
Rose Seretse the woman at the helm of the Directorate On Corruption and Economic Crime has dragged bigwigs including Cabinet Ministers to court in her fight against corruption and won.
Voice Reporter Daniel Kenosi got closer to the DCEC Boss to find out what gives her the brave heart to do her job with such passion.
Q. It’s an honour to have finally met you.
Please briefly introduce yourself to our readers
My name is Rose Nunu Seretse. I am the Director of the Directorate On Corruption and Economic Crime. I come from Serowe. I am married and have three children.
Q. Please take us into history. Where did your career journey begin?
Ok!! I did my primary school at Swaneng School in Serowe, I then proceeded to Swaneng Hill School and did my secondary education there.
I went to the United States of America to do my Bachelors Degree in construction engineering and management.
I came back and worked for Local Authorities.
I started working with Kgatleng District Council as a technical officer.
I also had time with the private sector.
I used to do supervision for Government construction projects mostly.
Q. It all sounds like you had nothing to do with corruption. How did you end up here?
It’s very much related because when I left the Local Authorities to join DCEC I was basically tasked with looking at corruption in the construction industry.
I had to come up with strategies of curbing corruption in the industry.
Q. Would you say corruption within the construction industry is a challenge in our country?
It is a big challenge as it is with other sectors of the economy.
It is however greater because construction industry is more procurement related particularly in the tendering field, both pre-construction and post construction.
Corruption can always find its way and be rooted.
Q. How easy is it that you are now fighting corruption in all sectors?
It’s quite interesting but at the same time challenging because there is a lot of expectations from members of the public and then there is generally lack of understating as to what corruption is and what It is not.
People expect us to investigate issues that have nothing to do with the mandate of the DCEC.
For example some spouses expect us to go in to their partners bank accounts on suspicions that they are dating elsewhere and because we have the mandate to scrutinize people’s accounts they then think we can even do it at a personal level, which we cannot.
The moment you say you cannot help in the regard, you are labeled as the most hopeless organization ever.
Q. Oh!! So what’s the real mandate of the DCEC?
Our mandate is to fight corruption and economic crime using a three way strategy of investigation, public education and corruption prevention.
I want to emphasise the fact that it has to be an allegation that is related or is in line with economic and corruption Act because anything that is outside that Act we cannot do.
We also investigate money laundering and people should understand that we only do what is within the confines of the law.
Q. It’s a tough job I see. So who is your deputy?
I have…….. mmmmm!! Three deputies.
One is in charge of corruption prevention and public education the other one is in charge of investigations and legal services and the last one is in charge of training and development issues.
Q. What happened to your immediate foreign deputy director who was quoted in the media stating that he was leaving under threats for investigating senior Government officials?
(Laughs)……He is still around but no longer a Deputy Director but a technical advisor.
I don’t know where that purported threat came from because as far I was not aware of it.
Q. So he was just making stories out of nowhere?
Well. I can say culturally we look at things differently.
What a foreigner may consider a threat cannot be a threat for Motswana.
Q. Who investigates DCEC?
We work very closely with other law enforcement agencies. We work closely with DIS and many others.
If there are matters here that involve unethical behaviour about our officers we sometimes refer those matters to the law enforcement officers.
Similarly we have a professional standard unit with DCEC which investigates unbecoming behaviours of our officers if any.
So it’s a check and balance that we have put in place.
Q. Talking about DIS, Why is that you don’t investigate the organization?
That’s not true. We investigate all organizations and everyone and anybody.
Q. How come it appears senior Government officials are never convicted after you have charged them.
The likes of Minister Matambo, Ndelu and Nchindo walked free. Don’t you ever get frustrated over such?
We don’t classify cases as high profile or low.
All cases are treated as equal as long as it alleges corruption and secondly I don’t spend sleepless nights when I know that I have done my job and done it very well.
I then pass it on to the next person for them to do their part, as long as I have strong conviction that I have done my job and done it very well.
What happens at the end of the day in other institutions is not for me to worry about because I would be sure that I have done my job very well.
Q. I take it that it’s supposed to be a relay between you and other institutions like the Courts.
Doesn’t it frustrate you when you have done your job well and then they take it easy?
I wouldn’t say any other part is reluctant.
What I can say is that there are so many factors that come into play and no one would say so and so didn’t do their job.
There are so many players that decide on the case and you know most cases are decided on technicalities.
And all has to be respected.
Q. What’s your take on your move from Defence Ministry to Office of the President?
I don’t see any problem with that because we suite in all ministries.
Q. If you were to be given powers to run the Ministry of Defence in a day.
What would you change?
I don’t think I would change anything because I feel all is going well.
Q. Which Ministry is most corrupt?
Eish!! Kenosi…….you want them to kill me.
They will be very angry if they know that I said they are the most corrupt.
However we have not yet updated our statistics and in 2011,but Local Government was most corrupt because of the nature of work that the ministry does makes it vulnerable to corruption.
Having said that I must say I am glad that most ministries are responding well to a call to reduce corruption.
Q. Now that you are under the office of the President. How far does Khama go in interfering with your job since you report directly to his office?
The president doesn’t interfere with our job at all.
What people should understand is that we are part of Government and we get a budget from Government.
We only report administration matters to him but when it comes to cases he does not interfere.
Q. There was time that Weaki-leaks reported that Khama attempted to stop you from investigating his brother.
How far did he go with his attempts?
That is absolutely rubbish.
There is just no way he can interfere with investigation irrespective of who we are investigating.
Q. So you have more powers than constitutional powers that Khama has?
There are structures in place within DCEC and it’s almost a non issue that anyone can interfere.
I also have cases that involve my very close relatives but I don’t have any powers to interfere as the Director.
Q. Talking about very close relatives.
How are you related to Minister Ramadeluka Seretse?
I come from the Mathware family.
If there is anyone who is related to Ndelu that would be my husband.
I am Seretse by virtue of being married in their family.
Q. What’s your take on declaration of assets by Government officials?
I think they should all declare their assets upon getting into public office and not only Ministers but all public officers in general.
We are all entrusted with a position of power and we are accountable to the nation at large and we are employed by members of the public.
We don’t want any public officers to take advantage of their positions and act corruptly.
Q. So you think lack of declaration of assets contributes to corruption?
Yes!! It contributes in a broader way and that is why I would want all public servants to declare their assets so that it becomes clear what they won.
Q. How far with the establishment of the corruption court?
It’s very close and the judge has already been appointed and before the end of 2013 it will be operating
Q. Do you think the court will be effective though and what difference will it bring?
I think it will because its focus will be only on corruption and much attention will be paid to the corruption issues.
Q. Do you think corruption level is escalating or going down in Botswana?
Relatively compared to other countries it’s very low but within our country its escalating.
We have however increased our detection rate and we also investigate more. We no longer wait for the public to report.
Q. How safe are you?
I am not really safe but I must say my God keeps me protected.
I have received threats from people we are investigating, some through phone calls and some through text messages but God keeps me going stronger.
Q. Your last words before we rush into the weekend?
I believe people should focus on God and that is what keeps me going through this tough job.
Q. We really thank the same God that it’s Friday.
What plans do you have for this weekend?
I am leaving the country so I won’t be around this weekend.
I am spending my time out.
Q. We appreciate your time.
You are welcome and have a great weekend