The Directorate on Corruption and Economic crime (DCEC) has stumbled on their endeavour to investigate Permanent Secretary to the President (PSP) Carter Morupisi for possible corruption in relation to shady dealings at Capital Management Botswana (CMB).
At some point it has become public knowledge that Morupisi was on DCEC radar and that the corruption busting agency was investigating the PSP calling on the Secretary to cabinet to account for his multimillion pula properties that were said to be in Durban, South Africa. His wife Pinny Morupisi’s double van land cruiser was also confiscated during the shaking off by the DCEC but later released.
The came after the Botswana Public Officers Pension Fund (BPOPF) reported him (Morupisi) to DCEC for investigation following a resolution by the Board. Former Kgori Capital Managing Director Bakang Seretse had made a statement that Morupisi had beneficial interest in CMB, which was an Asset Management company to BPOPF where Morupisi was Chairman at the time.
However when contacted to make confirmation as to whether they have started investigating Morupisi which could later lead to his prosecution, DCEC denied investigating him while clearing him from the corruption busting agency radar. “I've consulted with the Director General (Operations) and there are no ongoing investigations on PSP Carter Morupisi,” the DCEC Spokesperson Phakamile Kraai told Weekend Post in a short e-mail communication this week.
However Kraai would not be drawn into other inquiries instead overlooking them in the response which included but not limited to whether or if DCEC has not started investigating Morupisi and if that could not be seen as a dent on the integrity of DCEC as it could be perceived to be not acting on eliminating corruption as the BPOPF reported the matter to them. The corruption busting mouthpiece also would not comment on whether that state of affairs would not make Batswana to lose confidence in DCEC as a toothless and ineffective oversight organisation.
In addition he did not attempt to react to whether the agency is not worried by talks doing rounds that DCEC is now used to settle political scores and is selective in that those close to power are seen to be not touched. Weekend Post has gathered that it was becoming evidently clear that the DCEC investigations against Morupisi were likely to reach a breakdown.
Reports indicate that four of the nine person task team tasked with Morupisi investigations resigned because they feared for their lives and that this followed an attempt on the life of the intelligence lead investigator and assassination plots against his colleagues by the shadow intelligence service allegedly working with some powerful DCEC insiders. According to newspaper reports, the task team has also withdrawn its informants from the operation because “the ground was getting too hot.”
When Weekend Post further solicited a comment from PSP Morupisi, he would not comment. “I have gone through your questionnaire and taken a decision not to comment on the matter,” he told this publication in a separate e-mail communication. Indications suggest that the BPOPF decision had alleged that the PSP may be having a beneficial interest through Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Okaile Rapula in CMB and that this may breed a potential conflict of interest.
It is understood that Okaile was Chairperson of BPOPF and Morupisi’s Executive assistant at the Directorate of Public Service Management (DPSM) before he joined CMB. Morupisi took over the BPOPF chair after Okaile stepped down join CMB. The BPOPF partnership with CMB was concluded under Morupisi’s watch as Chairperson.
BPOPF Chief Executive Officer, Boitumelo Molefhe has also levelled claims against Morupisi’s dubious relationship with CMB capital in a scathing letter previously to the Chairperson of the BPOPF Human Resources and Remuneration Committee Topias Marenga. It is understood that Molefhe then accused the PSP of colluding with CMB Capital in an endeavour to get her expelled from her position as the head of BPOPF Secretariat. She wrote in the letter: “I have been made aware of meetings between the Chairman (Morupisi) and CMB Capital officers in which my dismissal was discussed. Apparently the meetings emanate from concerns regarding the current investigations related to CMB Capital.”
Government is currently sitting on 4 400 vacant posts that remain unfilled in the civil service. This is notwithstanding the high unemployment rate in Botswana which has been exacerbated by the recent outbreak of the deadly COVID-19 pandemic.
Just before the burst of COVID-19, official data released by Statistics Botswana in January 2020, indicate that unemployment in Botswana has increased from 17.6 percent three years ago to 20.7 percent. “Unemployment rate went up by 3.1 percentage between the two periods, from 17.6 to 20.7 percent,” statistics point out.
Leading commercial bank, First National Bank Botswana (FNBB), expects the central bank to sharpen its monetary policy knife and cut the Bank Rate twice in the last quarter of 2020.
The bank expects a 25 basis point (bps) in the beginning of the last quarter, which is next month, and another shed by the same bps in December, making a total of 50 bps cut in the last quarter. According to the bank’s researchers, the central bank is now holding on to 4.25 percent for the time being pending for more informed data on the economic climate.
An audit of the accounts and records for the supply of food rations to the institutions in the Northern Region for the financial year-ended 31 March 2019 was carried out. According to Auditor General’s report and observations, there are weaknesses and shortcomings that were somehow addressed to the Accounting Officer for comments.
Auditor General, Pulane Letebele indicated on the report that, across all depots in the region that there had been instances where food items were short for periods ranging from 1 to 7 months in the institutions for a variety of reasons, including absence of regular contracts and supplier failures. The success of this programme is dependent on regular and reliable availability of the supplies to achieve its objective, the report said.
There would be instances where food items were returned from the feeding centers to the depots for reasons of spoilage or any other cause. In these cases, instances had been noted where these returns were not supported by any documentation, which could lead to these items being lost without trace.
The report further stressed that large quantities of various food items valued at over P772 thousand from different depots were damaged by rodents, and written off.Included in the write off were 13 538 (340ml) cartons of milk valued at P75 745. In this connection, the Auditor General says it is important that the warehouses be maintained to a standard where they would not be infested by rodents and other pests.
Still in the Northern region, the report noted that there is an outstanding matter relating to the supply of stewed steak (283×3.1kg cans) to the Maun depot which was allegedly defective. The steak had been supplied by Botswana Meat Commission to the depot in November 2016.
In March 2017 part of the consignment was reported to the supplier as defective, and was to be replaced. Even as there was no agreement reached between the parties regarding replacement, in 51 October 2018 the items in question were disposed of by destruction. This disposal represented a loss as the whole consignment had been paid for, according to the report.
“In my view, the loss resulted directly from failure by the depot managers to deal with the matter immediately upon receipt of the consignment and detection of the defects. Audit inspections during visits to Selibe Phikwe, Maun, Shakawe, Ghanzi and Francistown depots had raised a number of observations on points of detail related to the maintenance of records, reconciliations of stocks and related matters, which I drew to the attention of the Accounting Officer for comments,” Letebele said in her report.
In the Southern region, a scrutiny of the records for the control of stocks of food items in the Southern Region had indicated intermittent shortages of the various items, principally Tsabana, Malutu, Sunflower Oil and Milk which was mainly due to absence of subsisting contracts for the supply of these items.
“The contract for the supply of Tsabana to all depots expired in September 2018 and was not replaced by a substantive contract. The supplier contracts for these stocks should be so managed that the expiry of one contract is immediately followed by the commencement of the next.”
Suppliers who had been contracted to supply foodstuffs had failed to do so and no timely action had been taken to redress the situation to ensure continuity of supply of the food items, the report noted.
In one case, the report highlighted that the supplier was to manufacture and supply 1 136 metric tonnes of Malutu for a 4-months period from March 2019 to June 2019, but had been unable to honour the obligation. The situation was relieved by inter-depot transfers, at additional cost in transportation and subsistence expenses.
In another case, the contract was for the supply of Sunflower Oil to Mabutsane, where the supplier had also failed to deliver. Examination of the Molepolole depot Food Issues Register had indicated a number of instances where food items consigned to the various feeding centres had been returned for a variety of reasons, including food item available; no storage space; and in other cases the whole consignments were returned, and reasons not stated.
This is an indication of lack of proper management and monitoring of the affairs of the depot, which could result in losses from frequent movements of the food items concerned.The maintenance of accounting records in the region, typically in Letlhakeng, Tsabong, and Mabutsane was less than satisfactory, according to Auditor General’s report.
In these depots a number of instances had been noted where receipts and issues had not been recorded over long periods, resulting in incorrect balances reflected in the accounting records. This is a serious weakness which could lead to or result in losses without trace or detection, and is a contravention of Supplies Regulations and Procedures, Letebele said.
Similarly, consignments of a total of 892 bags of Malutu and 3 bags of beans from Tsabong depot to different feeding centres had not been received in those centres, and are considered lost. These are also not reflected in the Statement of Losses in the Annual Statements of Accounts for the same periods.