The minister of Mineral Resources, Green Technology and Energy Security Eric Molale was on Friday grilled by Members of Parliament over the BCL liquidation following his revelation that the liquidator Nigel Dixon-Warren was defying him.
The Minister further told Parliament that relations between him and the BCL liquidator have broken down irretrievably. Molale said he has engaged lawyers at the Attorney General’s Chambers and has initiated a process to have Nigel Dixon-Warren’s services as a liquidator terminated. Dixon-Warren was appointed liquidator for BCL in 2016 by the Registrar and Master of High Court.
The fallout between the government and the liquidator follows months of simmering tensions, and the last straw that broke the camel’s back came after a meeting held on Wednesday between Molale, Dixon-Warren and the Registrar. Prior to the meeting, Molale last week Thursday told parliament that he had stopped the liquidator from firing half of the remaining staff tasked with the care and maintenance of BCL mines. Two days after Molale’s pronouncement, the liquidator told a South African based newspaper that he will be retrenching staff due to cash shortages. In the wide ranging interview, he said the Botswana government is refusing to inject more money in the liquidation process.
Giving an update on his meeting, Molale said the Registrar had told Dixon-Warren not to retrench any staff, but the liquidator went ahead and retrenched some of the workers, going against the instruction of Molale. Dixon-Warren’s actions have angered Molale, and he now wants the liquidator removed, and said no more money will be injected in the mine until they have solved the issues with the liquidator. Government is assessing the consequences of the decisions, but most Members of Parliament who spoke support the decision to terminate the liquidator’s services.
The government has spent over P1.1 billion towards BCL since its closure, with a larger proportion of the funds paying former employees’ benefits, and the rest towards the care and maintenance of the mines. The liquidator has so far pocketed over P42.3 million in over twenty months, averaging P2.2 million monthly in fees.
However Molale told Parliament that there is over P215 million available to ensure that the BCL liquidation process continues, “the money is there, I can categorically state”. Molale said the care and maintenance staff at the mine must be retained to ensure that the mine does not pose a threat to the environment and residents.
Selibe Phikwe West Member of Parliament, Dithapelo Keorapetse informed the Minister that he is in possession of letters terminating the employment of some of the care and maintenance staff members. He reminded the minister that he was given the assurance that none of the employees will be terminated. On the other hand Molale assured Keorapetse that mop one will be retrenched or terminated despite the liquidator defying his instructions.
Botswana Police Service (BPS) has indicated concern about the ongoing trend where the general public falls victim to criminals purporting to be police officers.
According to BPS Assistant Commissioner, Dipheko Motube, the criminals target individuals at shopping malls and Automated Teller Machines (ATMs) where upon approaching the unsuspecting individual the criminals would pretend to have picked a substantial amount of money and they would make a proposal to the victims that the money is counted and shared in an isolated place.
“On the way, as they stop at the isolated place, they would start to count and sharing of the money, a criminal syndicate claiming to be Criminal Investigation Department (CID) officer investigating a case of stolen money will approach them,” said Motube in a statement.
The Commissioner indicated that the fake police officers would instruct the victims to hand over all the cash they have in their possession, including bank cards and Personal Identification Number (PIN), the perpetrators would then proceed to withdraw money from the victim’s bank account.
Motube also revealed that they are also investigating a case in which a 69 year old Motswana woman from Molepolole- who is a victim of the scam- lost over P62 000 last week Friday to the said perpetrators.
“The Criminal syndicate introduced themselves as CID officers investigating a case of robbery where a man accompanying the woman was the suspect.’’
They subsequently went to the woman’s place and took cash amounting to over P12 000 and further swindled amount of P50 000 from the woman’s bank account under the pretext of the further investigations.
In addition, Motube said they are currently investigating the matter and therefore warned the public to be vigilant of such characters and further reminds the public that no police officer would ask for bank cards and PINs during the investigations.
Botswana Congress Party (BCP) leadership walked out of Umbrella for Democratic Change (UDC) National Executive Committee (NEC) meeting this week on account of being targeted by other cooperating partners.
UDC meet for the first time since 2020 after previous futile attempts, but the meeting turned into a circus after other members of the executive pushed for BCP to explain its role in media statements that disparate either UDC and/or contracting parties.
The Director General of the Directorate on Corruption and Economic Crimes (DCEC), Tymon Katlholo’s spirited fight against the contentious transfers of his management team has forced the Office of the President to rescind the controversial decision. However, some insiders suggest that the reversal of the transfers may have left some interested parties with bruised egos and nursing red wounds.
The transfers were seen by observers as a badly calculated move to emasculate the DCEC which is seen as defiant against certain objectionable objectives by certain law enforcement agencies – who are proven decisionists with very little regard for the law and principle.