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Seretse probe on Platjan Bridge complete

The Minister of Investment, Trade and Industry Vincent Seretse is said to have cleared the Platjan bridge project of any malpractices following ìan intensive investigationî by his Ministry. Allegations of embezzlement surfaced at the project and it was swiftly moved from the Selibe Phikwe Economic Diversification Unit (SPEDU) back to Seretseís Ministry.


SPEDU Board members had tussled over the entire processes from conception of the bridge project to the actual awarding of the tender. At the time SPEDU was injecting some pace into its implementation strategy and sought to develop a bridge in the estimation of close to P200 million in the Bobirwa area. The project is envisaged to excite the tourism sector in the area with over a billion Pula generation annually when fully operational.


The Platjan Bridge construction is likely to attract interests from a lot of companies and SPEDU is said to be guarded on the modus operandi. SPEDU had advertised for a company that could help them set up ITTs for the tender for construction as well as the recruitment of a resident engineer to oversee the project. RSS Engineering Pty Ltd was given the job and has now advertised to invite companies for the construction of the Platjan Bridge. But as soon as suspicions around transactions related to the project arose the Ministry of Trade reclaimed the project to be under its direct supervision.


The SPEDU Board was divided at the time with some supporting the decision to relocate the project to the Ministry while some were of the view that the move was going to delay the implementation of the project. There was blood on the board room floor as some board members were nearly fired for their support of the Ministryís decision. Some board members had suspected that the price of the bridge construction and its actual award were inflated and wanted those to be ascertained.


In June last year, Puna Molebatsi, the then Communications manager at SPEDU confirmed the developments and stated that they have engaged RSS as consultants who will help with the drafting of ITTs and tender evaluations. She said all the companies that have been engaged are 100 percent citizen owned. ìBy recruiting a resident engineer we intend to tackle the problem of capacity at SPEDU, but still that person will work with a well-resourced and experienced consulting company,î she said at the time. This was before the Ministry reclaimed the project.


The fracas over the Platjan bridge started after some board members questioned why a project that was budgeted for P85 million was awarded to a company that had quoted P130 million whereas there were suitable companies that had put up an P89 million bid and a P110 million bid. At the time of redirecting the project back to the Ministry this quandary was not yet settled and it remains to be seen of Seretseís investigation was satisfied with the process through which the award was given to the highest bidder.


The Platjan Bridge seen as strategic for tourists to access the region and they are still profiling the tourist attractions in the area. The project is a priority area and P100 million has been reserved for its implementation by SPEDU. The hope is that more jobs will be created as the bridge is expected to unlock several opportunities in the area. Business people and farmers in the area have started striking partnerships with South African based investors and it is expected that the Platjan Bridge will ease movement between the two countries in the Bobirwa region.  


SPEDU PROJECTS


SPEDU is carrying out major projects like Motloutse farm electrification, horticultural processing plant, Platjan Bridge construction, mine museum, among other projects. SPEDU was funded by the European Unionís Re-Employment Account that is administered by the Ministry of Finance and Development Planning. SPEDU has about P600 million in the account and one point the funds were a hot potato as some within the structures of SPEDU were adamant that the organisation was failing to add value to the money. But with a steady action plan towards implementing some of the projects, the argument of lost value could fade off.

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BDP decides Balopi’s fate

22nd November 2021
Balopi

The Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) Central Committee (CC) meeting, chaired by President Dr Mokgweetsi Masisi late last month, resolved that the party’s next Secretary-General (SG) should be a full-time employee based at Tsholetsa House and not active in politics.

The resolution by the CC, which Masisi proposed, is viewed as a ploy to deflate the incumbent, Mpho Balopi’s political ambitions and send him into political obscurity. The two have not been on good terms since the 2019 elections, and the fallout has been widening despite attempts to reconcile them. In essence, the BDP says that Balopi, who is currently a Member of Parliament, Minister of Employment, Labour Productivity and Skills Development, and a businessman, is overwhelmed by the role.

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BDF-Namibians shootings autopsy report revealed

22nd November 2021
BDF

The Botswana Defence Force (BDF)-Namibians fatal shooting tragedy Inquest has revealed through autopsy report that the BDF carried over 800 bullets for the mission, 32 of which were discharged towards the targets, and 19 of which hit the targets.

This would mean that 13 bullets missed the targets-in what would be a 60 percent precision rate for the BDF operation target shooting. The Autopsy report shows that Martin Nchindo was shot with five (4) bullets, Ernst Nchindo five (5) bullets, Tommy Nchindo five (5) bullets and Sinvula Munyeme five (5) bullets. From the seven (7) BDF soldiers that left the BDF camp in two boats, four (4) fired the shots that killed the Namibians.

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Gov’t confused over Moitoi’s UN job application

22nd November 2021
VENSON MOITOI

The former Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, Pelonomi Venson-Moitoi’s decision to apply for the positions of United Nations Special Representative of the Secretary-General (SRSG) and their deputies (DSRSG), has left the government confused over whether to lend her support or not, WeekendPost has established.

Moitoi’s application follows the Secretary-General’s launch of the third edition of the Global Call for Heads and Deputy Heads of United Nations Field Missions, which aims to expand the pool of candidates for the positions of SRSG) and their deputies to advance gender parity and geographical diversity at the most senior leadership level in the field. These mission leadership positions are graded at the Under-Secretary-General and Assistant Secretary-General levels.

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