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MPs probe BNSC’s role in BOT50 millions

Parliamentary Committee on Statutory Bodies and Enterprises has launched a probe on the controversial involvement of Botswana National Sport Commission (BNSC) in the awarding of BOT50 celebrations tenders in the run up to recent Independence Day celebrations.


The parliamentary committee this week wanted to establish the exact role of the BNSC in the ended controversy prone BOT50 celebrations. According to information presented before the committee by BSNC Chief Executive Officer (CEO), Falcon Sedimo, BNSC was directed to pay companies contracted to BOT50 by Ministry of Youth Empowerment, Sports and Culture Development (MYESCD).


Sedimo informed the committee that BNSC was not involved in most of the decisions with regards to awarding of tenders, but the process was carried out at the MYESCD, which time and again instructed the BNSC to pay to the chosen companies. Of the P16 million which BNSC handled on behalf of the BOT50 committee, P14 million was paid to Red Pepper, an amount which later raised eyebrows.  The remaining P2 million was paid to different companies for different services offered to the organising committee in the run up to the celebrations.


The committee learnt that contrary to what had been said before, the awarding of the P14 million was not a process under the auspices of BNSC, but BNSC was only instructed to pay such amount by the BOT50 committee which had carried the process and arrived at the decision itself. Earlier this year, BOT50 Coordinator, Charity Kgotlafela, told Public Accounts Committee (PAC) that BNSC was engaged as procurement agent. The revelations raised discontent given the fact the BNSC Chairperson, Solly Reikeletseng, was also the board member of the BOT50 Committee.


The Chairman of the parliamentary committee, Samson Guma, questioned the involvement of BNSC in the handling of BOT50 funds, noting that it is weird that BOT50 engaged BSNC on the role of only disbursing the funds for a procurement process which was carried out by the BOT50 itself. “Why did the BOT50 not pay the money itself?” he questioned. Guma said the BNSC could have been made to disburse funds to companies which were awarded tenders without following due process.

He said there is a need to find out if the tenders were awarded in a proper manner and evidence shall be presented before the committee showing indeed that there were proper tendering processes or not. Guma also questioned the integrity of the BNSC in handling procurement matters because it has always been a candidate for following procurement matters within its own affairs. The internal report has highlighted that BNSC had not followed procurement processes in awarding of tenders to organisations.


According to BNSC procedures, tenders with a value of less than P200 000 does not have to go through the normal tendering process. The requirement is that the procurement committee or department should just get a minimum of three quotations to choose the service provider from. The parliamentary committee fears that this process could have been abused in the awarding of the BOT50 funds to different service providers.


The committee heard that the ministry now owes BNSC over P2 million after the latter was instructed to pay certain service providers from its own coffers during the preparations for the BOT50 celebrations. The ministry had promised to reimburse the BNSC afterwards, but the organisation is yet to receive the money.


Member of the committee, Lelatisitswe Sethomo, questioned how the BNSC ended up handling the funds for the purpose of disbursing it to tender winners, given the verity that it is not within its mandate. Sethomo is of the view that, BNSC as a legal entity established by the Act of parliament which governs it should not have taken the responsibility for disbursing funds. He expressed that the BNSC secretariat should take instruction from its board and not anywhere else.


Guma articulated the need to put to bed the saga involving the P14 million Red Pepper tender. He said doing so is necessary to establish the truth and let the public know about it. He instructed the BNSC to go back and provide proper documentation detailing how tenders were awarded.
The BOT50 office was caught in controversy prior to the Independence celebrations, with reports of maladministration, corruption and conflict of interest rampant within the committee. Parliament was a few weeks ago informed that BOT50 exceeded its budget by P13 million. Botswana celebrated 50 years of independence from Great Britain in September 30th.

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Over 2 000 civil servants interdicted

6th December 2022

Over 2,000 civil servants in the public sector have been interdicted for a variety of reasons, the majority of which are criminal in nature.

According to reports, some officers have been under interdiction for more than two years because such matters are still being investigated. Information reaching WeekendPost shows that local government, particularly councils, has the highest number of suspended officers.

In its annual report, the Directorate on Corruption and Economic Crime (DCEC) revealed that councils lead in corrupt activities throughout the country, and dozens of council employees are being investigated for alleged corrupt activities. It is also reported that disciplined forces, including the Botswana Defence Force (BDF), police, and prisons, and the Directorate of Intelligence and Security (DIS) have suspended a significant number of officers.

The Ministry of Education and Skills Development has also recorded a good number of teachers who have implicated in love relationships with students, while some are accused of impregnating students both in primary and secondary school. Regional education officers have been tasked to investigate such matters and are believed to be far from completion as some students are dragging their feet in assisting the investigations to be completed.

This year, Mmadinare Senior Secondary reportedly had the highest number of pregnancies, especially among form five students who were later forcibly expelled from school. Responding to this publication’s queries, Permanent Secretary to the Office of the President Emma Peloetletse said, “as you might be aware, I am currently addressing public servants across the length and breadth of our beautiful republic. Due to your detailed enquiry, I am not able to respond within your schedule,” she said.

She said some of the issues raised need verification of facts, some are still under investigation while some are still before the courts of law.

Meanwhile, it is close to six months since the Police Commissioner Keabetwe Makgophe, Director General of the Directorate on Corruption and Economic Crime (DCEC) Tymon Katlholo and the Deputy Director of the DIS Tefo Kgothane were suspended from their official duties on various charges.

Efforts to solicit comment from trade unions were futile at the time of going to press.

Some suspended officers who opted for anonymity claimed that they have close to two years while on suspension. One stated that the investigations that led him to be suspended have not been completed.

“It is heartbreaking that at this time the investigations have not been completed,” he told WeekendPost, adding that “when a person is suspended, they get their salary fully without fail until the matter is resolved”.

Makgophe, Katlholo and Kgothane are the three most high-ranking government officials that are under interdiction.

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Masisi to dump Tsogwane?

28th November 2022

Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) and some senior government officials are abuzz with reports that President Mokgweetsi Masisi has requested his Vice President, Slumber Tsogwane not to contest the next general elections in 2024.

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African DFIs gear to combat climate change

25th November 2022

The impacts of climate change are increasing in frequency and intensity every year and this is forecast to continue for the foreseeable future. African CEOs in the Global South are finally coming to the party on how to tackle the crisis.

Following the completion of COP27 in Egypt recently, CEOs of Africa DFIs converged in Botswana for the CEO Forum of the Association of African Development Finance Institutions. One of the key themes was on green financing and building partnerships for resource mobilization in financing SDGs in Africa

A report; “Weathering the storm; African Development Banks response to Covid-19” presented shocking findings during the seminar. Among them; African DFI’s have proven to be financially resilient, and they are fast shifting to a green transition and it’s financing.

COO, CEDA, James Moribame highlighted that; “Everyone needs food, shelter and all basic needs in general, but climate change is putting the achievement of this at bay. “It is expensive for businesses to do business, for instance; it is much challenging for the agricultural sector due to climate change, and the risks have gone up. If a famer plants crops, they should be ready for any potential natural disaster which will cost them their hard work.”

According to Moribame, Start-up businesses will forever require help if there is no change.

“There is no doubt that the Russia- Ukraine war disrupted supply chains. SMMEs have felt the most impact as some start-up businesses acquire their materials internationally, therefore as inflation peaks, this means the exchange rate rises which makes commodities expensive and challenging for SMMEs to progress. Basically, the cost of doing business has gone up. Governments are no longer able to support DFI’s.”

Moribame shared remedies to the situation, noting that; “What we need is leadership that will be able to address this. CEOs should ensure companies operate within a framework of responsible lending. They also ought to scout for opportunities that would be attractive to investors, this include investors who are willing to put money into green financing. Botswana is a prime spot for green financing due to the great opportunity that lies in solar projects. ”

Technology has been hailed as the economy of the future and thus needs to be embraced to drive operational efficiency both internally and externally.

Executive Director, bank of Industry Nigeria, Simon Aranou mentioned that for investors to pump money to climate financing in Africa, African states need to be in alignment with global standards.

“Do what meets world standards if you want money from international investors. Have a strong risk management system. Also be a good borrower, if you have a loan, honour the obligation of paying it back because this will ensure countries have a clean financial record which will then pave way for easier lending of money in the future. African states cannot just be demanding for mitigation from rich countries. Financing needs infrastructure to complement it, you cannot be seating on billions of dollars without the necessary support systems to make it work for you. Domestic resource mobilisation is key. Use public money to mobilise private money.” He said.

For his part, the Minster of Minister of Entrepreneurship, Karabo Gare enunciated that, over the past three years, governments across the world have had to readjust their priorities as the world dealt with the effects and impact of the COVID 19 pandemic both to human life and economic prosperity.

“The role of DFIs, during this tough period, which is to support governments through countercyclical measures, including funding of COVID-19 related development projects, has become more important than ever before. However, with the increasingly limited resources from governments, DFIs are now expected to mobilise resources to meet the fiscal gaps and continue to meet their developmental mandates across the various affected sectors of their economies.” Said Gare.

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