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.
Minister of Presidential Affairs, Governance and Public Administration, Kabo Morwaeng together with Permanent Secretary to the President (PSP) Elias Magosi, this week refused to name and shame the worst performing Ministries and to disclose the best performing Ministries since beginning of 12th parliament including the main reasons for underperformance.
Of late there have been a litany of complaints from both ends of the aisle with cabinet members accused of providing parliament with unsatisfactory responses to the questions posed. In fact for some Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) backbenchers a meeting with the ministers and party leadership is overdue to address their complaints. Jwaneng-Mabutsane MP, Mephato Reatile is also not happy with ministers’ performance.
Bokamoso Private Hospital is battling a P10 million legal suit for a botched fibroids operation which resulted in a woman losing an entire womb and her prospects of bearing children left at zero.
The same suit has also befallen the Attorney General of Botswana who is representing the Ministry of Health and Wellness for their contributory negligence of having the unlawful removal of a patient, Goitsemang Magetse’s womb.
According to the court papers, Magetse says that sometimes in November 2019, she was diagnosed with fibroids at Marina Hospital where upon she was referred to Bokamoso Private Hospital to schedule an appointment for an operation to remove the fibroids, which she did.
Magetse continues that at the instance of one Dr Li Wang, the surgeon who performed the operation, and unknown to her, an operation to remove her whole womb was conducted instead. According to Magetse, it was only through a Marina Hospital regular check-up that she got to learn that her whole womb has been removed.
“At the while she was under the belief that only her fibroids have been removed. By doing so, the hospital has subjected itself to some serious delictual liability in that it performed a serious and life changing operation on patient who was under the belief that she was doing a completely different operation altogether. It thus came as a shock when our client learnt that her womb had been removed, without her consent,” said Magetse’s legal representatives, Kanjabanga and Associates in their summons.
The letter further says, “this is an infringement of our client‘s rights and this infringement has dire consequences on her to the extent that she can never bear children again”. ‘It is our instruction therefore, to claim as we hereby do, damages in the sum of BWP 10,000,000 (ten million Pula) for unlawful removal of client’s womb,” reads Kanjabanga Attorneys’ papers. The defendants are yet to respond to the plaintiff’s papers.
What are fibroids?
Fibroids are tumors made of smooth muscle cells and fibrous connective tissue. They develop in the uterus. It is estimated that 70 to 80 percent of women will develop fibroids in their lifetime — however, not everyone will develop symptoms or require treatment.
The most important characteristic of fibroids is that they’re almost always benign, or noncancerous. That said, some fibroids begin as cancer — but benign fibroids can’t become cancer. Cancerous fibroids are very rare. Because of this fact, it’s reasonable for women without symptoms to opt for observation rather than treatment.
Studies show that fibroids grow at different rates, even when a woman has more than one. They can range from the size of a pea to (occasionally) the size of a watermelon. Even if fibroids grow that large, we offer timely and effective treatment to provide relief.
The Alliance for Progressives (AP) President Ndaba Gaolathe has said that despite major accolades that Botswana continues to receive internationally with regard to the state of economy, the prospects for the future are imperilled.
Delivering his party Annual Policy Statement on Thursday, Gaolathe indicated that Botswana is in a state of do or die, and that the country’s economy is on a sick bed. With a major concern for poverty, Gaolathe pointed out that almost half of Botswana’s people are ravaged by or are about to sink into poverty. “Our young people have lost the fire to dream about what they could become,” he said.