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.
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.