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DCEC probes awarding of P4 million Youth Fund

The Directorate on Corruption and Economic Crime (DCEC) has launched an investigation into the awarding of P4 million worth of projects approved by the Youth Development Fund (YDF) in Maun constituencies following allegations of rampant corruption in the awarding process.

According to a reliable source, the DCEC instigated the investigations following an alert by the Ministry of Youth, Sports and Culture that the youth offices in Maun had gone beyond the usual practice in approval of projects for the youth programme. MYSC’s Permanent Secretary, Kago Ramokate is said to have halted the funding of projects following emergence of reports relating to malpractice and un-procedural approval of business proposals in the Maun YDF offices.

According to one of the applicants, whose proposal got the nod, the application process closed in July 2015, and the successful proposals were approved in February this year.  However, it emerged that those who presided over the approval of projects had allegedly erred by approving proposals worth more than the P4 million available budget.

The said constituencies consist of Maun West and Maun East, and are awarded P2 million each every financial year to fund viable youth projects. 

This publication is also informed that, consequent to the malpractice, the funding was delayed because the YDF did not have sufficient money to fund the approved projects.

Ramokate ordered for a probing, with preliminary findings revealing that various malpractices and corrupt activities happened. These include; overfunding of projects which would ordinarily have been funded with less money, funding of ghost companies, and funding of undeserving projects owned by relatives.

Despite MYSC having promised to disburse funds for the projects which were successful and deserved funding, applicants are being moved from pillar to post, with no signs of progress in the matter.

“On the 21st of July this year, the Ministry promised that the assessment will be done by the 31st of August and then the funds will be disbursed to beneficiaries,” said the source.

“But on 1st of September, we were informed that someone will be sent to do the auditing, and that our funds will only be available after the process which is about to begin is completed.”

The development further means that, the funding of projects for the current financial year will also not go through, putting another P4 million worth of projects in abeyance. 

The delay in the matter has lead to the applicants writing a letter, to the Minister of Youth, Sports and Culture, Thapelo Olopeng requesting his audience. The action is likely to delay funding of youth projects at least for two financial years, totalling P8 million.

Olopeng has reportedly declined to meet the concerned youth but instead referred them to the PS, Ramokate who had been handling the issue.

The affected group since resolved to seek the intervention of Office of the President after losing patience with Olopeng over the possibility of him resolving the matter. The youth wants President Lt Gen Ian Khama to hasten the process, and direct for those who were deservedly approved to be given their funds.

The source has revealed to this publication that the desperation from applicants is brought by the fact that they have, prior to applying and getting approval for youth fund, entered into several agreements with various players for services such as office rentals, banks and other suppliers.

“Further delay may affect the viability of some projects; property owners may lease the office to somebody else, and some applicants are already paying for rentals even before their projects commence just to secure the office,” said the source.

The source further suggested that the whole process had been marred by deceit and corruption which has brought desperation on other applicants who were successfully approved.

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Free at last: Ian Kirby Speaks Out

6th December 2021
Justice Ian Kirby

The outgoing President of the Court of Appeal, Justice Ian Kirby, shares his thoughts with us as he leaves the Bench at the end of this year.

WeekendPost: Why did you move between the Attorney General and the Bench?

Ian Kirby: I was a member of the Attorney General’s Chambers three times- first in 1969 as Assistant State Counsel, then in 1990 as Deputy Attorney General (Civil), and finally in 2004 as Attorney General. I was invited in 2000 by the late Chief Justice Julian Nganunu to join the Bench. I was persuaded by former President Festus Mogae to be his Attorney General in 2004 as, he said, it was my duty to do so to serve the nation. I returned to the Judiciary as soon as I could – in May 2006, when there was a vacancy on the High Court Bench.

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Civil society could rescue Botswana’s flawed democracy’ 

6th December 2021
Parliament

Botswana’s civil society is one of the non-state actors that could save the country’s democracy from sliding into regression, a Germany based think tank has revealed.  This is according to a discussion paper by researchers at the German Development Institute who analysed the effects of e-government usage on political attitudes In Botswana.

In the paper titled “E-government and democracy in Botswana: Observational and experimental evidence on the effects of e-government usage on political attitudes,” the researchers offer a strongly worded commentary on Botswana’s ‘flawed democracy.’  The authors noted that with Botswana’s Parliament structurally – and in practice – feeble, the potential for checks and balances on executive power rests with the judiciary.

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Bangwato at loggerheads over Moshupa trip

6th December 2021

Bangwato in Serowe — where Bamagwato Paramount Chief and former President Lt. Gen Ian Khama originates – disagree on whether they must send a delegation to dialogue with President Mokgweetsi Masisi’s family in Moshupa. Just last week, a meeting was called by the Regent of Bamagwato, Kgosi Sediegeng Kgamane, at Serowe Kgotla to, among others, update the tribe on the whereabouts of their Kgosi (Khama). 

Further, his state of health was also discussed, with Kgamane telling the attendees that all is well with Khama. The main reason for the meeting was to deliberate on the escalating tension between Khama and Masisi — a three-year bloodletting going unabated.

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