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Bangwaketse vow to report Bathoen II Trust to DCEC

Some concerned members of Bathoen II Dam Nature Sanctuary Management Trust, which was motivated by the late visionary Kgosi Bathoen Gaseitsiwe II of Bangwaketse, have vowed to report the incumbent Trust board members for financial misappropriation and potential corruption at the Directorate on Corruption and Economic Crime (DCEC).

WeekendPost previously, ran a story in February detailing a damning audit report. The report suggested the Trust books from 2011 to 2014 were being investigated. The classified report revealed “loopholes” in the running of affairs of the Trust.  It discovered missing receipts and duplicate receipt books as well as inactive accounts of the Trust which were never closed and suspicious financial practices.

 “This is a serious matter that needs attention and redress. We will approach the DCEC to assist investigate potential corruption and maladministration practices on the matter with regard to the Trust,” chairman of the Bangwaketse concerned members of the Trust, David Radikokwana Maswabi told a press conference this week at the late Bathoen’s residence located in the vicinity of the kgotlakgolo.

Maswabi continued: “I tell you that we are going there at the DCEC to report the incumbent Trust (board members). I just want to make it abundantly clear. We are going there and we know the procedure. It’s only that we are cautious and respectful about the whole matter.”

According to the concerned members of the Trust, the Trust constitution calls for annual public release of audited financial reports, showing how several income generating projects belonging to the Trust have performed, and the current board has over many years failed in its responsibility to do so.

“The last controversial financial report was produced in 2009 and revealed rampant looting and mismanagement of the finances and properties of the Trust with total impunity of those involved,” the concerned Bangwaketse tribesmen asserted in a statement.

They also said that there are parallel management and governance structures controlling the assets of the Trust, with one for the Kanye Brigades Bathoen Trust and the other for Mmakgodumo Culture and Heritage.

“Surprisingly, credible reports indicate that such management structures have since been amalgamated into one without prior consultation with the tribe as required by the constitution.”

The concerned members further highlighted that “there is an unprecedented heightened interest of illegal operating and ghost trustees in the Kanye Brigades, precisely because it provides a handy cash cow for them and yet the income generated is not managed properly and employed for the maintenance and investments of its assets, but has instead been misappropriated.”

They consequently have declared that the Board of Trustees of the Bathoen Trust are operating illegally and unlawfully because in the first place, they were never openly and democratically voted into office at a kgotla meeting as provided for in the constitution of the organization.

The constitution of the Trust provides that office bearers must seek fresh mandate and hold election into office every two years but the Trust has never done so since coming into the office in October 2001.

And although all but one member of the Trust have relinquished their executive positions, “the remaining member has since contemptuously self-appointed his friends into office to unlawfully run the affairs of the Trust even though there is no provision in the constitution for co-opting board members.”

The members said they are now seeking legal advice because the self-appointed Board has repeatedly denied the tribe requests for public access and accountability to the latest financial report where huge sums of money are also reportedly not accounted for.

Bathoen II Trust has acquired many assets under his name which are owned by morafe spanning from Mmakgodumo dam, Ramatea ranch, King George Memorial Hall, Marapalalo Hall, Agricultural showground, Tomela Council Chambers, Ledibelo reservoir, former Tsopye dam, Dihalana, Kanye museum, a plot housing Veterinary services, Kanye Brigade Development Trust, was also involved in building Kanye Seventh day Adventist Hospital, some Primary schools including Makaba II, Maisantwa, Matsaakgang, Rachele, and was also involved in exploring the construction of Kgwakgwe mine, and Moshawa mine among others.

Although the value of the assets have not been ascertained at this point some speculate that Bathoen left behind assets for his morafe in the region of millions – which are at the centre of controversy as there are issues of alleged negligence, maladministration, corruption and unaccountability.

Chaired by Lobatse former mayor, Maswabi, the concerned members of the Trust comprise of its Secretary, Fikile Moahi, and other members include Charles Pelekekae, Kepatilwe Rex Mafoko, Keoabele Ketsile, Steyn Kgosiemang and Bakana Kgosikhumo Mokonopi.

WeekendPost has gathered that the concerned members of the Trust are a thorn in the flesh for the tribal leadership particularly presiding Kgosikgolo Malope Gaseitsiwe II who is the patron of the Trust – his grandfather’s brainchild.

Malope is said to be sympathetic to the incumbent Trust board members and has almost adopted a see-no-evil-hear-no-evil approach towards them even as concerns of flouting of the Trust constitution continue to swirl.

Bontleeng Gaseitsiwe, one of Bathoen’s two surviving daughters who was present at the press briefing, spoke fondly of her father’s development achievements but also said she was worried about how the Trust has not fulfilled its obligations as far as protecting the legacy of her father is concerned.

“How can I not be worried about the turn of events! Bathoen did all this to develop us (his subjects). He developed this village of course with the support of morafe. Horticulture was feeding us, he did a lot through his mophato, that’s why Kanye then was on the fore front. He did put us on the map.” Today, she said, Kanye is now regressing in terms of development “while we are supposed to be stepping into Bathoen’s shoes and strategy in developing the village.”

She said as the royal family, they from time to time advise reigning Kgosi Malope II although at times their advises are just taken for granted and fall on deaf ears. She further pointed out that her father addressed the problems of his tribe effectively and admirably and so should Malope.

The audit report which was leaked to this publication and was prepared by an independent audit team and commissioned by the office of the Senior Assistant Council Secretary in the Southern District Council (SDC) – unearthed possibilities of “noncompliance” of some procedures in running of Bathoen Trust.

The audit was particularly aimed at checking compliance and adherence to the Deed of Trust; checking that all relevant documents of books of accounts are maintained and recorded adequately; verifying that the employees are paid at correct rates as per their contracts and determining that all foreign employees have valid work and resident permits.

It also intended to check that all funds collected are banked whole; check if agreement entered with donor agencies are adhered to; verify and validate that Corporate Governance standards and principles are implemented and followed; as well as whether the mandate of the trust is adhered to as stipulated in the Deed of Trust.

In order to achieve the objectives, documents of the Trust were examined including;  Employees Personal files, Payroll file, Terminal benefit file, Cheque books, Income and expenditure cash books, Bank statements, Income receipt books, Deposit books, Payment vouchers, Minutes and Board Resolutions and the Deed of trust.

The Bangwaketse Concerned also brought to light that the United Nations Development Programme visited the Trust and questioned as to why the committee never changes.
Bathoen Trust Chairman Ramokone was said to be in a meeting when this publication attempted to solicit a comment from him before press time.

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