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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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Details emerge in suspected Batswana poachers in Namibia

28th June 2022
suspected Motswana poacher arrested

New details about a suspected Motswana poacher arrested in Namibian and his accomplice who is on the run were revealed when the suspect appeared in court this week.

The Motswana Citizen who was shot and wounded by Namibia’s anti poaching unit is facing criminal charges under criminal case number (CR NO 10/06/2022) which was registered at the Divundu Police Station in the Mukwe constituency of the Kavango East Region on 10 June 2022.

It is alleged that a patrol team laid an ambush after discovering a giraffe’s fresh carcass in a snare wire and hanging biltong.  According to the Charge Sheet, the suspect Djeke Dihutu, aged 40 years, is charged with contravening and transgressions of Nature Conservation Ordinance andcontravening Immigration Act 07 in Mahango Wildlife Core Area, Bwabwata National Park. Dihutu’s first court appearance was on the 17th of June 2022, Rundu and it was postponed to the 07 July 2022. He is currently hospitalized in hospital under Police Guards.

Commenting on this latest development, the Namibian Lives Matter Movement National Chairperson Sinvula Mudabeti applauded the Namibian Anti Poaching Unit for its compliance with what it called the universal instrument on the Code of Conduct for Law Enforcement Officials adopted by the United Nations General Assembly resolution 34/169.

“We are aware that the duties of the police carry a great deal of risk, but our police has shown that they have a moral calling and obligation to protect even foreigners suspected of serious crimes on Namibian soil,” said Mudabeti.

According to him, whereas the Botswana Police Service, the Botswana Defence Force (BDF) and Directorate of Intelligence Service (DIS) have “very low moral ethics, integrity, accountability and honesty, the Namibian security agencies has shown very high levels of ethical leadership in the discharge of their duties even under duress.”

He said Namibian’s anti poaching unit has exercised one very important value, that is, the use of force only when it is reasonable and necessary. Mudabeti said this is in harmony with international best practices as enshrined in Article 2 of the UN instrument on law enforcement conduct, “In the performance of their duty, law enforcement officials shall respect and protect human dignity and maintain and uphold the human rights of all persons.

Our police have protected the life of a Botswana poacher and accorded him dignity, which is very foreign to our Botswana counterparts,” he said. He said article 3 of the same instrument above, calls for Law enforcement officials to use force only when strictly necessary and to the extent required for the performance of their duty.

“This provision emphasizes that the use of force by law enforcement officials should be exceptional; while it implies that law enforcement officials may be authorized to use force as is reasonably necessary under the circumstances for the prevention of crime or in effecting or assisting in the lawful arrest of suspected offenders, no force going beyond that was used by our Police,” he said.

Furthermore, Mudabeti said, whereas the universally accepted norm of the law of proportionality ordinarily permits the use of force by law enforcement, it is to be understood that such principles of proportionality in no case should be interpreted to authorize the use of force which is disproportionate to the legitimate objective to be achieved.

“Our police have used force proportional to the situation at hand. Great work indeed! Article 6 urges law enforcement officials to ensure the full protection of the health of persons in their custody and, in particular, shall take immediate action to secure medical attention whenever required,” he said.

Mudabeti said the Botswana poacher was immediately taken to hospital whereas the Nchindo brothers who were captured on Namibian soil, beaten, tortured and executed while pleading to be taken to the hospital we left to die.

“The Namibian Doctor gave evidence in court that Sinvula Munyeme’s lungs showed signs of life (during the autopsy) and that he could have survived if he was accorded immediate medical assistance in time but was left to die while BDF soldiers looked and possibly ignored his cry for help,” he said.

Mudabeti said unlike in Botswana where there are no clear separation of powers between the BDF, Botswana Police Service, Department of Intelligence and their Directorate of Public Prosecutions,” we have a system that allows for checks and balances and allows our people and foreigners who are found on the wrong side of the law to be accorded the right to a fair trial.”

He said Botswana citizens are treated with dignity when apprehended in Namibia and not assaulted, tortured and executed. “We are a civilized country that respects international law in dealing with non-Namibian criminals. The Namibian Police have not mistreated the Botswana poacher but have given him the benefit of the doubt by allowing due processes of the law to be followed,” he said.

He added that, “We are a peace loving nation that has not repaid Botswana by the evil that Botswana has done to Namibia by killing more than 37 innocent and unarmed Namibians by the trigger happy BDF.” He concluded that, “Our acts of mercy in arresting Botswana citizens should never be mistaken for cowardice.”

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Gov’t, Unions clash over accommodation

28th June 2022
accomodation

The government has reportedly taken a decision to terminate provision of pool housing and subsidy for civil servants as it attempts to trim the public service wage bill.

This emerges in a dispute that is currently before the Labour Office headquarters lodged by unions representing thousands of civil servants across the country. This publication understands that the decision to cease providing pool housing and rental subsidy for public officers is part of proposals that government put on the table during its negotiations with public service unions in order for it to adjust salaries.

A letter from Labour Office addressed to the Directorate of Public Service Management (DPSM) shows that the directorate is cited as the First Respondent. The letter is titled, “Dispute lodged: Cessation of provision of pool housing and subsidy for pubic officers.”

“This serves as a notification and requirement to a mediation hearing,” the letter informed DPSM. According to the letter, the Botswana Teachers Union (BTU), Botswana Sectors of Educators Trade Unions (BOSETU) Botswana Nurses Union (BONU) and Botswana Land Board &Local Authorities &Health workers Union (BLLAHW) who lodged the complaint are cited as the Applicant.

“Please come for mediation hearing. The hearing will be conducted by Mr Lebang. The hearing is scheduled for date/time 29th June 2022, 09: 00HOURS at Block 8 District Labour Office, Gaborone. Please bring all relevant documents,” reads the letter in part.

According to a document described as a proposal paper on the negotiations on salaries and other conditions of employment of public officers by the employer (government), the government did not only propose to stop providing accommodation to civil servants but also put a number of proposals on the table.

The proposal papers states that the negotiations (which have since been concluded) cover three government financial years; 2022/23, 2023/24 and 2024/25. The government proposed an across the board salary adjustments as follows; 3% for the financial year 2022/23 effective 1st April 2022, across the board salary adjustment of 3.5% for the financial year 2023/24 effective 1st April 2023 subject to performance of the economy and across the board salary adjustment of 4% for the financial year 2024/25 effective 1st April 2024 subject to performance of the economy.

The government also proposed phasing out of retention and attractive (Scarce Skills) Allowance with a view to migration towards clean pay, renegotiate and set new timelines for all outstanding issues contained in the Collective Labour Agreement, executed by the employer and trade unions on the 27th August 2019, to ensure proper sequencing, alignment and proper implementation.
The government also proposed to freeze public service recruitment for the 2022/23 financial year and withdraw the financial equivalence of P500 million attached to vacancies from Ministries, Department and Agencies (MDAs).

Another proposal included phasing out of commuted overtime allowance and payment of overtime in accordance with the law and review human resource policies during the financial year 2022/23, 2023/24 and 2024/25.

The government argued that its proposals were premised on affordability and sustainability adding that it was important to underscore that the review of salaries and conditions of service for public officers was taking place at a time when there were uncertainties both in the global and domestic economies.

“Furthermore there is need to ensure that any collective labour agreement that is concluded does not breach the fiscal deficit target of 4% of GDP,” the proposal paper stated. The proposal paper further indicated that beyond salary adjustments, the Government of Botswana is of the view that a more comprehensive consideration “must be taken on the issue of remuneration in the public service by embracing principles such as total rewards compensation which involves taking a fully comprehensive and holistic approach to how our organization compensates employees for the work.”

The proposal paper also noted that, “Clearly, the increase in salaries and changes to other conditions of service which have monetary consequences will further increase the proportion of the budget taken by salaries, allowances and other monetary based conditions of services.”

“The consequential effect would be a reduction of the portion that can be used for other recurrent budget needs (e.g. maintenance of assets, consumable supplies such as medicines and books) and for development projects,” the proposal states.

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BPF NEC probes Serowe squabbles

28th June 2022
BPF

Opposition Botswana Patriotic Front (BPF) National Executive Committee will in no time investigate charges party members worked with the ruling Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) membership to tip the scales in favour of the latter for Serowe Sub-council Chairmanship in exchange for deputy seat in a dramatic 11th hour gentleman’s deal, leaving the ruling party splinter under the political microscope.

In a spectacular Sub-council election membership last Thursday, the ruling BDP’s Lesedi Phuthego beat Atamelang Thaga with 14 votes to 12 for Serowe Sub-council Chairmanship coveted seat and subsequently the ruling party’s councilor Bernard Kenosi withdrew his candidacy in the final hour for the equally admired deputy chair paving the way for Solomon Dikgang of BPF, seen as long sealed ‘I scratch your back and you scratch mine’ gentleman’s agreement between the contenders.

Both parties entered the race with a tie of votes torn between 12 councillors each, translating for election race that will go down to the wire definitely. But that will not be the case as two BPF councilors shifted their allegiance to the ruling party during the first race for Chairmanship held in a secret ballot and no sooner was the election concluded then the ruling party answered back by withdrawing its candidacy for the deputy chair position to give BPF’s Dikgang the post on a silver platter unopposed.

BPF councilor Vuyo Notha confirmed the incident in an interview on Wednesday, insisting the party NEC was determined to “investigate the matter soon”. “During the race for the Chairmanship, two more BPF voted for alongside the ruling party membership. It was clear Dikgang voted alongside the BDP as immediately after the vote for Chairmanship was concluded, Kenosi withdraw his candidacy to render Dikgang unopposed as a payback,” Notha added.

As for the other vote, Makolo ward councilor will not be drawn for the identity preferring instead to say: “BPF NEC will convene all the councilors to investigate the matter soon and we will take from there.” Notha will also not be drawn to conclude may be the culprit councilors could have defected to the ruling party silently.

“If they are no longer part of us they should say so and a by-election be called,” was all he could say. As it stands now, the law forbids sitting Councilors and Parliamentarians from crossing the floor to another party as to do so will immediately invite for a new election as dictated by the law. Incumbent politicians will therefore dare not venture for the unknown with a by-election that could definitely cost their political life and certainly their full benefits.

Notha could also not be dragged to link the culprit councilors actions to BPF Serowe region Chairperson Tebo Thokweng who has silently defected to the ruling party and currently employed by the party businessman and former candidate for Serowe West Moemedi Dijeng as PRO for the highly anticipated cattle abattoir project in Serowe.

“As for Thokweng he has not resigned from the party but from the region’s chairmanship,” he said. WeekendPost investigations suggest Thokweng is the secret snipper behind the recruitment drive of the votes for the elections and is determined to tear the party dominance in Serowe and the neighbouring villages asunder including in Palapye going forward.

This publication’s investigations also show BPF’s Radisele and UDC’s Mokgware/Mogome councilors are under the radar of investigations for the votes-themselves associated with the workings and operations of Thokweng.

“NEC will definitely leave no stone unturned with their investigations to get into the bottom of the matter. Disciplinary actions will follow certainly,” Notha concluded, underscoring the need to toe the party line to set a good precedent. For the youthful councilor, the actions of his peers has set a wrong precedent which has to be dealt with seriously to deter future culprits.

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