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Bathoen II Trust: The devil is in the detail

Bangwaketse Kgosikgolo Malope

Bathoen II Dam Nature Sanctuary Management Trust (BDNSMT) which is entrusted with the Bangwaketse tribe resources, principally those accumulated during the reign of the late Kgosikgolo Bathoen Gaseitsiwe II is caught up in financial misappropriations scandals.

A legend, Kgosi Bathoen II ruled Bangwaketse from 1928 to 1960 – a period in which he amassed the prosperity in cahoots with his community (morafe).

The trust was founded subsequent to Bathoeng’s departure in 1990, almost 10 years later– in 2001. He had before then, accumulated resources for his morafe, including Mmakgodumo dam, ranch stretching in spans of land, and Kanye Central Business District (CBD) among several others including recently acquired Kanye Brigade Development Trust and its subsidiary Secondary School.

Accounts of the trust are tampered with

A look into the books of the Trust accounts and operations as captured in the classified audit report, a copy of which has been leaked to Weekend Post, reveals there are 8 bank accounts under the Trust that were fiddled with.
Account name
Account Number
Lesedi Electrical
57160025759
KBDT (Kanye Brigade Development Trust) 1
57160008755
Thuso Block yard
57160008185
KBDT 2
62069330076
BDNSMT (call)
62066921282
BDNSMT (fixed)
71273779061
BDNSMT (Current Admin)
62332290874
BDNSMT (current  secondary)
62332296062
Mmakgodumo Cultural Festival
1097729

According to the records, currently only 4 accounts (in bold in the table above) are active with available balances. Nonetheless “there are no documents to verify whether the rest were closed or are in use except that funds were transferred from those accounts on the 17/11/2011 to current active accounts”.  

The report which was prepared by the Southern District Council, states that some financial transactions have been noted between such accounts and mostly with “no requisitions or supporting documents to verify the use of funds,” the confidential report highlights.    

The other 9th account appears to be linked to the trust but under a team of individuals undersigned as Mmakgodumo Cultural Festival Committee.

The audit report states that there was a deposit of P201, 202.85 followed by another deposit of P80, 000.00 deposited into the BDNSMT (current secondary) account no 62332296062 on the 3rd December 2013. However, “there are no indication of sources and, these funds were deposited into an account that is used for (secondary) school funds hence the ‘assumption’ that the funds are somehow related to school administration.”

The audit report has therefore recommended that all inactive accounts; Lesedi Electrical, KBDT 1, Thuso Block yard and KBDT 2 should be closed and financial practices should be followed at all times to ensure informed and transparent transactions. The report also emphasized that adequate financial reports should be produced every quarter for Morafe’s briefing at the kgotla.

Bangwaketse relegated on Trust’s Agreements with third parties

According to information gathered during the audit process, the Trust has gotten into agreements with third parties which involved financial transactions. “The community was never consulted as required by Clause 11.5 (of the Deed of Trust) regarding some of these agreements. And there are no recorded Board Resolutions for such. For example, the car raffle and Mmakgodumo Heritage and Cultural Festival”

According to records availed, one gentleman (name withheld) has an outstanding agreement he made with Kanye Brigade Development Trust (KBDT) before its “takeover” by The Trust. The agreement shows that he was to develop plots 34, 35 and 38 at an agreed amount of P600 000.00 and the records show that part payment was made with a Cheque, for the sum of P200 000.00 on the 13th April 2011, that was three months before the takeover of KBDT by Trust.

The takeover meant that The Trust also took over the agreement yet there is no record that the trust ever discussed this issue after it took over KBDT.  There is no trace showing into which account this lump sum was deposited.

All bank accounts linked to KBDT were handed over to the Trust and “none of them had a balance of more than P200 000.00” indicating the development funds as deposited by the man known to this publication.

The auditors have therefore advised that the Trust board should consult with all relevant stakeholders before making resolutions on any proposal brought before the board. It was also suggested in the report that all resolutions should be clearly recorded and filed for future references.

Mmakgodumo Cultural Festival lacks financial accountability

The Audit has uncovered that there was an amount of P30, 000.00 which was given to the Chairperson of Makgodumo Cultural Festival to conduct a Cultural Day event as per minutes dated 05/07/2014. The records show that the above mentioned funds were a grant from the Ministry of Youth, Sports and Culture to Bathoen Trust.

It is notable that the cultural day committee also received funding and donations from individuals and organizations e.g (National Food Technology research Centre (NFTRC) pledged the sum of P1000.00 as per letter dated 2nd September 2014 but no other information from donors  was availed.

“There was no report or source documentation showing how the funds were utilized or disbursed. As a result it has been difficult to Audit to ascertain how the funds more especially the P30, 000.00 was utilized,” report points out.

Still with the Festival, the report posits that during an interview with the Secretary of Trust she mentioned that more than 400 letterheads have been given to the festival committee Chairperson so as to write to companies and individuals seeking financial assistance.

A recommendation was made that the Trust needs to account to the donor, the Government of Botswana on how the grant of P30, 000.00 was used and a consolidated report on the festival be availed.

“There were no records showing the accountability of issuing those letterheads. There is no proper record on who have been written to or who responded. The Trust is not able to account for all these letterheads,” it states.

A car ruffle omit financial specifics

According to Board minutes submitted for auditing, The Trust had an agreement with a certain lecturer at the brigade to facilitate a car raffle to raise money on behalf of the Trust.

Although tickets were sold country-wide the raffle never took place and some of the tickets are not yet accounted for. The trust does not have any records with regards to all the logistics of the aforesaid raffle. Only the said lecturer has records although not sufficient enough.

“The Trust is not able to confirm whether all those who bought tickets have been refunded and whether all those who were selling have accounted for all the tickets they were given,” the audit states.

A recommendation was therefore made that the Trust also needs to account for all the tickets that were produced for selling and collect those not sold. “A consolidation report must be availed for public consumption.”

Auction sales payments done by Trust board members

The audit report findings indicate that there were two auction sales conducted in the year 2012.

“For the first auction sale only receipts of payments have been availed for auditing and what is strange is that most payments were made by members of the Trust Board. Corporate governance principles do not allow for board members of organizations to participate in auction sales to ensure transparency and fairness of the auction.”

The report says the auction sale that was held on the 2nd November 2012 has proper files. Most of the items which were listed for auction have been accounted for including the disc harrow which was not sold through the auctioned but was later sold in 2013 at a value of P4,000.00 less than the reserve price of P6,000.00. “There is no documentation which shows why it was not sold through the auction which is the principle,” the report continues.

It further suggested that “the trust should produce consolidated detailed reports for all the auction sales conducted since January 2011 to December 2014.”

Trust has no Salary structure, Human Resources policy

The report further suggested that corporate governance policies be developed and implemented (Finance, HR, Procurement, Tender and Auction policies) along with a clear and justifiable resolution on sitting allowances which it stated was needed.

Sometimes Meetings are held with no quorum

According to the audit report meeting schedules are rarely adhered to. According to the Deed of Trust, board meetings are to be held quarterly, this means that full board meetings should be held 4 times per year while 6 executive meetings should be held per year.

Sitting allowances have to be paid for scheduled meetings; “however it was noted that in 2011 in a period of two months from the 7/9/2011 to 28/10/2011 five meetings were held and a total amount of P9, 569.00 was paid as sitting allowance for six members.”

The report further discovered that in 2013 a whooping P 40,866.00 was used to pay sitting allowances for board members during meetings which sometimes did not form a quorum. “For instance on the 25/02/2013 the sum of P1, 911.00 was paid as sitting allowance for meeting of three members,” the audit has un-earthed.

Furthermore, according to the audit report, the Board resolved to claim sitting allowances similar to those claimed by Adjudication; Trade and Licensing Committees of the Local Government, yet employees in the Trust are paid differently.

It highlights that on several occasions members of the board claim even for external meetings which are not in any way related to issues of the Trust.

The report also states that board members claim for un-scheduled meetings and there are no records justifying whether such meetings were emergency meetings or not.

Trust Receipt books manipulated

Moreover Weekend Post has gathered that during the inspection of receipt books, auditors came across two identical receipt books no 1801 – 2100 both with identical inputs. “It appears that information was copied from one receipt book to the other. The original receipts were removed from other receipt book and stapled to the latter to make it look like they originate in that receipt book.”

The audit clearly states that the receipts do not belong there due to the fact that the handwritings, although belonging to one person, the signatures in receipt no 1801 and 1802 original and copy are not identical. A signature mistake is also found on duplicate receipt number 1801 and 1802 of the older book. It is not identical to the original receipt stapled on top of it.

“Receipts no 2056 – 2058, 2065 – 2067, 2083 – 2085, 2095 – 2097 are not stapled in the older book. No clarification has been availed regarding the abnormality.”

There is no inventory of assets both movable and immoveable

It was recommended that the trust must keep an updated inventory of assets at all time.

No Rental register of Trust assets

Audit has discovered that there are properties that generate income under the custody of Trust, Residential houses (On and Off-Campus), Tirisanyo Shops, Auto workshop and Farm.

“Therefore, due to unavailability of a rent register, audit has not been able to compile and assess all rentals. This information would have helped to analyze the detailed cash flow of the trust and thus make relevant recommendations.”

Trust Patron, Kgosikgolo Malope II defends it (the Trust)

When reached for comment recently, Kgosi Malope told WeekendPost that the controversial issues pertaining to the Bathoen Trust was discussed prior at one of his lebatla (meetings) at the kgotla kgolo in Kanye and a consensus and/or compromise was reached but he denied to divulge it to this publication.

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Seretse, Kgosi may walk free

30th October 2020
BAKANG SERETSE

The P250 million National Petroleum Fund (NPF) saga that has been before court since 2017 seems to be losing its momentum with a high possibility of it being thrown out as defence lawyers unmask incompetency on the part of the Directorate of Public Prosecution (DPP).

The Gaborone High Court this week ruled that the decision by the State to prosecute Justice Zein Kebonang and his twin brother, Sadique Kebonang has been reviewed and set aside. The two brothers have now been cleared of the charges that where laid against them three years ago.

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Understanding the US Electoral College and key election issues 

28th October 2020
Mark J Rozell

The United States (US) will on the 3rd of November 2020 chose between incumbent Donald Trump of the Republicans and former Vice President Joe Biden of the Democrats amid the coronavirus pandemics, which has affected how voting is conducted in the world’s biggest economy.

Trump (74) seeks re-election after trouncing Hillary Clinton in 2016, while Biden (77) is going for his first shot as Democratic nominee after previous unsuccessful spells.

US Presidents mostly succeed in their re-election bid, but there have been nine individuals who failed to garner a second term mandate, the latest being George W H. Bush, a Republican who served as the 41st US President between 1989 and 1993.

Dr Mark Rozell, a Dean of  the School of Policy and Government at George Mason University  in  Arlington, Virginia describes the complex US electoral system that will deliver the winner at the 3rd November elections.

“The founders of our Republic de-centralised  authority  significantly  in  creating  our  constitutional  system,  which  means that  they  gave  an  enormous  amount  of  independent  power  and  authority  to  State  and  local governments,” Dr Rozell told international media on Elections 2020 Virtual Reporting Tour.

Unlike  parliamentary  democracies, like Botswana the  United  States  does  not  have  all  of  the  national government elected in one year. They do not have what is commonly called mandate elections where  the  entire  federal  government  is  elected  all  in  one  election  cycle  giving  a  “mandate”  to  a particular political party to lead, and instead US have what are called staggered elections, elections over time.

The two house Congress, members of the House of Representatives have two-year long terms of office. Every two years the entire House of Representatives is up for re-election, but senators  serve  for  six  years  and  one  third  of  the  Senate is elected every  two  years.

For this election cycle, US citizens will be electing the President and Vice

President, the entire House of Representatives and one third of the open or contested seats in the Senate, whereas two thirds are still fulfilling the remainder of their terms beyond this year.

An  important  facet  of  US electoral  system  to  understand  given  the  federalism  nature  of  the republic, the US elect presidents State by State, therefore they do not have a national popular vote for the presidency.

“We have a national popular vote total that says that Hillary Clinton got three million more votes than Donald Trump or in Year 2000 that Al Gore got a half million more votes than George W. Bush, but we have what is called a State by State winner takes all system where each State  is  assigned  a  number  of  electors  to  our  Electoral  College  and  the  candidate  who  wins  the popular vote within each State takes 100 percent of the electors to the Electoral College,” explained Dr Rozell.

“And that is why mathematically, it is possible for someone to win the popular vote but lose the presidency.”

Dr Rozell indicated that in 2016, Hillary Clinton won very large popular majorities in some big population States like California, but the system allows a candidate to only have to  win  a  State  by  one  vote  to  win  a  100 percent of  its  electors,  the  margin  does  not  matter.

“Donald  Trump  won  many  more  States  by  smaller  margins,  hence  he  got  an  Electoral  College majority.”

Another interesting features by the way of US constitutional system, according to Dr Rozell, but extremely rare, is what is called the faithless elector.

“That’s the elector to the Electoral College who says, ‘I’m not going to vote the popular vote in my State, I think my State made a bad decision and I’m going  to  break  with  the  popular  vote,’’ Dr Rozell said.

“That’s constitutionally a very complicated matter in our federalism system because although the federal constitution says electors may exercise discretion, most States have passed State laws making it illegal for any elector to the Electoral College to break faith with the popular vote of that State, it is a criminal act that can be penalized if one is to do that. And we just had an important Supreme Court case that upheld the right of the states to impose and to enforce this restriction”

There are 538 electors at the Electoral College, 270 is the magic number, the candidate who gets 270 or more becomes President of the United States.

If however there are more candidates, and  this  happens  extremely  rarely,  and  a  third  candidate  got  some electors  to  the  Electoral  College  denying  the  two  major  party  candidates,  either  one  getting  a majority, nobody gets 270 or more, then the election goes to the House of Representatives and the House of Representatives votes among the top three vote getters as to who should be the next President.

“You’d have to go back to the early 19th century to have such a scenario, and that’s not going to happen this year unless there is a statistical oddity, which would be a perfect statistical tie of 269 to 269 which could happen but you can just imagine how incredibly unlikely that is,” stated Dr Rozell.

BLUE STATES vs RED STATES

Since the 2000 United States presidential election, red states and blue states have referred to states of the United States whose voters predominantly choose either the Republican Party (red) or Democratic Party (blue) presidential candidates.

Many  states  have  populations  that  are  so  heavily  concentrated  in  the  Democratic party or the Republican party that there is really no competition in those states.

California is a heavily Democratic State, so is New York and Maryland. It is given that Joe Biden will win those states. Meanwhile Texas, Florida and Alabama are republicans. So, the candidates will spent no time campaigning in those states because it is already a given.

However there are swing  states, where  there is a competition between about five and 10 states total in each election cycle that make a difference, and that is where the candidates end up spending almost all of their time.

“So  it  ends  up  making  a  national  contest  for  the  presidency  actually  look  like  several  state-wide contests with candidates spending a lot of time talking about State and local issues in those parts of the country,” said Dr Rozell.

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Masisi to make things right with Dangote

26th October 2020

High Commissioner of the Federal Government of Nigeria to Botswana, His Excellency Umar Zainab Salisu, has challenged President Dr Mokgweetsi Masisi to move swiftly and lobby Africa’s richest man, Nigerian Billionaire, Aliko Dangote to invest in Botswana.

Speaking during a meeting with President Masisi at Office of President on Thursday Zainab Salisu said Dangote has expressed massive interest in setting up billion dollar industries in Botswana.  “We have a lot of investors who wish to come and invest in Botswana , when we look at Botswana we don’t see Botswana itself , but we are lured by its geographic location , being in the centre of Southern Africa presents a good opportunity for strategic penetration into other markets of the region,” said Salisu.

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