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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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Khan: Boko, Masisi are fake politicians

18th January 2021
Masisi & Boko

While there is no hard-and-fast rule in politics, former Molepolole North Member of Parliament, Mohamed Khan says populism acts in the body politic have forced him to quit active partisan politics. He brands this ancient ascription of politics as fake and says it lowers the moral compass of the society.

Khan who finally tasted political victory in the 2014 elections after numerous failed attempts, has decided to leave the ‘dirty game’, and on his way out he characteristically lashed at the current political leaders; including his own party president, Advocate Duma Boko. “I arrived at this decision because I have noticed that there are no genuine politics and politicians. The current leaders, Boko and President Dr Mokgweetsi Masisi are fake politicians who are just practicing populist politics to feed their egos,” he said.

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Ookeditse rejects lobby for BPF top post

18th January 2021
LAWRENCE-OOKEDITSE

Former Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) parliamentary hopeful, Lawrence Ookeditse has rejected the idea of taking up a crucial role in the Botswana Patriotic Front (BPF) Central Committee following his arrival in the party this week. According to sources close to development, BPF power brokers are coaxing Ookeditse to take up the secretary general position, left vacant by death of Roseline Panzirah-Matshome in November 2020.

Ookeditse’s arrival at BPF is projected to cause conflicts, as some believe they are being overlooked, in favour of a new arrival. The former ruling party strategist has however ruled out the possibility of serving in the party central committee as secretary general, and committed that he will turn down the overture if availed to him by party leadership.

Ookeditse, nevertheless, has indicated that if offered another opportunity to serve in a different capacity, he will gladly accept. “I still need to learn the party, how it functions and all its structures; I must be guided, but given any responsibility I will serve the party as long as it is not the SG position.”

“I joined the BPF with a clear conscious, to further advance my voice and the interests of the constituents of Nata/Gweta which I believe the BDP is no longer capable to execute.” Ookeditse speaks of abject poverty in his constituency and prevalent unemployment among the youth, issues he hopes his new home will prioritise.

He dismissed further allegations that he resigned from the BDP because he was not rewarded for his efforts towards the 2019 general elections. After losing in the BDP primaries in 2018, Ookeditse said, he was offered a job in government but declined to take the post due to his political ambitions. Ookeditse stated that he rejected the offer because, working for government clashed with his political journey.

He insists there are many activists who are more deserving than him; he could have chosen to take up the opportunity that was before him but his conscious for the entire populace’s wellbeing held him back. Ookeditse said there many people in the party who also contributed towards party success, asserting that he only left the BDP because he was concerned about the greater good of the majority not individualism purposes.

According to observers, Ookeditse has been enticed by the prospects of contesting Nata/Gweta constituency in the 2024 general election, following the party’s impressive performance in the last general elections. Nata/Gweta which is a traditional BDP stronghold saw its numbers shrinking to a margin of 1568. BDP represented by Polson Majaga garnered 4754, while BPF which had fielded Joe Linga received 3186 with UDC coming a distant with 1442 votes.

There are reports that Linga will pave way for Ookeditse to contest the constituency in 2024 and the latter is upbeat about the prospects of being elected to parliament. Despite Ookeditse dismissing reports that he is eying the secretary general position, insiders argue that the position will be availed to him nevertheless.

Alternative favourite for the position is Vuyo Notha who is the party Deputy Secretary General. Notha has since assumed duties of the secretariat office on the interim basis. BPF politburo is expected to meet on 25th of January 2020, where the vacancy will be filled.

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BDP cancels MPs retreat

18th January 2021
President Masisi

Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) big wigs have decided to cancel a retreat with the party legislators this weekend owing to increasing numbers of Covid-19 cases. The meeting was billed for this weekend at a place that was to be confirmed, however a communique from the party this past Tuesday reversed the highly anticipated meeting.

“We received a communication this week that the meeting will not go as planned because of rapid spread of Covid-19,” one member of the party Central Committee confirmed to this publication.
The gathering was to follow the first of its kind held late last year at party Treasurer Satar Dada’s place.

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