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DCEC mops-out YDF corruption mess

DCEC boss Rose Seretse

Directorate on Corruption and Economic Crime (DCEC) is undertaking a clean-up campaign on multiple corruption cases that are alleged to have engulfed the Youth Development Fund (YDF) at the Ministry of Youth Sport and Culture (MYSC).

WeekendPost has established that YDF has become a haven for a beehive of corruption allegations purported by gullible Ministry employees as well as unscrupulous youth applicants who are desperate for the funds.
It is understood that some employees tasked with the implementation of the YDF connive with the fund applicants and loot the government coffers of money spanning in millions fraudulently.

YDF is an empowerment programme aimed at promoting active participation of youth in the socio-economic development of the country. It encourages the out-of-school, marginalised and unemployed youth to venture into sustainable and viable income generating projects.

Information reaching this publication however suggests that corruption is rife at all stages and present loopholes for Ministry staff to connive with applicants who either do not meet the application requirements and/or if they satisfied the requirements are poised to rejection during assessment and that decision gets overturned as a consequence of corruption.

Therefore, the corruption busting agency has engulfed the ministry to interrogate the processes, procedures and practices through which YDF is awarded and examine the loopholes which can be a fertile ground for corruption to blossom.

In its effort to clean the mess, the DCEC also aims to deduce remedial and/or preventative recommendations to presumed corruption loopholes, determine guidelines of administering youth development funds-if any and scrutinize the process and criteria of eligibility for YDF as well as inspecting the process of monitoring the projects after award (funding).

Corruption and Economic Crime Act (CECA) of 1994 gives DCEC powers to “examine the practices and procedures of public bodies in order to facilitate the discovery of corrupt practices and to secure the revision of methods of work or procedures which, in the opinion of the Director General, may be conducive to corrupt practices.”

WeekendPost has further gathered that the Ministry officials – who are tasked with the implementation of the YDF – sometimes give conflicting information in terms of the procedure leading to awarding of the funds to beneficiaries.

The turn of events were unearthed this week during YDF audit brainstorming workshop discussions in Gaborone with various stakeholders being YDF beneficiaries, YDF Programme Officers, MYSC Anti-Corruption Unit Coordinators, and District Economic Development Committee representatives.

District Officers and other key staffs had conflicting understanding of procedure pertaining to awarding of funds to beneficiaries from appraisal until the final stage of monitoring and evaluation.  

The initial stage it is understood comprises of appraisal which entails; mobilization, consultation, appraisal, adjudication, funding, procurement (and signing of cheques), appeals upon rejection of proposal, monitoring and evaluation, as well as loan repayments which are said to be flouted to a larger extent.

Under appraisal, there are processes of; invitation of appraisal team, proposal analysis, oral interviews, site assessment and recommendations, and key stakeholders identify the stages as potential for providing more room for crooked and shady practices in relation to the YDF funds.  

“I’m also reliably informed that in quarter one 2015/16 alone, the MYSC Anti-Corruption Unit has recorded a total of five allegations; this excludes those that have been reported directly to other institutions like the DCEC and Botswana Police,” MYSC Deputy Permanent Secretary Peter Mongwaketse asserted in a statement.   

According to the DPS: “although the Youth Development Fund Programme was conceptualized to promote entrepreneurship and empowerment of youth, create employment, alleviate poverty and hunger, we are informed that the DCEC continues to register a lot of allegations in this area.”

Mongwaketse said internally, their Anti-Corruption Unit is inundated with complaints and allegations about the programme ranging from favouritism and conflict of interest, deficient monitoring mechanisms during implementation, and noncompliance to guidelines. As a result of in-effectiveness, the Ministry roped-in the DCEC to investigate the matter further and assist wipe out the mess.

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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

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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