Letter of shame: Gov’t treachery exposed
By Aubrey Lute
Minister of Local Government and Rural Development, Slumber Tsogwane
An Assistant District Commissioner in the Central District has filed a chilling letter detailing what she describes as ‘maladministration’ in the Central District at the District Commissioner’s office. The letter is currently making life very uncomfortable in the office of the Minister of Local Government and Rural Development, Slumber Tsogwane.
“Firstly there are several issues which I am alive to which border on maladministration that I have stood against, which without doubt contributed to this transfer; therefore transferring me is a desperate attempt to silence me. This maladministration practices will be elaborated at a later stage,” writes Mphoyaone Seokamo, an Assistant District Commissioner based in Palapye.
After stating her case against a forced transfer, Seokamo goes on to elaborate on a number of instances where she was instructed to make unprocedural payments and refused. “I was requested by my supervisor (names withheld) to write a letter to Supplies Office to request for direct appointment of a company (name withheld) to clear the District Commissioner’s official residence contrary to financial instruction. I did not accede to the instruction as I was not comfortable with being involved in malpractices and this did not sit well with my boss,” she wrote.
Despite Seokamo’s defiance, on the 25th September 2014, a gentleman who identified himself as coming from the company that was directly appointed by Seokamo’s boss came to drop a quotation at the instruction of the DC indicating that he carried out some work.
Seokamo and the Supplies office refused to authorise any payment to the company. On the 26th September 2014 the said Supervisor drafted a sample letter and instructed Seokamo to type it and sign it, but she refused to the displeasure of the DC.
She in fact avoided signing the letter for a whole month until the boss took the initiative to sign after the company threatened to ‘spill the beans’ on the deal. The Assistant District Commissioner was made to sign the GPO (Government Purchase Order) despite being warned by colleagues and payment was effected to the company.
At a later date Seokamo’s Supervisor once again requested the office to seek a quotation for an alarm to be installed at her residence. She was however informed by the Supplies Office that there is no provision for installation of alarms for the DC, “We even requested the ADC to inquire with the Ministry before making any decision. According to ADC her supervisor indicated that she will pay for herself. I notified them that we are still going to have a serious audit query concerning for the relocation of the DC residence and advised them that other senior officials had installed alarms without the involvement of the office but the Assistant District Commissioner insisted that we do as the Supervisor requested and gave the Supplies office a go ahead. After installation we were forced to prepare a GPO to pay for the alarm, exactly what I anticipated would happen. I was not comfortable singing the GPO and this again did not sit well with my boss. However the GPO was signed by another officer and I signed the payment at the instruction of my boss,” wrote Seokamo.
According to Seokamo, her supervisor once forced them to buy her office furniture from Mandarin Furniture shop without evaluating quotations. “We went to Gaborone with her to choose the furniture and three of us were sleeping in a hotel for three days sourcing quotations. Despite the fact that we sourced quotations, direct procurement was made at the insistence of my Supervisor which is contrary to supplies and financial regulations. The DC also instructed supplies office to buy her bulbs (16) from KEBO Electrical Gaborone for her house.”
In another startling allegation Seokamo states in the letter that her Supervisor is supposed to pay monthly house rentals amounting to P1800 but she is paying P800 for the house, “an investigation can be instituted to validate this information,” she wrote.
On the 16-17th April 2014 she booked accommodation at Mondior Hotel claiming to have a meeting with the permanent secretary of Local Government, to our dismay we discovered that the permanent secretary was not in Gaborone then, instead she had no meeting with the permanent secretary yet she used government funds. “An investigation can be instituted to validate this information,” she stresses in her letter.
“It is worth noting that my boss is not leading by example as she comes late to work around 10 am, she spends most of her time outside the office doing her own things, sometimes she does not come to work completely and usually no one in the office knows her whereabouts. She only comes to the office when there is a pressing issue that needs to be attended to or when she knows His Excellency the President is touring the District…” states Seokamo.
The detailed letter by Seokamo to the Minister also details reasons why she should not be transferred. Furthermore she alleges nepotism in the office, she states that junior officers have been promoted to positions they do not qualify for. According to Seokamo the education and health of her child has been overlooked when her forced transfer was plotted, “the transfer is not justified, they just want to silence me because I speak out against maladministration,” she wrote.
Minister of Local Government and Rural Development, Slumber Tsogwane confirmed receiving the letter but will not discuss its contents. The concerned supervisor refused to discuss the matter with WeekendPost indicating that government general orders do not allow her to talk to the press.
She had initially granted this publication a response through which she categorically denied most of the allegations made against her. She had indicated that at the time she arrived in the central district the concerned officer was already transferred, hence her allegations against her are only an attempt to divert attention from her pending transfer.
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DPP drops Kably threat to kill case
The Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) Chief Whip and Member of Parliament for Letlhakeng/Lephephe Liakat Kably has welcomed the Directorate of Public Prosecution (DPP)â€™s decision not to prosecute BDP councillor, Meshack Tshenyego who allegedly threatened to kill him. However, the legislator has warned that should anything happen to his life, the state and the courts will have to account.
In an interview with this publication, Kablay said he has heard that the DPP has declined to prosecute Tshenyego in a case in which he threatened to kill him adding that the reasons he received are that there was not enough evidence to prosecute. â€śI am fine and at peace with the decision not to prosecute over evidential deficits but I must warn that should anything happen to my life both the DPP and the Magistrate will have to account,â€ť Kablay said.
Connectedly, Kably said he has made peace with Tshenyego, â€śwe have made peace and he even called me where upon we agreed to work for the party and bury the hatchetâ€ť.
The DPP reportedly entered into a Nolle Prosequi in the matter, meaning that no action would be taken against the former Letlhakeng Sub-district council chairperson and currently councillor for Matshwabisi.
According to the charge sheet before the Court, councilor Tshenyego on July 8th, 2022 allegedly threatened MP Kably by indirectly uttering the following words to nominatedcouncilor Anderson Molebogi Mathibe, â€śMosadi wa ga Liakat le ban aba gagwe ba tsile go lela, Mosadi wame le banake le bone ba tsile go lela. E tla re re mo meeting, ka re tsena meeting mmogo, ke tla mo tlolela a bo ke mmolaya.â€ť
Loosely translated this means, Liakatâ€™s wife and children are going to shed tears and my wife and kids will shed tears too. I will jump on him and kill him during a meeting.
Mathibe is said to have recorded the meeting and forwarded it to Kably who reported the matter to the police.
In a notice to the Magistrate Court to have the case against Tshenyego, acting director of Public Prosecutions, Wesson ManchweÂ cited the nolle prosequi by the director of public prosecution in terms of section 51 A (30) of the Constitution and section 10 of the criminal procedure and evidence act (CAP 08:02) laws of Botswana as reasons for dropping the charges.
A nolle prosequi is a formal notice of abandonment by a plaintiff or prosecutor of all or part of a suit or action.
â€śIn pursuance of my powers under section 51 A (300 of the Constitution and section 10 of the criminal procedure and evidence act (CAP 08:02) laws of Botswana, I do hereby stop and discontinue criminal proceedings against the accused Meshack Tshenyego in the Kweneng Administrative District, CR.No.1077/07/2022 being the case of the State vs Tshenyego,â€ť said Manchwe. The acting director had drafted the notice dropping the charges on 13th day of March 2023.
The case then resumed before the Molepolole Magistrate Solomon Setshedi on the 14th of March 2023. The Magistrate issued an order directing â€śthat matters be withdrawn with prejudice to the State, accused is acquitted and discharged.â€ť
DPP seizes prosecution duties from Police
Directorate of Public Prosecution (DPP) has finally taken over prosecution from the Botswana Police Service (BPS). The police have been prosecuting for years, but the takeover means that they will now only focus on investigations and then hand over to the DPP for prosecution.
Talks of complete takeover began as far back as 2008, but for years it seemed implementation was sluggish. However, the Minister of Justice, Machana Shamukuni, revealed that the complete takeover is expected to be completed soon.
During a presentation to the Committee of Supply by Shamukuni this week, it was revealed that the project has been implemented in 22 police stations nationwide, including Maun, Selebi-Phikwe, Palapye, Francistown, and Kasane. He further stated that the project has been allocated P3,000,000 for the 2023/2024 financial year to facilitate the opening of more satellite offices for the DPP.
Shamukuni said the Lobatse station is scheduled for a complete takeover by the end of May 2023, while the Kasane DPP satellite office has been established and became operational as of February 1, 2023.
“As reported previously, preparations are at an advanced stage to open a satellite office in Tsabong to curtail expenses, as well as frequent long-distance trips to these areas, as it is currently serviced by the Lobatse DPP office,” Shamukuni said.
Shamukuni said that the takeover strategy is to enable a seamless and gradual takeover of prosecution from the BPS without overwhelming and overstretching the thin resources at its disposal.
According to Shamukuni, the implementation of the prosecution takeover project has increased the workload of the 211 prosecutors in the DPP establishment.
Furthermore, the Justice Minister said DPP statistics show that the DPP has a total of 11,903 cases and dockets as of January 2023. He indicated that this is a significant increase in the number of cases being handled by the DPP, considering that in November 2021, the DPP had just over 8,471 files.
â€śOut of the total case load, 8 382 are cases pending before various courts while 3521 are dockets received from law enforcement agencies of which 1 325 are awaiting service of summons while the rest are being assessed for suitability of prosecution or otherwiseâ€ť said Shamukuni.
He further stated that The DPP has consistently maintained an 80% success rate in matters completed at court.
â€śAs at the end of January 2023, the success rate stood at 82.3% against a target of 90% whilst the average performance in respect of turnaround time for conclusion of cases at court stood at 17.5 months against a target of 18 months,â€ť he said.
BACKLOG OF CASES â€“ LAND TRIBUNAL
Meanwhile, Minister Shamukuni has revealed that Gaborone land Tribunal is experiencing a backlog of cases. Before parliament this week, Shamukuni revealed that a total 230 appeals were completed for the period of April 2022- December 2022 and only 76.5% of them were completed within set time frame.
The minister said that the Gaborone division has experiencing a backlog of cases due to manpower constraints and he further indicated that presiding officers from other divisions have been brought in to expedite case disposal.
He further indicated that the land tribunal is a specialized court that has been empowered to resolve appeals arising from land boards. â€śIt has been mandated to determine appeals from the decisions of Physical planning committees of Districts Councilsâ€ť said Shamukuni.
Land Tribunal relocated to the Ministry of Justice from Ministry of Land and Water Affairs in November 2022.
â€śAn amount of P37, 842,670 is requested to cover salaries, allowance and other operational expenses for the Department of the land Tribunal,â€ť alluded Shamukuni
BCP, AP stalemate in 7 constituencies
When the Botswana Congress Party (BCP), Alliance for Progressives, Botswana Labour Party (BLP), and conveners reconvene next week, the controversial issue of allocation of the seven constituencies will be the main topic of discussion, WeekendPost can reveal.
Not only that, but the additional four constituencies will also dominate the talks. The idea is to finally close the “constituency allocation phase,” which has proven to be the most difficult part of the ongoing negotiations.
Earlier this year, the two parties announced that the marathon talks would be concluded by February. Even at a media briefing last month, BCP Secretary General Goretetse Kekgonegile and Publicity Secretary Dr. Mpho Pheko were optimistic that the negotiations would be concluded before the end of February.
However, it is now mid-March and the talks have yet to be concluded. What could be the reasons for the delay? This is a question that both Kekgonegile and Pheko have not responded to, as they have ignored the reporters’ inquiries. However, a senior figure within the party has confided to this publication as to what is delaying the highly anticipated negotiations.
“We are reconvening next week to finalize constituency allocations, taking into account the additional four new ones plus the outstanding seven,” he explained. It later surfaced that Gaborone Central, Gaborone North, Mogoditshane, Tswapong North, Francistown West, Tati West, and Nata Gweta are all contested by both BCP and AP. This is because the other 50 constituencies were allocated by December of last year.
The three parties have failed to find common ground for the Bosele Ward by-elections. Are these constituencies not a deal breaker for the talks? “None of the constituencies is a deal breaker,” responded a very calm BCP official.
In Bosele Ward, AP has yielded to BCP, despite most of its members disapproving the decision. On the other hand, BLP has refused, and it will face off with BCP together with Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) and Umbrella for Democratic Change (UDC).
The decision by BLP to face off with BCP has been labelled as a false start for the talks by political observers.