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OP’s P6 million MPs Avani expense illegal – PPADB

The parastatal organization, Public Procurement and Asset Disposal Board (PPADB) has come out with guns blazing at the foremost powerful Ministry of Presidential Affairs, Governance and Public Administration for “illegal” transactions that flouted the PPAD Act.

This emerged following PPADB’s decision on the 5th March 2020 board sitting that rejected the Ministry of Presidential Affairs and Public Administration’s request for a backdated approval with regard to a 6 million Pula debt to Avani Hotel pertaining to tender PPADB 0/5/1/6-2.
According to a PPADB official notice: “it was submitted on the 2nd March 2020, that the National Assembly’s retroactive approval request to pay Avani Hotel Resort & Casino an amount of BWP 6, 217, 751. 25 for accommodation and meals for Members of Parliament and their spouses, from 31st October 2019 to 20th December 2019” and that the “decision was not approved.”  

When approached by Weekend Post which sought clarity on the controversial matter, Public Relations and Education Manager Charles Keikotlhae, indeed confirmed that PPADB rejected the Office of the President’s request. “Yes, it is true,” he told this publication upon inquiries of the note’s authenticity. When quizzed on what grounds the decision was taken he vowed that it was on the basis that OP’s move was essentially unlawful – specifically that is in contravention of PPAD Act.

“The decision not to approve was premised on the submission not satisfying Section 44 (2) of the PPAD Act as read with Section 3 of the PPAD (Retroactive Approvals) Order of 2012,” the PPADB mouth piece explained. Section 44 (2) of the PPAD Act states that; “the Board may resolve to issue a retroactive approval on any bid issued or invitation to tender where it is satisfied that a procuring or disposing entity was required to proceed with the bid or invitation due to an urgent requirement or emergency arising from special circumstance.”

In addition, section 3 of the PPAD (Retroactive Approvals) Order, 2012 reads; “the Board may by resolution approve retroactively, a bid or invitation to tender issued by a procuring or a disposing entity where the job to be performed by a selected contractor or the service to be provided by a selected service provider is urgent and necessary – (a) to protect life; or (b) to protect the environment.”

According to PPADB spokesperson, in light of the prevailing circumstances, the Accounting Officer in the Ministry of Presidential Affairs, Governance and Public Administration should investigate the matter and determine the reasons that led to this non-compliance with the PPAD Act and take appropriate action against relevant officer(s) if reasons for their non-compliance are not justified.  He then cautioned that procuring entities are requested to improve procurement planning and to give procurement matters due attention as well as follow laid down guidelines depending on circumstances that prevail at a given time.

PPADB’s role clarified in 6 million MP debts

On the same token, the PPADB official went on to clarify that PPADB does not consider requests for payment rather PPADB only “considers requests for appointment of service providers.”  In this particular case he highlighted that Avani Resort and Casino was appointed “prior” to approval by the adjudicating authority (PPADB/Ministerial Tender Committee (MTC)).

Therefore, he added that the request by Office of the President was for retroactive appointment of Avani Resort and Casino for accommodation services and the Board “rejected the retroactive appointment.” On that note, Keikotlhae said the Ministry of Presidential Affairs, Governance and Public Administration should refer the request to pay for services rendered to the Ministry of Finance and Economic Development in line with Circular FDPC 85/2/7 20 (6) dated 27th July 2010.

Why PPADB stepped in on the procurement matter

The Board is empowered to promote procurement practices which will reap the benefits of economies of scale; and encourage competition as the mechanism through which value for money can be achieved; as well as upholding fairness and equitable treatment of contractors providing works, supplies and services to government to maintain a level playing field. In addition, the board also supports accountability and transparency in the management of public procurement and disposal of public assets; and ensures integrity, fairness and public confidence in the procurement and disposal process.

The Public Procurement and Asset Disposal Board (PPADB) was enacted by an Act of Parliament [Cap 42:08] of 2001 as a parastatal organisation, operating under the Ministry of Finance and Development Planning (MFDP). PPADB’s primary mandate is to adjudicate and award tenders for Central Government and any other institutions specified under the Act for the delivery of works, services and supplies related services.

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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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