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Debswana institutes forensic probe in lawsuit relating to former MD

The Late and Former Debswana Managing Director: Albert Milton

Debswana Diamond Company has engaged an independent forensic investigation firm following suspension of key personnel in the organisation amid a reported P110 million outstanding bill for services rendered.

While Debswana has denied liability for the bill, or having any agreement, the company this week confirmed to WeekendPost that broad-based investigations have been instituted at the organisation.

So far, Senior Human Resource Manager, Head of Security and his deputy have been suspended. However sources have indicated that more people have been involved in the matter and were aware of the services offered by Infotrac (Pty) Ltd.

According to information passed on to this publication, most services offered to Debswana by Infotrac have been of covert nature. It is also apparent that Infotrac has serviced Debswana for several years.

In the past, Infotrac reportedly supplied spying security equipment to the organisation. However, change of guard at the organisation could have led to cut of ties between the two parties, or lack of an understanding.

Debswana is currently under the tutelage of Lynette Armstrong, on interim basis, following the passing of Albert Milton, the man at the centre of the debacle.

Infotrac claims it was engaged by Debswana, to determine among others the suitability of the late and former Managing Director Albert Milton to be appointed to the post.

The service was occasioned by ploy by some in the organisation to try to deny Milton the opportunity to be appointed to the top post on the basis that he was not suitable for the post for various reasons relating to his integrity.

After being briefed by some in the echelons of power at Debswana, Infotrac was given a scope of work in which it was expected to deliver its findings.

The findings were however favourable to Milton, resulting in his appointment as Debswana boss, succeeding Balisi Bonyongo in December 2018.

According to court documents, there was an oral contract between Debswana and Infotrac to provide other services. The nature of the services were however not specified in the documents.

Following Debswana’s refusal to pay the bill, Infotrac dragged the matter to court to seek relief because it was convinced that it was being bullied by the mining giant. There are fears that Infotrac will reveal a lot of shocking information about Debswana operations in order to prove its track record with Debswana.

However, Debswana has chosen to conduct its own investigation with relation to its liability in the said bill. “There are target dates for the completion of the investigation which we are not at liberty to share, however, the investigation is being conducted as expeditiously as the current circumstances permit,” Rachael Mothibatsela, Debswana Head of Corporate Affairs told WeekendPost this week.

“Because of the nature of the investigation, Debswana cannot share details of the investigation, save to say that the investigation is a broad-based one and is being conducted by an independent forensic investigation firm. In addition, the details of the investigation cannot be shared in order to preserve the integrity of the investigation process.”

Debswana declined to comment on an inquiry on the supposed involvement of other staff members, who despite suspension of three others, were not side-lined. WeekendPost is privy that despite only three being suspended, there were seven heads of department involved in the matter, including Head of Group Legal (name withheld).

“If there are any more officers who are alleged to have been involved in the matter then the forensic investigation will reveal that. The investigation into the allegations made are at an extremely sensitive stage and any information released to any third party whosoever, could seriously jeopardise the investigations and Debswana’s efforts at getting to the truth,” Mothibatsela said.

This publication also inquired on a memo sent by Debswana to staff following the suspension of a trio in senior management in which the organisation portrayed the matter to have been a case of a whistle-blower despite management knowing it was a claimant who is now suing the organisation.

In response Mothibatsela said: “Debswana cannot be drawn into discussing its internal engagements with employees, suffice to say that there has not been a misrepresentation and we can confirm that an investigation is being conducted by an independent forensic investigator.

The investigation has been commissioned as a consequence of, inter alia, Debswana’s internal policies on corporate governance to investigate all issues pertaining to the subject matter of the investigation.”

In the court documents, Infotrac seeks to be paid P110 million for services rendered as well as 10 percent interest rate from date of breach to date of full and final reach.

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Gov’t shy to shame failing ministers

22nd February 2021
Morwaeng

Minister of Presidential Affairs, Governance and Public Administration, Kabo Morwaeng together with Permanent Secretary to the President (PSP) Elias Magosi, this week refused to name and shame the worst performing Ministries and to disclose the best performing Ministries since beginning of 12th parliament including the main reasons for underperformance.

Of late there have been a litany of complaints from both ends of the aisle with cabinet members accused of providing parliament with unsatisfactory responses to the questions posed. In fact for some Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) backbenchers a meeting with the ministers and party leadership is overdue to address their complaints. Jwaneng-Mabutsane MP, Mephato Reatile is also not happy with ministers’ performance.

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Bokamoso, Gov’t in P10M womb removal suit

22nd February 2021
Bokamoso

Bokamoso Private Hospital is battling a P10 million legal suit for a botched fibroids operation which resulted in a woman losing an entire womb and her prospects of bearing children left at zero.

The same suit has also befallen the Attorney General of Botswana who is representing the Ministry of Health and Wellness for their contributory negligence of having the unlawful removal of a patient, Goitsemang Magetse’s womb.

According to the court papers, Magetse says that sometimes in November 2019, she was diagnosed with fibroids at Marina Hospital where upon she was referred to Bokamoso Private Hospital to schedule an appointment for an operation to remove the fibroids, which she did.

Magetse continues that at the instance of one Dr Li Wang, the surgeon who performed the operation, and unknown to her, an operation to remove her whole womb was conducted instead.
According to Magetse, it was only through a Marina Hospital regular check-up that she got to learn that her whole womb has been removed.

“At the while she was under the belief that only her fibroids have been removed. By doing so, the hospital has subjected itself to some serious delictual liability in that it performed a serious and life changing operation on patient who was under the belief that she was doing a completely different operation altogether. It thus came as a shock when our client learnt that her womb had been removed, without her consent,” said Magetse’s legal representatives, Kanjabanga and Associates in their summons.

The letter further says, “this is an infringement of our client‘s rights and this infringement has dire consequences on her to the extent that she can never bear children again”. ‘It is our instruction therefore, to claim as we hereby do, damages in the sum of BWP 10,000,000 (ten million Pula) for unlawful removal of client’s womb,” reads Kanjabanga Attorneys’ papers. The defendants are yet to respond to the plaintiff’s papers.

What are fibroids?

Fibroids are tumors made of smooth muscle cells and fibrous connective tissue. They develop in the uterus. It is estimated that 70 to 80 percent of women will develop fibroids in their lifetime — however, not everyone will develop symptoms or require treatment.

The most important characteristic of fibroids is that they’re almost always benign, or noncancerous. That said, some fibroids begin as cancer — but benign fibroids can’t become cancer. Cancerous fibroids are very rare. Because of this fact, it’s reasonable for women without symptoms to opt for observation rather than treatment.

Studies show that fibroids grow at different rates, even when a woman has more than one. They can range from the size of a pea to (occasionally) the size of a watermelon. Even if fibroids grow that large, we offer timely and effective treatment to provide relief.

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Masisi warned against a sinking Botswana

22nd February 2021
Ndaba GAolatlhe

The Alliance for Progressives (AP) President Ndaba Gaolathe has said that despite major accolades that Botswana continues to receive internationally with regard to the state of economy, the prospects for the future are imperilled.

Delivering his party Annual Policy Statement on Thursday, Gaolathe indicated that Botswana is in a state of do or die, and that the country’s economy is on a sick bed. With a major concern for poverty, Gaolathe pointed out that almost half of Botswana’s people are ravaged by or are about to sink into poverty.  “Our young people have lost the fire to dream about what they could become,” he said.

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