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Morwaeng’s remuneration of politicians Bill halted

Standing Committee on Remuneration (Members of the National Assembly, councillors, Ntlo Ya Dikgosi and Specified Offices) was withdrawn and will be tabled normally in the July sitting.

The Minister of Presidential Affairs, Governance and Public Administration Kabo Morwaeng first presented the Bill to the general assembly in February 2021 but later withdrawn after facing stiff resistance. On March 31, 2022 Morwaeng yet again tried to table the Bill brought under ‘unclear’ certificate of urgency but it yet again faced resistance in the follow of Parliament. The Bill has not yet reached its maturity as it was re-published in the Government Gazette on March 25, 2022.

One Member of Parliament said the Bill which was first published on February 19, 2021 was withdrawn because clearly the stakeholders were not consulted. “Specified officers were not defined either. The Bill was brought under certificate of urgency without convincing reasons why the Minister would want to deny stakeholders the chance to scrutinise the Bill. The Minister is asking Parliament to pass the Bill as it is urgently but it is not yet matured,” he said.

He added that it is unclear why the Bill is urgency. The legislator asserted: “However the opposition is likely to reject the Bill. Our position is that like other similar committees before it the proposed committee lacks independence. The role of the Minister and its composition makes the committee to be under the tight grip of government”.

Another MP who also did not want to be named said the influence of the Executive on the committee is immense. “Unconfirmed reports suggest that the committee will serve the interest of the ruling Botswana Democratic Party in respect of managing their succession plan.

It is said that the party seeks to replace the current Vice President Slumber Tsogwane with a loyalist like Minister Peggy Serame. As such they want to introduce a pension for the position of Vice President and a monthly allowance for the First Lady,” he said.

The object of this Bill which Morwaeng intends to present to the National Assembly is to establish the Standing Committee on Remuneration (Members of the National Assembly, councillors, Ntlo Ya Dikgosi and Specified Offices). The committee shall be responsible for assessing the remunerations and conditions of service of members of the National Assembly, councillors, specified offices and members of Ntlo Ya Dikgosi.

The committee shall be composed of members appointed by the Minister such as a Chairperson, who shall be a retired Judge or a legal practitioner with at least 10 years of experience. There shall be a person with experience in political matters and a person with experience relating to Bogosi. Other members shall be persons with experience in public administration or human resources, law and financial matters.

Ex-officio members of the committee and shall have the right to vote. These are Permanent Secretaries in the Ministry responsible for Presidential Affairs, Justice and Finance. The Minister responsible for finance shall appoint the secretary for the committee.

“The functions of the committee shall be to assess the remunerations and conditions of service of members of the National Assembly, councillors, specified offices and members of Ntlo Ya Dikgosi and make recommendations to the Minister and the Minister responsible for finance within 30 days after any assessment under Subsection (1) has been made,” read the Bill.

The committee may, in the exercise of its functions, order any public officer or any government entity to provide any information in the possession or under the control of such officer or entity. Subject to the provisions of this Act, the committee shall regulate its own procedure for meetings. “The committee shall have at least two meetings in a year for the discharge of its functions, and such meetings shall be held at such places and times as the Chairperson may determine.

A quorum for a meeting of the committee shall be a simple majority of its members. A member shall be paid such allowances and such travelling, accommodation and subsistence expenses incurred during his or her service on the committee and shall be determined by the Minister.

“If a member appointed under Section 3(2) is present at a meeting of the committee at which any matter in which the member or immediate family member of the member is directly or indirectly interested in a private capacity is the subject of consideration, the member shall as soon as practicable after announcement of the meeting, disclose such interest and shall not, unless the committee, otherwise directs, take part in any consideration or discussion of, or vote on, any question touching on the matter.”

When a member fails to disclose his or her interest in accordance with Subsection (1) and a decision by the committee is made benefitting such a member, or an immediate family member of the member, such member or decision shall be null and void to the extent that it benefits such member of family member. “A member who fails to comply with the provisions of Subsection (1) commits an offence and is liable to a fine not exceeding P10, 000, or to imprisonment for a term not exceeding one year, or to both.”

A member shall observe and preserve the confidentiality of all matters coming before the committee and such confidentiality shall subsist even after the termination of their terms of office or their mandates. Any member or any person to whom confidential information revealed through working with the committee shall not disclose the information to any other person unless he or she is required to do so in terms of any written law or for purposes of any judicial proceedings.

Any member or any other person who contravenes the provisions of this Section commits an offence and is liable to a fine not exceeding P10, 000, or to imprisonment for a term not exceeding one year, or both.

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Why Katholo engaged private lawyers against State

16th May 2022
Katlholo

The Director General of the Directorate on Corruption and Economic Crime (DCEC) Tymon Katholo has revealed why he took a decision to engage private lawyers against the State. The DCEC boss engaged Monthe and Marumo Attorneys in his application to interdict the Directorate of Intelligence and Security (DIS) from accessing files and dockets in the custody of the corruption busting agency.

In his affidavit, Katholo says that by virtue of my appointment as the Director General of the DCEC, he is obliged to defend the administration and operational activities of the DCEC. He added that, “I have however been advised about a provision in the State Proceedings Act which grants the authority of public institution to undertake legal proceedings to the Attorney General.” Katholo contends that the provision is not absolute and the High Court may in the exercise of its original jurisdiction permit such, like in this circumstance authorise such proceedings to be instituted by the DCEC or its Director General.

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Dada to break Kwelagobe’s BDP long standing record

16th May 2022
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Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) has gone through transformation over the years, with new faces coming and going, but some figures have become part and parcel of the furniture at Tsholetsa House. From founding in 1962, BDP has seen five leaders changing the baton during the party’s 60 years of existence. The party has successfully contested 12 general elections, albeit the outcome of the last polls were disputed in court.

While party splits were not synonymous with the BDP for the better part of its existence, the party suffered two splits in the last 12 years; the first in 2010 when a Barataphathi faction broke ranks to found the now defunct Botswana Movement for Democracy (BMD). The Barataphathi faction was in the main protesting the ill-treatment of then recently elected party secretary general, Gomolemo Motswaledi, who had been suspended ostensibly for challenging the authority of then president, Ian Khama.

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The Gulaam Husain Abdoola – Dubai sting detailed

16th May 2022
Gulaam Husain Abdoola

Mr Abdoola has known Mr. Uzair Razi for many years from the time he was a young boy. Uzair’s father, Mr Razi Ahmed, was the head of BCCI Bank in Botswana and “a very good man,” his close associates say.

Uzair and his wife went to settle in Dubai, the latter’s birthplace. He stayed in touch and was working for a real estate company owned by Mr. Sameer Lakhani. “Our understanding is that Uzair approached Mr. Abdoola to utilize their services for any property-related interests in Dubai. He did some work for Mr.Abdoola and others in the Botswana business community,” narrates a friend of Mr Abdoola.

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