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Mmutle-Phadi’s partners fight for WUC P500M windfall

Even before the ground breaking ceremony for the over P500 million Water Utilities Corporation (WUC) Goodhope water supply tender could take place, the many hands surrounding the tender are already fighting for the cake and even threatening to dissolve the winning company-G & M Building Services- if needs be for them to get their well-deserved share of the windfall.

The President’s sister, Boitumelo Phadi-Mmutle recently acquired shares in the company before it won the P549 699 654.79 Water Utilities Corporation tender amid fierce contestation. Phadi has not uttered a single word since the break of controversy surrounding the company. Following the dismissal of an appeal by one for the bidders, Landmark Projects by authorities, another crisis seems to have befallen the company, in what seems like another development likely to spoil the celebration party.

In a letter written through his lawyers, MK Moesi & Company Joseph Olebile Pilane, says at all material times until today, he has been a 40% Shareholder in the Company and was until sometimes last year a Director of the Company. “Client instructs that there is an apparent dispute which led to him being forced to resign as a Director of the Company in or around May 2021 after which the Company stopped paying him the monthly Director’s fee of P45 000.00 (Forty Five Thousand Pula) and other attendant benefits. That since May 2021 client has been barred by the Managing Director from attending to the business of the Company and further no divided has been paid to him,” reads the demand letter dated May 03 2022 to the company.

The letter continues: “Client is aware that at the time he was relieved of his duties as a Director of the Company, he has been involved in executing several tenders including the one for the Construction of Goodhope Sub-District Water Supply Scheme Phase 2.2 Contract to the total cost of P549 699 654.79 (Five Hundred and Forty Nine Million Six Hundred and Ninety Nine Thousand Six Hundred and Fifty Four Pula Seventy Nine Thebe). We are instructed that as a 40% Shareholder, client has a substantial interest in the business dealings and transactions of the company.”

Pilane’s lawyers say they are instructed to demand that G & M Building Services should within ten (10) days from the date of this letter, make a proposal regarding two being- the dealing of client’s shares in the company and unpaid Director’s fees amounting to over P500 000 in total. The lawyers say they hold instruction that failure to consider the demands, the company should be liquidated.

“If we do not hear from you within the aforesaid period, client shall take whatever steps available to him in terms of the Company Act including placing the Company under liquidation and or notifying the Company’s Stakeholders of the current situation of the Company,” further reads the letter.

In interview with this publication on Thursday, the Chief Executive Officer of WUC, Gaselemogwe Senai confirmed that several complaints were received against the tender, all of which were investigated but found to be without substance. “We investigated the complaints and all were dismissed. There was no enough evidence to proof the claims. We understand that some had registered their complaints to PPADB but their appeals were also dismissed. What we can say for now is that the company has been cleared from all accusations and have been offered the tender. We might start operations anytime if they have already accepted the offer,” said Senai.

It is not yet known what the fresh challenges or dispute mean to WUC and the tender’s undertaking, but sources say a legal challenge could disrupt the smooth running of the project. Both Phadi and business partner, have expressed no interest on talking to the media relating to this project.

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Over 2 000 civil servants interdicted

6th December 2022

Over 2,000 civil servants in the public sector have been interdicted for a variety of reasons, the majority of which are criminal in nature.

According to reports, some officers have been under interdiction for more than two years because such matters are still being investigated. Information reaching WeekendPost shows that local government, particularly councils, has the highest number of suspended officers.

In its annual report, the Directorate on Corruption and Economic Crime (DCEC) revealed that councils lead in corrupt activities throughout the country, and dozens of council employees are being investigated for alleged corrupt activities. It is also reported that disciplined forces, including the Botswana Defence Force (BDF), police, and prisons, and the Directorate of Intelligence and Security (DIS) have suspended a significant number of officers.

The Ministry of Education and Skills Development has also recorded a good number of teachers who have implicated in love relationships with students, while some are accused of impregnating students both in primary and secondary school. Regional education officers have been tasked to investigate such matters and are believed to be far from completion as some students are dragging their feet in assisting the investigations to be completed.

This year, Mmadinare Senior Secondary reportedly had the highest number of pregnancies, especially among form five students who were later forcibly expelled from school. Responding to this publication’s queries, Permanent Secretary to the Office of the President Emma Peloetletse said, “as you might be aware, I am currently addressing public servants across the length and breadth of our beautiful republic. Due to your detailed enquiry, I am not able to respond within your schedule,” she said.

She said some of the issues raised need verification of facts, some are still under investigation while some are still before the courts of law.

Meanwhile, it is close to six months since the Police Commissioner Keabetwe Makgophe, Director General of the Directorate on Corruption and Economic Crime (DCEC) Tymon Katlholo and the Deputy Director of the DIS Tefo Kgothane were suspended from their official duties on various charges.

Efforts to solicit comment from trade unions were futile at the time of going to press.

Some suspended officers who opted for anonymity claimed that they have close to two years while on suspension. One stated that the investigations that led him to be suspended have not been completed.

“It is heartbreaking that at this time the investigations have not been completed,” he told WeekendPost, adding that “when a person is suspended, they get their salary fully without fail until the matter is resolved”.

Makgophe, Katlholo and Kgothane are the three most high-ranking government officials that are under interdiction.

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Masisi to dump Tsogwane?

28th November 2022

Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) and some senior government officials are abuzz with reports that President Mokgweetsi Masisi has requested his Vice President, Slumber Tsogwane not to contest the next general elections in 2024.

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African DFIs gear to combat climate change

25th November 2022

The impacts of climate change are increasing in frequency and intensity every year and this is forecast to continue for the foreseeable future. African CEOs in the Global South are finally coming to the party on how to tackle the crisis.

Following the completion of COP27 in Egypt recently, CEOs of Africa DFIs converged in Botswana for the CEO Forum of the Association of African Development Finance Institutions. One of the key themes was on green financing and building partnerships for resource mobilization in financing SDGs in Africa

A report; “Weathering the storm; African Development Banks response to Covid-19” presented shocking findings during the seminar. Among them; African DFI’s have proven to be financially resilient, and they are fast shifting to a green transition and it’s financing.

COO, CEDA, James Moribame highlighted that; “Everyone needs food, shelter and all basic needs in general, but climate change is putting the achievement of this at bay. “It is expensive for businesses to do business, for instance; it is much challenging for the agricultural sector due to climate change, and the risks have gone up. If a famer plants crops, they should be ready for any potential natural disaster which will cost them their hard work.”

According to Moribame, Start-up businesses will forever require help if there is no change.

“There is no doubt that the Russia- Ukraine war disrupted supply chains. SMMEs have felt the most impact as some start-up businesses acquire their materials internationally, therefore as inflation peaks, this means the exchange rate rises which makes commodities expensive and challenging for SMMEs to progress. Basically, the cost of doing business has gone up. Governments are no longer able to support DFI’s.”

Moribame shared remedies to the situation, noting that; “What we need is leadership that will be able to address this. CEOs should ensure companies operate within a framework of responsible lending. They also ought to scout for opportunities that would be attractive to investors, this include investors who are willing to put money into green financing. Botswana is a prime spot for green financing due to the great opportunity that lies in solar projects. ”

Technology has been hailed as the economy of the future and thus needs to be embraced to drive operational efficiency both internally and externally.

Executive Director, bank of Industry Nigeria, Simon Aranou mentioned that for investors to pump money to climate financing in Africa, African states need to be in alignment with global standards.

“Do what meets world standards if you want money from international investors. Have a strong risk management system. Also be a good borrower, if you have a loan, honour the obligation of paying it back because this will ensure countries have a clean financial record which will then pave way for easier lending of money in the future. African states cannot just be demanding for mitigation from rich countries. Financing needs infrastructure to complement it, you cannot be seating on billions of dollars without the necessary support systems to make it work for you. Domestic resource mobilisation is key. Use public money to mobilise private money.” He said.

For his part, the Minster of Minister of Entrepreneurship, Karabo Gare enunciated that, over the past three years, governments across the world have had to readjust their priorities as the world dealt with the effects and impact of the COVID 19 pandemic both to human life and economic prosperity.

“The role of DFIs, during this tough period, which is to support governments through countercyclical measures, including funding of COVID-19 related development projects, has become more important than ever before. However, with the increasingly limited resources from governments, DFIs are now expected to mobilise resources to meet the fiscal gaps and continue to meet their developmental mandates across the various affected sectors of their economies.” Said Gare.

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