BITC CEO and his team must be investigated

SHARE   |   Monday, 28 November 2016   |   By Simon Gabathuse
BITC CEO and his team must be investigated

The Botswana Investment and Trade Centre must not be allowed to walk away with negligence. This is a bad example that we will be setting to other organisations entrusted with providing for the future economic welfare of a nation. It is not enough that the Chief Executive Officer of BITC can simply answer to a Parliamentary committee that he has all along suspected that senior officers at BITC were abusing official credit cards yet he only mentions that when being questioned about it. He is simply saying that he admits that such has happened under his eye. We must keep it in mind throughout these revelations that the Chief Executive Officer of BITC has been deployed to BITC to represent the Minister of Investment, Trade and Industry. In other words he has been delegated by the Minister to hold fort for him. In reality, it is the Minister who is not doing his job. We do not know Mr. Letsebe Sejoe, we never as a nation gave him the BITC to lead. We have as a nation given it to the President of the country who has constitutionally given it to the Minister. The President of the country and the Minister, in the light of this situation might want to agree amongst themselves as to who in particular is embezzling our money. I don’t care; I just want the money back and culprits to face justice. It is not only at BITC, it is in all other public entities where thieving has become a culture. I don’t care if you steal sugar from your mother’s kitchen. But YES, once you steal from that which belongs to me then you have naturally so attracted my attention. The Minister of Investment, Trade and Industry has delegated Mr Letsebe Sejoe to hold fort for him. We do not have a say as the public as to who the Minister appoints, or to be precise, delegate and assign some of his duties to. All we know is that we have in our ownership an institution called the BITC which we fund from our public coffers; we being the public. And we all should stand up against our taxes, our hard earned money in a melting economy being splashed recklessly through credit cards by whoever is being alleged to be a having a daily Christmas party using our public institution. In reality, we are being played for fools.

How do we trust that Mr. Letsebe Sejoe is in a position to lead an organisation tasked with luring in foreign investors when he can’t manage such a simple thing as usage of a company credit card? This brings more questions to his capacity. It also sheds light on his personality. One may wonder about his fitness to hold such a hugely tasked institution. He is simply telling the nation that he is not capable. That he cannot take care of national and public coffers. What more are we not being told? This question is appropriate because he only got to admit this wrong when it was mentioned to him by the chairman of the parliamentary committee, Member of Parliament for Tati East, Honourable Samson Guma Moyo. One may wonder what more malpractice is being concealed.
Is the BITC Chief Executive Officer simply telling us that he is a part of the fraud, and possibly corruption, that for the fear of smearing a dark cloud on him one might politely call economic malpractices? But I need to point out that embezzlement of public funds and misuse of the same are too different things. The Directorate of Corruption and Economic Crime has a better way of putting it; Economic Crime! That brings about a strong connotation that in such an instances, where such an allegation arises, the DCEC is within its confines of legal existence to instigate an investigation. In the event that any wrong has been identified, culprits are brought upfront to face justice. That is a fair way of saying, in the interest of clearing the Chief Executive Officer of BITC, the DCEC must step in. The DCEC will also in the process be clearing those senior officers that the Chief Executive Officer of BITC is, by answering questions from the parliamentary committee, inevitably implicating. If any of those that he mentions are not cleared by the investigations, they will have to be prosecuted. But in as far as I am concerned he has failed to take action when he began to grasp grain of misuse of credit cards. Such failure to take action is possibly a clear sign he is incapable. In the event that the head of a very important institution such as the BITC is incapable to take action against abuse of public funds, then we have a problem. Then to put it bluntly, our monies and foreign investment expectations are in wrong hands.

What also needs to come out clear is how much exactly has been used through these credit cards. I must repeat that these credit cards are maintained by the public coffers. And in this instance, the public coffers have been misused. In this whole process we must as the public be within our rightful expectation for refunds. The economy of Botswana is in such a mess; every Thebe lost is a step towards retrenchment in one of the public institutions. It is also disheartening that the very looters, at the very most, will be the ones shouting victimisation when such a drastic measure becomes inevitable. Responsible organs of the state must do their job. We must go after all culprits. We must bring them to book. We must prosecute. We must win the cases against them. And we must use them as an example to their peers in other public institutions that we have had enough. This is just too much to contemplate. Public institutions are closing down because the people entrusted, delegated to head them are so reckless with public coffers that they even end up using credit cards to pay for things that they are already being salaried and allowanced to take care of. I will not be surprised that amongst items bought through these credit cards include underwear, lingerie, birthday presents, cigars and commodities that are not theirs. We are told in developed countries prostitutes carry swiping machines. You will be shocked. Don’t say I did not tell you when the revelations finally come out.
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