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The Observer: Of BITC, thuggery and gansterism!

SHARE   |   Monday, 05 December 2016   |   By Simon Gabathuse
The Observer: Of BITC, thuggery and gansterism!

The rot at the Botswana International Trade Centre (BITC) is coming out so painfully that one cannot just wish it away. Actually it is not just the rot, it is gansterism and thuggery. It is looting, fraud and Satanism all combined. It is becoming increasingly clear that for a long time now, those tasked with providing BITC with cloud of dignity, inspiration and care are the ones who have been milking it dry. So essentially BITC is a just a club of looters and gangsters. I feel ashamed that such an institution can be turned into a cash cow by such youngsters! I am refusing to use words that are kind in a situation that is not kind. These people totally forgot what they said when they sat before interview panels after having applied for jobs at BITC. They were hired on what they said at interviews; they presented themselves as messiahs and as competent. It will appear that they have fooled the character competency test as well. We have submitted in this very space last week that the Directorate on Corruption and Economic Crime must initiate action. It must investigate, litigate and ensure culprits are locked in prison and keys thrown away. The job has been done easy for it by the BITC internal audit that just came out of that beautiful and magnificent building yet filled by unscrupulous beings. Passing by that building I now look at it with shame. I used to look at it with pride that work was being done to protect the future of Botswana. Little did I know that public funds were being used to pay for pyjamas, alcohol, sex and all that which is far from that which should be paying for by a public institution!

I express at this space that I am not interested in what or how the BITC will handle the thieves within its power centre stage. I am not interested in those internal funny disciplinary processes and hearings which could, or rather must result is summary dismissal of thieves. I am more worried that the DCEC might delay that which it must do immediately. I don’t see any problem here. I see the job of the DCEC so easy and straight forward in that there is a Chief Executive Officer of the same institution who has already told the Guma Moyo-led committee of Parliament that there is a long standing problem with that those who are supposed to be trustworthy within the institution. There is also the internal audit report that points to not only lack of accountability but deliberate thieving. The damage is surely beyond comprehension. The DCEC must get involved and investigate all tenders given out. We need to know how service providers have been hired. We need to revisit the bank accounts of these officers and go audit their lifestyles. They must justify each and every Thebe and each and every asset. There should not be anything like privacy when we have been robbed day light by those we had entrusted to safe guard our interests. We need to go beyond each and every aspect of their lives and demand justification. The Financial Intelligence Authority has been set up for situations like this. It has a clear task and public expectation to meet. It must also act. We need all records of meetings that they have had with overseas boyfriends and girlfriends they call ‘potential investors’. We should not be paying for people to travel for leisure when we have a bleeding economy. They have been using public entity travel allowances to pay for their children education and resorting to credit cards criminality on duty to reimburse themselves so they could have flashy lifestyles. They have been paying for household furniture including groceries using travel allowances deliberately knowing that they shall use public entity credit cards to cover for their misgivings. They are nothing else but thieves.

They have been using travel allowances to pay for expensive dresses and suits and recovering the money from public accounts. When we are all shouting at public officers and politicians to account, they see in us nothing else but a bunch of fools. They must pay for these. All of them, including those non-BITC officials who are said by the internal audit report to have used BITC credit cards without authorisation. That is defined as fraud. They must be brought to book to account. We need to recover every single Thebe that was stolen from us paying for alcohol and pyjamas. Here we are decrying BCL, BMC, Tati Nickel etc. and yet here we are again within our midst are those who are taking advantage of us. These are tough economic times. Those actively involved in economic crime with such pace and intention must face the wrath. Actually, they must be paraded in public and labelled as those who stole our money to buy luxurious cars and luxurious houses. The Guma Moyo-led committee must also ensure that it is not just a talk shop. It must follow up with relevant authorities of crimes against economy, particularly in the case of BITC. This is just too much to be left unattended. I detest all of them and feel ashamed that they belong to a generation of hope.
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