The University of Botswana (UB) and the Directorate on Corruption and Economic Crime (DCEC) hosted a breakfast seminar at Cresta Marang Gardens hotel under the theme “Pioneering Business Ethics in Botswana” on Thursday. Its agenda was to highlight the practise of ethics in business in Botswana as well as other factors that compromise fair business dealings while putting the spotlight on underhanded acts and other entrepreneurial practises that are fraught with corrupt or dubious traits. Both institutions have signed a Memorandum of Understanding to establish the Botswana Business Ethics Forum (BBEF), whose objective or mandate it is to sensitise both the public and private sector on ethics in business. The primary role of BBEF as is to advocate for ethics in business through stakeholder involvement. The seminar was the beginning of an outreach to cultivate this agenda and solicit support. The BBEF also views itself as the vanguard and mouthpiece for policy advancements, and regulation in facets of ethics, governance, integrity and related business tools. The seminar had an impressive array of speakers. One of the speakers Rebana Mmereki, chairperson of BBEF steering committee and also senior lecturer in the faculty of business at UB, touched on issues of ethics discussed by BBEF and DCEC which led to these two entities formulating a relationship that would specialize and focus on combating of unethical business practices.
Mmereki said the two stakeholders came together in 2013 to pursue an agenda advocating for ethics in business and fighting corruption. They later engaged the private sector under the auspices of Business Botswana to further perpetuate anti-corrupt ethical business behaviour. He also spoke of deterrents to corruption, such as whistle blowing, which he strongly supported as a positive action in the fight against corruption in business and the economy of Botswana as a whole. Mmereki insisted that corruption is a reality, saying despite Botswana’s high rating as being one of good governance and minimal corruption, unethical business practise, fraudulent and underhand business actions exist in the ‘dark crevices’ of our society. Abel Tabalaka, a lecturer at the faculty of business at the UB, provided a synopsis of various intrinsic traits of corruption. The keynote speaker Professor David Sebudubudu, UB's Deputy Vice Chancellor (Academic Affairs), outlined the partnership between UB and DCEC and assured the participants of the seminar that their relationship was long term and that UB was in it for the ‘long haul’ in terms of executing the mandate of the BBEF. Sebudubudu emphasized that the private sector plays a quintessential, vital role in inculcating ethical business practise within the entrepreneurial sector of business.