Desperation, anxiety and paranoia are some of the terms that some managers at the cash strapped BCL Mine are using to describe the environment at their workplace. Sources at the mine have revealed that the management is spending hundred thousands of money which they currently don’t have to tap on phones of their managers whom they suspect to be leaking information to the media. The environment is not conducive as we have to always look at our back and some of us have been accused of causing anxiety among the junior employees,” said the source. One of the alleged prime suspects for the leaking of information is said to be the former General Manager Montwedi Mphathi who left unceremoniously in 2011. On January 21, BCL is said to have tracked Mphathi who was in Gaborone for official business and followed him to one of opulent restaurant at Airport Junction Mall at around 8 in the evening.
“The main purpose of following him was to check whom he was meeting at the restaurant and whether he was going to share some confidential information that might be in his possession,” the source said. Later they allegedly tracked him to Phakalane Estate where he had another meeting. Mphathi, who is the first Motswana to be appointed general manager for BCL, is allegedly suspected by the current management of trying to influence processes. Recently during a meeting that the employees had with the MP for Selibe Phikwe West Dithapelo Keorapetse they called on the return of Mphathi. This is said to have angered the management who suspected that the former GM might have planted people to discredit the current Managing Director Dan Mahupela.
This publication has established that the relationship between Mphathi and his longtime friend BCL General Manager Dan Mahupela has gone sour. Ironically Mahupela, who took over from Mphathi, was also his best man when the latter tied the knot.
What went wrong between Mphathi and BCL Exco
Mphathi’s reign at BCL was mired in controversy. He was accused of paying himself a hefty salary of about P150 000 per month. In 2010 some members of management team are said to have written to the office of the President, requesting that Mphathi be investigated for some corrupt practices. When the new board was appointed led by Dr Akolang Tombale, they engaged KPMG to do a forensic audit at the tune of P8 million. Mphathi, who felt betrayed by his fellow colleagues in the Executive management, resigned as General Manager and joined Botash which was then struggling. The move shocked many and captains of the industry started to write his corporate career obituary. Since then Mphathi is said to have never communicated with his former colleagues at BCL but only when he informed them to inform FNB that he is longer the general manger as they were sending him confidential financials of the mine.
Shocked Mphathi responds
Contacted for comment Mphathi - who is currently the Managing Director of Botswana Ash - said that he was shocked that he is being tracked by BCL management and accused of leaking information. “Look I have nothing to do with BCL, my concentration right now is Botash and is where all my energies are channeled to,” said the visibly surprised Mphathi. He said his time at BCL was a bitter pill to swallow due to the consistent accusations of corruption which were never proven. He said that running a big mine like BCL can be stressful especially when the commodity prices are down but was quick to add that the current management has never approached him for any advice. Asked if he still have contacts with some employees at BCL regarding the current financial crisis, the Botash MD answered in negative and said that the last time he talked to BCL management was when he informed them to ask FNB to stop sending him some financial information to him as he is no longer in their employment. On his relationship with Mahupela, he said that though they are good friends they have not talked in a long time.