DCEC informer’s saga

SHARE   |   Monday, 01 August 2016   |   By Ditiro Motlhabane

The Directorate on Corruption and Economic Crime’s (DCEC) ability to protect sources of information (informers) will be put to test next week when Statistics Botswana (SB) squares off in court against one of its employees who is accused of leaking confidential information.  An employee of SB, Marang Teisi, is fighting to save her job after she was suspended and later summoned to a disciplinary hearing on suspicion that she leaked confidential information to the media, exposing the rot at the parastatal. Issues included ranged from controversial recruitment, appointments and dismissals, unfair labour practices, and allegations of misappropriation of funds. As the author of the document, which she later availed to DCEC following a formal request from the graft busters, Teisi was later fingered by her employer (SB) as the mole who fed the media with information in her custody. Notwithstanding her protestation and denial of any knowledge of how the document was leaked to the newspapers, she was dragged through a protracted disciplinary hearing, which dragged on into 2016. 

The Patriot on Sunday is in possession of documents showing that on August 25, 2015 Teisi appealed for the intervention of DCEC to protect her using provisions of the Corruption and Economic Crimes Act after providing information to them in confidence. "I provided a statement to you on the investigations which you carried out regarding staff appointments, tendering and award of a tender for the payroll system installation at Statistics Botswana last year...in confidence. Of late I am being pestered by SB Internal Auditor and the Director Corporate Services over the contents of the statement which I provided to you. I have made it clear that I shall never discuss the information I provided to DCEC with anyone, including them," reads part of Teisi's letter to DCEC Director Rose Seretse, which was received by one K. Peloetletse on August 26. Another letter updating DCEC on the matter was written on August 31, 2015. DCEC never acted on the matter, at least according to correspondence on the record.

Statistician General (SG) Anna Majelantle suspended Teisi from work on August 26 with immediate effect, pending an on-going investigation after the latter refused to discuss the statement she had provided to the DCEC demanding that the request be made in writing specifying what was needed from her. Majelantle suspended her "with regards to the leakage on information within the organisation in the past months. Your involvement in the leakage has been alleged and therefore forms part of the investigation". Teisi was notified of her charges on December 03, 2015. The first charge was; improper disclosure of any information in respect of the affairs of SB, which emanated from a series of stories published by The Patriot on Sunday between January and March 2015. The media reports had prompted an investigation by Parliament into the goings-on at SB. Prior to these developments the DCEC had issued notices to investigate SB for lease of office space; acquisition of assets from FNB; and some of the appointments it made. 

The second charge was; abuse of office, by accessing confidential information for private gain. In the charge sheet the Director Corporate Services Jabulani Dick accused Teisi of 'stealing' information from confidential personal files to fulfill the request from DCEC to furnish them with information from the Registry. "It appears that you used your position as the supervisor to the head of Registry to access confidential information for private gain, which is to pass such information to the newspaper in order to discredit SB Management," he said. Dick said the two charges amount to a breach of SB regulations and conditions. On January 20, 2016 the panel hearing the matter concluded that Teisi be charged with "Improper disclosure of any information in respect of the affairs of Statistics Botswana", which carries a penalty of dismissal without notice. The verdict was recorded as summary dismissal, and recommended to the Statistician General, which culminated in Teisi being fired. She has since filed a lawsuit at Lobatse High Court challenging her dismissal.