• Govt sponsors 28 for bogus Degree course
• Degree not registerable with the Health Professions Council
• MoH pays telephone bills of former minister
Government has wasted millions of pula in sending students to study Biotechnology in Malaysia, whom it has turned pout, cannot be employed by the Ministry of Health and Wellness nor engage in private practice as Biotechnologists.
In her report for the year ended 31 March, 2017, the Auditor General Pulane Letebele has described the situation as disheartening that a large number of students would be sponsored for studies abroad by Government department without ensuring that the placement and training of these students was relevant and would be beneficial to the country.
Government sent about 28 students to study in Malaysia enrolled for a four year period of study in Bitechnology and have all completed and retuned home. Eight of those were sent in 2013 while 20 were sent the following year in 2014 but all of them, it has emerged, are currently unemployed in line with their field of training.
The Auditor General said the summation of this situation is that the resources expended on long-term training of these students abroad, by no means insubstantial, have not benefitted the country in terms of achieving the objective of the sponsorship, which was for the students to come back after their studies and contribute to the economy at a level commensurate with their training.
Letebele said after scrutinizing correspondences between the students had been sponsored by Government through the Department of Tertiary Education Financing (DTEF), to study Degree courses in Biotechnology in Malaysia and the ministry regarding their employment, it became evident that these students would not be hired by the ministry nor engage in practice as Biotechnologists in Botswana. The main and only reason being that this Degree course is not registerable with the Botswana Health Professions Council (BHPC) under the Botswana Health Professional Act.
Still within the Ministry of Health and Wellness, Letebele has written that the ministry has overspent its financial provision by over P7 million, largely because of major over-expenditures under the Department of Clinical Services. The Auditor General says after examining the payrolls of the ministry, the results indicated some shortcomings and weaknesses that needed urgent investigations and corrective action in respect of the undernoted matters. It is reported that officers were on the payroll system whose posts did not exist in the personnel management system, for which no explanation could be offered.
Furthermore, it is has been observed that officers who were not entitled to benefits by reason of service having been terminated or any other cause continued to enjoy allowances while other officers were overpaid. “The accounts of the Accountant General indicate the figure as P5 480 052 as at 31 March 2017, of which P4 304 513 (79%) was non-moving,” Letebele said.
The report of the Auditor General notes that an examination of the records for the payment of utilities had revealed that telephone bills at the residence of the former Minister had continued to be paid from the Ministry vote from 2014 to-date. In this case, the former minister is expected to reimburse the ministry from his or her own account. The Auditor General says despite the significance of the above, and other matters raised, at the timing of writing the report, she had not received the Accounting Officer’s responses.