Mmegi Online :: BTO’s UK office in shambles
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Last Updated
Wednesday 17 January 2018, 23:00 pm.
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BTO’s UK office in shambles

Operations at the Botswana Tourism Organisation’s (BTO) United Kingdom (UK) office have been allowed to run uncontrolled and unmonitored, exposing the parastatal to a risk of misappropriation of funds, an audit has uncovered.
By Pauline Dikuelo Fri 16 Sep 2016, 18:00 pm (GMT +2)
Mmegi Online :: BTO’s UK office in shambles








According to a report presented to a Parliamentary Committee on Statutory Bodies and Public Enterprises this week, a BTO representative at the office works under an inconsistent employment contract while she has also undertaken some significant projects with third parties without expressed approval from superiors.

“An internal control environment on the operations of the UK BTO office is inadequate and for the most part controls are not in existence at all. The office’s internal controls covering areas such as procurement, financial management and reporting, performance management and monitoring, asset management and human resources have not been established,” read part of the report.

According to the report, there were instances where assets that were purchased by the representative do not appear in the asset registration for BTO, as there was no formal communication between the Finance department and the UK BTO office on the issue with the representative claiming not to be aware of the procedure that needs to be followed.

The report also indicated that a BTO UK account held with Barclays Bank in London has frequent instances of overdraft balances. From the reviewed bank statements covering the period between January 2010 and May 2014, an internal audit has noted 14 balances of overdraft, which increase the cost of doing business for the organisation.

Due to unavailability of the credit card, the representative settles most of all her payments through cheque payments, as the representative has no credit card.

“As a result when required to pay using credit card such as airline payments, she then has to be reimbursed at a later stage. In the process, she is effectively

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paying herself as she is one of the signatories,” reads part of the report.

The same goes for her assistant, a tourism information officer, who started working for the UK BTO office in 2010 on secondment from High Commission and has had inconsistent contract periods.

According to the report, the employment contract for the UK based BTO officer has not been formally reviewed to determine her performance with regard to agreed terms and conditions since employment in 2007.

The audit has also unveiled that the organisation has not devised Conditions of Service (COS) suitable to the representative. 

The representative is governed by the COS governed by the BTO staff in Botswana, which are not wholly practical for UK residing persons.  The UK representative was still employed on Conditions of Service from 2006 and not the revised 2013 stipulations. The report further alleges that a marketing plan within which the representative operates does not carry targets of what needs to be addressed. 

The audit suggested that the BTO should undertake a whole assessment of appropriate operational frameworks within the UK BTO office that needs to operate under and have them cascaded to the two officers in the UK.

It also suggested that the organisation should have performance reviews and targets for the UK representative and must adhere to schedule of performance reviews, both midterm and year end.

It was also recommended that management needs to make proper plans going forward of how the UK BTO office is to operate.  

This would include the UK office employee contract of employment, which should be aligned to the BTO normal length of employment contract.

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