The Directorate on Corruption and Economic Crime (DCEC) has set up an anti-corruption task force to probe dealings around the multi-billion Pula Economic Stimulus Programme (ESP), Mmegi has learnt.
Director general of the DCEC, Rose Seretse told journalists yesterday that the task force had already conducted spot checks on ESP projects across the country.
“To date, spot checks have been conducted in the Central, North West, Gantsi and Southern Districts as well as Francistown,” she said. “They have helped minimise risks with the projects as they are being completed on time and are delivered to specification.
The checks have also ensured that costs do not escalate unnecessarily.” Government plans to spend more than P4 billion under the ESP and at present, the initiative has more than 3,652 active projects across 10 ministries. Many of the projects such as construction of classrooms are behind schedule while others have been delivered with sub-quality work and/or materials.
Seretse said despite the country’s generally “clean” international image, the DCEC faced challenges in corrupt activities such as conflict of interest, collusion, influence peddling, nepotism, falsification of land certificates, titles and underhand sale of land. She said last year alone, the DCEC probed 26 land-related
“Other common problems include procurement especially micro-highly inflated prices of goods and services when procured for government which in most cases is done with a corrupt motive, bribery, leakage of confidential bidding information for a benefit and collusion between private companies and public officers.”
The director urged the media to always exercise due care in safeguarding the integrity of law enforcement such as the DCEC, particularly in areas relating to the premature release of information about on-going investigations.
Botswana Media and Allied Workers Union (BOMAWU) president, Phillimon Mmeso said journalists were worried by the tussle between government and media houses, which has led to government withdrawing advertising from the private media.
He said the move makes it difficult for the media to assist in fighting corruption as some media houses are now forced to “kill stories” for adverts in order to stay afloat in the market. Mmeso said such instances were worrisome and needed all stakeholders to join hands so that Batswana are not starved of news.