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Khama questions credibility of BTO report

NNASARETHA KGAMANYANE
Tshekedi Khama PIC: KEOAGILE BONANG
Parliament has adjourned the adoption of the report of the Committee on Statutory Bodies and State Enterprises following the examination of books of accounts for Botswana Tourism Organisation (BTO).

This comes after the Minister of Environment, Natural Resources, Conservation and Tourism Tshekedi Khama questioned the credibility of the report before Parliament Wednesday. He explained that the conclusions of the report seemed to be a little bit wicked in a particular way. He stated that he was concerned about the mixed message he got from the committee’s chairperson, MP Samson Moyo Guma, who told him that the Cabinet would have forgotten about that report as time goes.

“My biggest problem is the mixed messages from the chairperson who isn’t here today. You see, a year ago when this started, the chair said to me, I quote, ‘they would have forgotten about this report. Let time go’. We are taking the guidance of the chair of this committee. He then came to me and said to me, ‘you have got other officials working against you’, and mentioned a few of them who I don’t need to mention at this stage. In any case, the year went by we were called again and we are repeating the same questions,” he said.

He said the chairperson allowed to make adjustments of what needed to be done on his guidance, which they did. He said he was surprised when he was told that MP for Gaborone Bonnington South Ndaba Gaolathe was going to present the report because Guma could not present it before Parliament since he was conflicted, adding that he was confused if the conflict regarded the whole report or part of it.

Khama also told the Parliament that he felt that MP Phenyo Butale left out part of pressing issues on the report. He said he believed that there were irregularities and certain issues that had not been taken into account during the submission of that report which he felt were important. He added that the intensions of the report had to be brought into question. He called for the report to be adjourned to a later date.

For his part, the MP for Gaborone North Haskins Nkaigwa said he supported the report, arguing that there was need for Parliament to adopt the report looking at its findings and recommendations proposed before it. He said that cooperate governance was important.

“Ke dumela gore fa o bona matona ba itirela jaana, ke gone gore bontsi jwa the Acts that run dienterprise mo Botswana, they give power to the minister to appoint the Board and even appoint the Board chairperson.

They also give power

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to the minister to appoint the chief executive officer. Ke gore o bona gore golo moo go raya gore minister o ka itirelela jaaka a batlang ka teng. I believe that this is bad for cooperate governance. It is not a way to lead the country. That is why corruption is very high in this country,” he said.

He said the report would be able to show how the monies were used and curb corruption whereas benefiting Batswana. He added that the report would be able to show how the government funds have been used.

The report is inspired by the need to pave a possible need to pave a possible path for the proposed Tourism (Amendment) Bill 2017 (Bill No 31 of 2017) whose passage invited complex questions about which the committee was already seized.

Reading the report, Gaolathe stated that Botswana continues to face many developmental challenges on the path finding sources and engines of economic and social transformation. He said the plight of large sections of their people wallowing in undignified life conditions, and the misery that comes with the idle state of so many of their people’s minds and hands was enough cause for all those who take oath in that legislative chamber to dig desperately for any well of fortune.

“The Committee on Statutory and State Enterprises, in all its deliberations, considers this need for a viable State enterprises system. Our investigation process entails interviews of office-bearers and other stakeholders, a review of financials and a general review of literature from other sources. We seek insight into the soundness of financial management performance, for these have a bearing on the viability/ effectiveness of our state enterprise system in general,” he said.

In respect of BTO, Gaolathe said the report unearthed clear indicators of lapse in the overall governance of the same institution. He added that it defines those breaches of governance and provides details on violations of the BTO Act, and failure to comply with basic management procedure.

It is said to identify specific actions taken at the BTO that feed the committee’s inferences around breaches in governance, including the unprocedural establishment of the Dubai Satellite Office, unlawful instructions to the BTO to make procurement on behalf of the ministry, unlawful establishment of the Tourism Fund, unlawful restructuring of the BTO, irregular appointment of an Attaché at the Washington, DC Embassy and unlawful termination of the CEO’s contract of employment, amongst others.



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