FRANCISTOWN: Central District Council (CDC) principal roads engineer, Setlhomo Tlhagopi has not been reporting for duty since his recent arrest and detention following corruption allegations made against him, Mmegi can reveal.
Tlhagopi is a member of the CDC senior management team based at the headquarters in Serowe.
Over and above the corruption charges laid against him by the Directorate on Corruption and Economic Crime (DCEC), possible disciplinary action will be taken against him soon, Ministry of Local Government and Rural Development spokesperson, Masego Ramakgati revealed recently in his response to Mmegi enquiries.
Ramakgati could not be drawn into discussing what form of disciplinary action would be preferred against him.
In his response to Mmegi enquiries Ramakgati said: “Indeed the officer is not reporting for duty pending possible disciplinary action”.
He had also informed Mmegi in a recent interview: “Administrative management on the matter is ongoing”.
The roads engineer was on July 25 this year arrested by the DCEC investigators on allegations of corruption relating to the ongoing multi-million pula infrastructural development project in Tutume. The project is valued at about P272 million and was awarded to Thiite Rabble Screeners as the main contractor, the company, which is owned by John Thiite.
Allegations against the roads engineer are that as a public officer, he accepted a bribe that has reportedly influenced his decision-making in reportedly assisting a company, Thiite Rabble Screeners that was reportedly ineligible to qualify for the multi-million-pula project, to qualify.
Tenderpreneur-cum politician, Thiite of the ruling Botswana Democratic Party (BDP), owns the company that Tlhagopi had allegedly assisted to qualify for the tender.
The DCEC has since
Allegations are that the engineer received the motor vehicle as a gift from Thiite Rabble Screeners in the bigger controversial Tutume infrastructural development tender.
After his recent arrest and detention, the purpose of which was to search, seize and interview him with other suspects, Tlhagopi was supposed to have returned to work on August 3, but ever since, he has not been allowed to return to his office.
The DCEC investigations into the Tutume multi-million pula tender have a potential to stall progress.
Tutume Sub District Council chairperson, councillor Ishmael Mokgethi declared this week: “Since the Tutume project became subject of DCEC investigations, it may affect the progress either negatively or positively”.
His view is that the Tutume infrastructure development project is duly supervised from the CDC headquarters in Serowe and they are waiting anxiously, as Nkange constituency-based civic leaders, to be briefed on amongst others, the impact of the DCEC investigations and progress made thus far.
“I am worried that this project might be affected one way or the other,” declared Mokgethi.
What worries Mokgethi is that when projects of this magnitude stall, it’s politicians who suffer, “because we have indeed promised people that the government of the day was destined to improve their lives and when things fail, it affects our political standing”.