The Office of the President (OP) accounting officer, Thuso Ramodimoosi, found himself in a tight corner when appearing before the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) recently.
He had to explain whether the appointment of the Public Enterprises Evaluation and Privatisation Agency (PEEPA) chief executive officer (CEO) was done by the Board or the relevant minister.
Tati East legislator, Samson Moyo Guma, who is a member of PAC, wanted to know what the PEEPA Act says when it comes to the appointment of a CEO, and if there was a need to appoint a CEO without an existing Board.
PEEPA CEO, Ezekiel Obakeng Moumakwa was controversially appointed by former president Ian Khama in the absence of a Board of directors, which was never constituted since the former Board members’ terms expired last year, one local newspaper reported.
Ramodimoosi said they are in the process of appointing a Board.
“What exactly is the CEO doing without the Board and where does he get the mandate? Where is he reporting to and what clauses are they using, or giving them that power of accounting officer? I want you to tell us what is in line with the Act not what you are assuming. Did the Board discuss the appointment of this CEO?” Guma asked.
In response Ramodimoosi said: “The Board has not been appointed nor discussed the appointment of the CEO. I ask this committee to give me time so that I could go and enquire more about this issue”.
Another legislator Dithapelo Keorapetse wanted to know how a parastatal works
The OP was asked to report back to PAC before its session ends about some PEEPA issues. PEEPA was established in 2001 to advise government on privatisation, commercialisation, restructuring and outsourcing of responsibilities to the private sector.
On other issues still at PAC, Ramodimoosi said their Ministry is big and needs to be trimmed a bit so that it could be able to focus on its mandate and coordinate government programmes.
He said another challenge they are faced with is that some people who had left the public service still owe government and it becomes a lengthy process to recover such money.
“We have made up a monitory committee to follow up pending issues.
“Again, we have a disciplinary committee and we refer some cases to the Attorney General’s Chambers to issue some summons letters to those who are not willing to pay,” he said.
Specially Elected MP, Mephato Reatile said he is concerned that OP only makes good progress on industrial workers by collecting small amounts of money from them while no action was taken against the ‘big fish’.
“The economy of this country will go down if you are after running around to collect P2,000 from industrial workers while action is not taken against those who owe government millions. Why can’t you start from the big guys, or are you afraid of them?” Reatile rhetorically asked.