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BERA At War Again

INNOCENT SELATLHWA
Duncan Morotsi
A boardroom war has erupted at the ever -troubled Botswana Energy Regulatory Authority (BERA). The organisation has never found peace since its formation due to factionalism in the Board.

The latest battle, which is likely to end in court, pits the Board chairperson, Bernard Ndove against a faction led by Jonathan Moseki over expulsion of chief operations officer, Duncan Morotsi.

An Independent Enquiry Panel was engaged by BERA to conduct a disciplinary enquiry against Morotsi between January and March this year.

In June 2018, the BERA Board suspended Morotsi over the alleged improper appointment of a consultant, Edwin Kiddiffu from Tanzania’s Energy and Water Utilities Regulatory Authority (EWURA), to the authority. He was also charged with buying a second hand car for himself while he was getting a car allowance.

According to a document availed to The Monitor, Morotsi and chief executive officer, Rose Seretse engaged Kiddiffu after they had met during BERA visit to Tanzania on a benchmarking exercise.

In a statement to investigators, the consultant said Morotsi paid for his upkeep and part of the payment physically.

Kiddiffu, who is the manager of legal services at EWURA, states in his sworn declaration that he was in March 2018 given an offer by BERA to provide consultancy services in preparation for legal instruments in the form of draft regulations and licence templates.

Morotsi has always maintained that this was a management decision and he had done nothing wrong. He questioned his suspension while his boss, Seretse who was part of a team that negotiated the deal, was still at work.

“It is a witch-hunt as they suspect that I am the one who reported them to the Directorate on Corruption and Economic Crime (DCEC) in a case they are allegedly being investigated for,” he said.

On April 18, Ndove in his capacity as Board chairperson uplifted Morotsi’s suspension on the

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basis of the outcome of the disciplinary action. The panel had stated that Morotsi’s disciplinary hearing be rescinded and he be reinstated, as it had taken long for the Board to act.

In April 26, after Morotsi returned to work, Board member Jonathan Moseki wrote to (him) Morotsi setting aside Ndove’s reinstatement letter.

He stated that Ndove had no authority to reinstate Morotsi hence he set the letter aside.

Moseki stated that Morotsi had the right to state his case and his right to cross- examine any witnesses who presented evidence against him as well as calling witnesses in support of his defence. Moseki stated that Morotsi elected not to do so and deliberately deterred the panel from considering the charges.

“The Board views this as a deliberate attempt to preserve yourself from having to answer to the charges levelled against you because you had no plausible defence against your actions. Your conduct, in all fairness, amounted to blatant abuse of process when the Board tried to subject you to a disciplinary enquiry,” reads the letter.

Following the expulsion, Morotsi engaged Segaise Attorneys who then wrote to Moseki stating that the decision to expel Morotsi was null, void and illegal.

 

“We have instructed client to act on the basis of the 18 April letter under the hand of the chairperson and to continue reporting at duty until such a time that the said letter would have been revoked by a court of law,” Mooketsi Segaise wrote.

Segaise argued that letter from Ndove was in compliance with the ruling from the panel. He said the panel should be treated as a final verdict and not a recommendation to Board.



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