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Unpaid police scarce skills allowances cost gov’t

MPHO MOKWAPE
Makgophe
The Botswana police’s refusal to pay its employees professional and scarce skills allowance costs will bleed the taxpayers’ coffers.

Just last year one of its employees, a managing director of International Law Enforcement Academy (ILEA) in Otse, Kelebemang Montlhanka, dragged the police commissioner to court over unpaid scarce skills since 2009.

Montlhanka who is due to be paid a collective of over P300,000 of professional allowance broken down since 2006 to 2014 at a rate of 10% per annum and scarce skill allowance at the sum of P26,237.70 for the period of January 1, 2013 to March 2013 has a Bachelor of Commerce, Masters of Social Science in Accounting from University of Birmingham in the United Kingdom.

According to his court documents, he had been denied payment of scarce skill allowance as per the Public Service Directive No. 2 of 2008.

He was reportedly entitled to get the allowance since November 1, 2009 when the allowance came into effect.

Now High Court Judge, Justice Godfrey Nthomiwa has ordered the commissioner to pay the employee all his professional and scarce skill allowances from date of commencement and pay the costs of the suit.

Nthomiwa said it was logical that at the time the scarce skill allowance commenced, the applicant had the requisite qualification and that he was entitled to payment allowance.

However, the judge effected

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payment from 2013 explaining that at the time the allowance was effected the employee’s profession was not listed amongst those that qualified.

“It is logical that it was subsequently included through the structures that were put in place for reviewing and determining the eligibility for payment of allowances therefore my view that payment should start in 2013 when government agreed to include Accounting into the category of scarce skill allowance,” he said.

The judge said at the time the employee was deputy director of ILEA responsible for budgets of the agency and authorisation of payments, meaning he possessed the necessary scarce skill, which he utilised by virtue of his position and had minimum requirement for.

He said all that made the officer entitled to both professional and scarce skill allowance that he had the requisite qualifications that qualified him to earn the allowance.

“I also do not think it makes sense to pay him professional allowance when he was junior officer and then gets terminated upon promotion.

His supervision requires special knowledge. These in my judgement were specialised duties as contemplated by the circular,” he said.

The State was ordered to pay within 14 days of the order. Tshiamo Rantao represented the officer.



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