The Ministry of Transport and Communication’s accounting officer, Alicia Mokone has told the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) that the auctioning of P5 million-worth of spare parts the Central Transport Organisation (CTO) had procured has been stopped.
Mokone said the reason why the auction stopped was due to the suspect processes in the millions of pula spent to procure the spare parts, whether bought or tendered, being investigated.
The issue came up after PAC chairperson, Dithapelo Keorapetse, wanted to know why CTO spent P5 million on spare parts when 263 private garages were already repairing government vehicles and what the purpose of stockpilling those parts was when they were not needed.
“I cannot say much about the matter because it is still under investigation and that is why the auction did not take place. CTO does help with maintenance when necessary, but each ministry is responsible for paying for its own vehicle maintenance. Ministries have set up units within their organisations that manage their fleet to ensure proper care of their [own] fleet,” Mokone said.
Mochudi East MP, Mabuse Pule said it was time the ministry took action against employees who are involved in corrupt practices. “I do not understand why spare parts of such amount of money were bought when they were not needed,” he said.
Francistown South legislator, Wynter Mmolotsi asked the accounting officer to ensure that government vehicles did not stay long at private
He said failure to pay garages on time might inflate costs for government due to storage and other incidental expenses.
The shocked PAC members implored Mokone to inspect the procured spare parts, to which the accounting officer conceded that it could be possible evidence to rampant corruption in the mammoth ministry.
Mmegi has learnt that Presidential Directive Cab 9 (B) Report 2013 is the one that has given ministries powers to be responsible for their own fleet.
It allows CTO to have in place a system that allows it to know how much the ministry spends on spare parts.
It is also alleged that 16 officers were involved in that alleged bogus tender for the supply of the spare parts. The motives of the officers, whose identities are known to this publication, are yet to be unearthed, as all CTO stations have been allocated budgets to purchase spare parts if need be.
“No CTO station was contacted or consulted to supply their needs or to have input in preparing the tender. It was approved in 2011 and 2013. The auction was supposed to take place in 2018,” a source revealed.