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Supplier Fixes ‘Fake’ Peanut Butter Mess

CHAKALISA DUBE
Francistown city Town clerk Lopang Pule PIC: KEOAGILE BONANG
FRANCISTOWN: The Francistown City Council (FCC) has said that a company that supplied the council with the alleged fraudulent peanut butter worth over P300,000 has made an undertaking to furnish the right product.

Early this year an investigation by The Monitor’s sister publication, Mmegi unearthed that the council reportedly spent over P312,000 on the allegedly fake peanut butter supplies.

Immediately after Mmegi commenced its investigations into the questionable peanut butter, the supplies were recalled from schools. About 1,835 units (5kg per unit) of peanut butter were supplied to 20 schools by the FCC. Successfully recalled were the 1,700 units not yet used while 135 had already been used in various schools.

The ‘fake’ peanut butter was supplied by Magdinvel Pty Ltd, which is a Gerald Estates-domiciled company. The company’s directors are Margret Masita and Dineo Digapeng. At the time Mmegi raised the alarm about the ‘fake’ peanut butter, insiders at the FCC said the company had made a formal undertaking to supply the council with Goody Thokoman range of peanut butters. Goody Thokoman is a product from South Africa. However, the company delivered ‘fake’ peanut butter on December 18, 2020 and was paid four days later.

In a bid to evade detection, the company designed its own logo similar to the original Goody Thokoman imprint and used it on the packaging of the ‘fake’ peanut butter that it duly supplied to the council. On Friday, FCC city clerk Lopang Pule said the council has confiscated and destroyed the ‘fake’ peanut butter supplies. “The company has since made an undertaking to supply the right product to the council. Initially, the company took the fake peanut butter (last week Tuesday), but the council officials later confiscated and destroyed it. We did not want the peanut butter to

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end up being sold or reach unsuspecting members of the public because it was deemed unsuitable for human consumption,” he said. Pule added, “The company has been given a period of a month and a half to deliver the right supplies.

We are expecting the first consignment of the right peanut butter very soon. We will consider the kind of action we will take if the company does not deliver the right product as promised.” Pule further highlighted that the FCC is still investigating how a fake consignment of peanut butter was delivered to the council.

There are strong allegations that the senior supplies officer and the council’s secretary for education were alerted about the allegedly fake supplies late last year, but approved the payments to Magdinvel anyway. “Once internal investigations have been completed and there are indications that there was an element of carelessness on the part of council officials, appropriate action will be taken,” Pule told The Monitor.

He noted that the council will not take any immediate action against Magdinvel. “The council does not have the powers or mandate to blacklist suppliers because of any form of wrongdoing. However, an activity report is often shared with the council adjudication committee after the execution of every tender. An activity report features everything that happened during the execution of the tender including any form of wrongdoing by a respective supplier.

The adjudication committee might use any record of wrongdoing to disqualify the supplier in future tenders. This, however, depends on the severity of the misdemeanour by a respective supplier.”



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