BMC probe team gets down to business

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The Parliamentary Special Select Committee detailed to conduct a forensic audit into Botswana Meat Commission (BMC) operations is scheduled to start its work tomorrow.

Chaired by Ngwaketse West Member of Parliament (MP), Mephato Reatile, the committee will conduct its hearings in public. The team was set up when Parliament adopted a motion from Kanye North MP, Kentse Rammidi, and will also investigate factors contributing to the decline of the country's beef industry.At a press conference on Friday to announce the start of their work, chairperson Reatile said that the committee would also hold Kgotla meetings countrywide to speak to ordinary Batswana "who are BMC stakeholders". Reatile added that the committee would also open an email account and interactive social media accounts to facilitate submissions of interest for the offering of evidence or for submission of evidence anonymously.   The committee will soon also issue a press release, inviting members of the public who want to give evidence to come forward.

At the time of the press conference, the committee had not seen the report by the three-person task force appointed by the Minister of Agriculture, Christian De Graaf, to investigate BMC operations.  The task-force, led by Legwaila Joseph Legwaila, started investigations in October last year and handed the report over to De Graaf two weeks ago. Reatile said it was up to the minister to share the report with the committee.Parliamentary counsel, Thebe Ramokhua, who is part of the committee's secretariat, told journalists that the committee will have the power to subpoena anybody who they believe has evidence. He explained that once the report from the probe team is made public, it would be up to people who have the necessary powers to prosecute all those found culpable or implement the recommendations.Other members of the committee are: Major General Moeng Pheto, Frank Ramsden, Taolo Habano, Gilson Saleshando, John Toto, Gilbert Mangole, Kagiso Molatlhegi and Prince Maele. Joining Ramokhua in the secretariat are Lesedi Keekae, Wame Mbeha, Moshi Buti, Tumelo Gaodumelwe, Sub-Inspector Setungwane and Constable Molokwe.

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