Guardroom cost raises eyebrows

The guardroom that cost GCC over sixty five thousand pula
The guardroom that cost GCC over sixty five thousand pula

The Gaborone City Council (GCC) has ordered a probe into the construction of a guardroom at Tsogang Primary School, which cost P64, 251.89.

Councillors, who smelled a rat, complained that the amount spent on the guardroom was too steep compared to its “small” size. The guardroom, initially budgeted for P118,000,  has a mini shower and a toilet.

Councillor Oarabile Motlaleng of Naledi North, who recently returned from self-imposed exile, argued that there was no guardroom whose building material would cost P45, 798.93.

“We need a full report on this project because we don’t understand why this project took so long since it started last year September. The receipt, according to the report that we are given, shows that eight locksets were bought, but contrarily, that guardroom has only two locks. Some things are not adding up completely,” said Motlaleng.  Tsogang ward councillor, Tetelo Thebe said the electrician  hired to install electrical cables also abandoned the project.

Fuming, Thebe declared: “The electrician who was employed to install cables has left the project. He left cables all over the room and some are not installed properly. I have also interviewed the man who was building this guardroom. He said he was paid P800 not P3,000, as stated in the report. I disagree with the report when it says a lot of money was used for labour.” He said he complained about supervision of the project, but nothing was done. He stressed that contrary  to the report, 87 cement bags had not been used in that project.

“We need an audit for that project because some of the materials, which are on these receipts, have not been used in that project,” he added. “Our audit committee, together with the council auditor, should work hand-in-hand before it’s given to external auditors.”

Nominated councillor Kagiso Ntime said he and others rejected the report for the guardroom and sliding gate and called for investigation to be done on the two projects. Another nominated councillor, MacDonald Peloetletse, said it was best the issue was reported to Directorate on Corruption and Economic Crime (DCEC) as all councillors suspected foul play.

The mayor, Kagiso Thutlwe, said he agreed with councillors that the council’s audit committee should work with council auditors to find out what happened.

“The committee and auditors would make their own report after auditing. The report would then be referred to the Auditor General. I hope the council would know the truth whether there is any element of corruption or not before December this year,” Thutlwe said.

The city clerk, Mpho Mathe, said normally council requested funds that are above the project budget and they use the remainder on other projects.

“We do so in case the government reduces the amount of money we had requested for,” he explained. “It doesn’t mean that GCC was going to spend P118 140 for the guardroom alone. I agree with you that investigation should be done. I am also worried by time that was taken to build the guardroom.” Mathe said his council would take all reports that would be done by the audit committee and education report to the Auditor General to determine whether corruption was committed or not.

“If there is corruption I will report the matter to relevant authority,” he said.

the disputed report showed that building materials were allocated P62,000, but council used P45,000. Skilled labour was initially budgeted for P22,000, but it eventually used P3, 415. Unskilled labour was projected to cost P30, 600, but only P11, 957.96 was used.

Aalso on Wednesday, the council meeting ordered investigation into how a sliding gate, would cost P29,000.

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