Parly Committee Summons Gare


The Parliamentary Committee on Statutory Bodies and State Enterprises is expected to put the Minister for Agricultural Development and Food Security, Karabo Gare on a firing line tomorrow.

The Nevah Tshabang-led committee wants Gare to explain the gross abuse of corporate governance at the National Food Technology Research Centre (NFTRC) and Botswana Meat Commission (BMC) which are both running on ‘autopilot’. They both do not have substantive or even acting accounting officers nor functioning boards. Just a week after the BMC's chief finance officer, Limited Nkani was sent back as he had no authority to account, the committee also sent back Caretaker Administrator of NFTRC Boitumelo Motswagole for the same reason.

Shortly after introducing herself and her position to the committee on Thursday, Motswagole had to explain her appointment and it came to the fore that her organisation too was in shambles. She said she was appointed by the acting permanent secretary (PS) in the Ministry of Agricultural Development and Food Security as a caretaker. “We observe that the organisation you are leading does not have a board.

And also there is no substantive or acting managing director (MD) appointed by the minister in accordance with the NFTRC Act. We also note that you have been appointed by the acting PS as a caretaker administrator. Our observation is that your position has no authority to answer for the organisation at this level,” Tshabang said, also asking her how long she had been in the position. She said she was appointed on October 1, 2021.

She also disclosed that she previously held the same position from August 2020 to March 2021. Quizzed on her scope of work and why she signed off financials that should have been signed off by the board chairperson and MD, Motswagole said: “In my letter of appointment it is stated that I assume the responsibilities of the managing director. Assuming the responsibility means I also become a board member even though there was no board". On why she was appointed caretaker and not acting MD, she answered: “That one I really cannot answer why I was not appointed as acting MD. The letter just said caretaker administrator and I did not ask why not acting MD.

The situation is a little bit complicated. There was a time I was removed from the position and my name had not been put in as a board member.

The name of the one who took over from me as a caretaker administrator in March was put in as a board member. Since the current appointment started in October, we were yet to put my name as a board member. These changes are just too much. You are caretaker today, tomorrow you are not, they put another one in for six months. So as we are speaking now, my name is not there as a board member,” she said. It was then that Tshabang and his committee put it to her that the acting PS does not have powers to appoint board directors but the minister. “Basically, you are not even sure of your boundaries. The Act does not allow you to be here. We feel we cannot continue with you to answer to us.

You do not even have a board. We shall therefore escalate the matter to the minister. We will call him here on Tuesday to answer to this,” Tshabang said.

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