Was It A Bribe?

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The Minister of Works and Transport has denied that the donation of five computers to her constituency influenced her to sign a Memorandum of Understanding with an Australian company.

The donation was made by Ansaldo Union Switch and Signals of Australia a day before she signed the Memorandum with the firm for the maintenance work for Botswana Railways (BR). The timing led to allegations that the donation might have influenced her because it looked like bribery. From the memorandum Ansaldo Union Switch and Signals has secured an eight-year contract to maintain Botswana Railways signalling and communications infrastructure. RPG and InfraDev Botswana are to assist with general infrastructure maintenance, operations planning, and the manufacturing and repair of rolling stock.

"It is true that I received those computers but they were not a bribe. That company had a contract with BR and the computers had nothing to do with my work at BR," Motsumi said. This is not the first time bribery claims have been made against the minister after a donation to her constituency. Previously, she had to deny bribery allegations after she received cash from a Zimbabwean company based in Botswana for a community project in her constituency. 

BR's board chairman) Kobamelo Kgoboko, said the computers were not given to the minister in person but to her constituency. "They (Ansaldo) already had business with BR then and they even sponsored the BR team with T-shirts and transport," he said. Efforts to reach the directors of Ansaldo were futile at the time of going to press.

Meanwhile, businessmen from Queensland Australia are reportedly interested in the proposed rail link between Botswana's Mmamabula coalfields and Erasmus in South Africa. The work is estimated to cost A$240 million ($US187m).

Editor's Comment
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