CIPA opens forensic investigation on COSBOTS corruption allegations

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BOAGO RAMAPHANE

Companies and Intellectual Property Authority (CIPA) Awareness and Communications Manager Marietta Magashula has revealed that they are working on engaging independent auditors to probe the financials of the Copyright Society of Botswana (COSBOTS).
This follows a series of reports by The Botswana Gazette after a legal opinion authored by COSBOTS legal advisor Pearl Mahlala purported that there was maladministration and mismanagement of funds at COSBOTS. These revelations irked members who called for the sacking of the management. Mahlala was later fired.
The move by CIPA comes a few weeks after members of COSBOTS wrote complaining about the its silence on the allegations.
“Right now, we cannot say much on the issue because the board has not finalised but we are working on something along those lines. We will announce once the board has made a final decision,” Magashula told this publication.
She also explained that any possible maladministration or mismanagement of funds threatens the very livelihood and incomes of COSBOTS members, and any reports of such have to be taken seriously and approached with the utmost diligence. “It is in this regard that CIPA is engaging COSBOTS on the allegations. Due to the nature of the allegations, it is essential that we keep the process of engagement confidential until it is complete.”
CIPA assured all members of COSBOTS that it remains committed not only to the execution of its mandate in the supervision of COSBOTS but also to the cordial relationship it has with them.
Members of COSBOTS had also previously told this publication that they were seeking legal advice concerning the matter even though the organization itself rubbished issues raised in Mahlala’s legal opinion which they said was unsubstantiated.
“Whereas the bulk of the opinion comprised clear and grave allegations of serious, possibly criminal, misconduct by management, headed by the CEO, the legal advisor on whose behalf she purported to act did not to await the return of the CEO from leave, but rather to move allegations
against him in his absence,” COSBOTS Chairman Solomon Monyame told the media when presenting the due deligence report recently.
COSBOTS Corporate Communications Manager Seeletso Lekgaba has confirmed that independent forensic auditors have already been engaged by CIPA to audit COSBOTS. “COSBOTS is aware of the engagement of independent forensic auditors, by CIPA to audit COSBOTS,” she revealed, explaining that they appreciate the move by CIPA, because once finalized it will put to rest all speculation regarding mismanagement of funds at COSBOTS- “Which should enable COSBOTS to once again focus on achieving its core mandate, as well as continuing operations for the benefit of members/artists.”
According to Lekgaba, the auditors met the board and management last week and have requested a list of documents to be compiled by COSBOTS to enable them to start the audit process, which is under way now.

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