Statistics boss denies corruption claims at the parastatal

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GAZETTE REPORTER

Investigations into the allegations of corruption, maladministration, nepotism, misappropriation of funds and failure to follow good practices at Statistics Botswana hang in the balance after the Statistician General, Anna Majelantle, denied allegations saying those who leaked such information seem not to be abreast with the operations of the parastatal.

 
She questioned the level of understanding of Statistics Botswana governance and procedures on the informants.
Majelantle dismissed the allegations last week when she appeared before the Parliamentary Committee on Statutory Bodies and State Enterprise to respond to the allegations. The investigations were warranted by a motion passed by Parliament which requested the committee on Statutory Bodies and State Enterprises to meet as a matter of urgency to investigate allegations of corruption, maladministration, nepotism, misappropriation of funds and failure to follow good practices at Statistics Botswana.  The motion was first tabled in Parliament by former MP for Goodhope Mabule who is now Director Regional Operations at the Selibe Phikwe Economic Diversification Unit, James Mathokgwane.

 
Statistics Botswana, which had a staff complement of 205 in 2012, underwent transformation to become a parastatal after being housed as a department in the Ministry of Finance and Development Planning since 1982.

 
When Mathokgwane appeared before the committee, he revealed that the information he presented was gathered from reliable sources whose names he promised he will not reveal. He said the amount of over P1 million was transferred from one Statistics Botswana account to the other and was later withdrawn over the counter. He said under the Banking Regulations, it is not possible to withdraw an amount over P500 000 over the counter and what happened at the Statistics account at Barclays Bank Botswana was cause for suspicion. Mathokgwane told the committee that corruption was also reported at the Directorate on Corruption and Economic Crime (DCEC) but nothing has been done. He claimed that a file has been opened by the DCEC.

 
“There were unqualified people who were appointed while those who satisfied the requirement were rejected. There is an employee (name known to this publication) who failed interviews twice but she was appointed. She failed an interview for Principal Statistician and that of Director of Standards, Methods and Information System but was handpicked by Majelantle to the latter post. Other two people were appointed because their supervisor was their former colleague at Botswana Unified Revenue Services and had a sexual relationship with one of them,” said Mathokgwane.

 
When requested to provide further documents to support his case Mathokgwane said he would assist where possible but maintained that it is up to the committee to look for such as per its core mandate and be able to get to the bottom of these allegation.

 
Taking the witness stand, Majelantle refuted all of Mathokgwane’s allegations. She said the cash withdrawal over the counter came about as their internet service was down and there were payments that were due. Majelantle also produced a letter from the bank regarding the withdrawal. “On the issue of nepotism, that is not true. The employee who was said to have failed the interview but later appointed, failed Principal Statistician interview because it was more technical and she did not have the expertise. She got the director position after it was re-advertised and she was the one with higher marks. Then the Human Resource Board recommended that since she applied for the second time as much as other and had higher marks she should be appointed with the condition that she would be given a tailor made programme to enhance her capacity. I do not know the level of people who might have leaked this information but I am convinced they do not understand how the organisation operates,” she said.