Government accused of supporting plagiarized business idea
The organizer of Buy Botswana Expo which took place in July 2016 has criticized the Ministry of Investment, Trade and Industry for supporting the Made in Botswana Business Expo whose concept he says is his brain child.
According to Sello Motseta, the Made in Botswana Business Expo has copied his Botswana Expo & Thought Leadership Conference, and like it, features workshops as well as acknowledging and celebrating stakeholders who have played a positive role in ensuring that the quantity of locally produced goods is increased.
“Made in Botswana Expo scheduled for mid July 2017 at Fairgrounds Holdings is a carbon copy of my idea. Sayi Dewah has used his fathers’ (Former BOS`CCOM CEO) contacts at Business Botswana and Ministry of Trade to duplicate and steal my idea,” said Motseta who is adamant that Dewah only altered the name and wording of what is a duplication of his idea.
The organizers of the Made In Botswana Expo which is billed for this week from 20th to 22nd July at Gaborone Fairgrounds, say it will feature conferences and workshops that could attract over a 100 companies and that their workshops will educate companies and participants on issues of exports, taxes and manufacturing standards.
Motseta says he is disappointed that after the Ministry of Investment Trade & Industry and Botswana Investment and Trade Center (BITC) told him to submit a proposal for sponsorship, the latter decided to sponsor a replicated idea. “I am disappointed that the Ministry is acting immoral by supporting a stolen idea and they are setting a bad precedence that could encourage plagiarism of business ideas,” he said.
He insisted that government must not be seen supporting stolen ideas. “This is a contradiction. Government should be working with us not against us. We are also investors. The question is if BITC and Ministry of Trade can support individuals who are stealing other people’s knowledge – what are they saying about themselves and their integrity as institutions. They cannot say they did not know about my event. I was working directly with them.” The complainant said the institutions supposed to protect him have abandoned him to support well connected entrepreneurs who stole an idea for which he is legally protected and has a trademark.
Dewah has however rubbished Motseta’s claims saying “It is not true not true the business idea has been plagiarized. The event was founded by Botswana Export Management Association (BEMA). It’s nobody’s idea,” he told Gazette Business in a brief interview.
BITC Corporation Communications Director Kutlo Moagi confirmed that BITC is participating in the expo but explained that it is not sponsoring it. Moagi says they regard the Made in Botswana Expo like any platform where they can exhibit and encourage BITC supported companies to showcase their products. Ministry of Investment, Trade and Industry did not respond to an emailed questionnaire regarding its role in the matter.