Ezekiel Obakeng Moumakwa is the new Chief Executive Officer of the Public Enterprises Evaluation and Privatisation Agency (PEEPA) following the lapse of the contract of former CEO, Kgotla Ramaphane in August 2017.
Moumakwa’s appointment which effected on February 1st 2018 however sparked controversy as he was appointed by the outgoing President Ian Khama, and not the PEEPA Board of Directors through a recommendation to the minister as per PEEPA constitution.
For an organisation whose mandate is to advice on good corporate governance practises, PEEPA’s appointment of Moumakwa is suspected to have defiled established practise, not just regarding the board’s lack of involvement; his position was also not advertised to give other people with interest an equal chance to throw their hats in the ring.
In an inquiry by this publication, Kebonye Moepeng, the Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Presidential Affairs, Governance and Public Administration led by Eric Molale, quickly referred questions to government chief spokesperson, Dr Jeff Ramsey.
Upon contacting Dr Ramsey, this publication sought to establish the process followed to fill the position and to establish why the position was not advertised to ensure transparency. The Botswana Gazette also wanted to establish the status of the PEEPA board.
Dr Ramsey indicated that the appointment was made by the Minister Eric Molale through cabinet, who then took the name to Khama and passed it as a directive. “The board’s term had expired. We need to appoint a new board and I believe at PEEPA they are in the process of appointing it.” He however did not state the specific time the board will be appointed.
Asked about the integrity of the process that appointed the new CEO and how his competency was established, Dr Ramsey said “I don’t know, that he can speak for himself,” before referring further questions to PEEPA management.
PEEPA Corporate Communications Manager, Mosikare Mogegeh however avoided discussing the matter and referred enquiries back to the ministry.
This is despite being told that the ministry was contacted and that it referred queries to the government spokesperson who himself referred them back to PEEPA.
However, pressed on the matter, Dr Ramsey sent a written response indicating that “Mr. Moumakwa was appointed by the Minister of Presidential Affairs, Governance and Public Administration, with the advice of Cabinet. He was headhunted. The board’s tenure had expired at the time of the appointment. This remains the case.”
Following the successful privatisation of BTCL, PEEPA found itself in the media for the wrong reasons concerning its human resource issues. In 2017 alone following the expiry of its former CEO’s tenure, his long-time deputy Tiny Deswai- Moremi was overlooked and her junior, Ishmael Joseph appointed as Acting CEO. The Botswana Gazette also understands that before his contract expired, Ramaphane’s relationship with the Board had soured.
The Deputy CEO also parted ways with the parastatal late in September 2017 and the whole thing ended in a legal tussle.
Meanwhile, Moumakwa has recently been serving as Managing Director of Petro Lilac, a private bulk supplier of petroleum products. The former legislator for Kgalagadi North constituency has also from 2007-2015 served as financial advisor to the Ministry of Minerals, Energy and Water Resources.