DCEC, BURS turn up the Heat on COVID-19 ‘Tenderpreneurs’

  • DCEC confirms 69 COVID-19 corruption cases
  • Some companies are PAYE and VAT non-compliant


Several companies that won millions of pula contracts in COVID-19 tenders have come under investigation by the Botswana Revenue Services (BURS) and the Directorate
on Corruption and Economic Crimes (DCEC), The Botswana Gazette has established.

While the Head of Compliance and Investigations at BURS, Kaone Molapo, would not comment on the matter, it is understood that most, if not all, of these companies are in violation of tax laws, especially in non-compliance with VAT and PAYE.

The investigations began last week. Meanwhile, the Director General of DCEC, Tymon Katlholo, recently told the Parliamentary Committee of Governance and Oversight that the corruption busting agency is probing more than 50 COVID-19 allegations of corruption that go back to April 2020. “The DCEC received 69 COVID-19 corruption allegations from April 2020 to May 2021,” he told the committee last month.

Upon declaration of the first State of Emergency (SoE) in April 2020, the government announced that more than P2 billion had been set aside for the COVID-19 Relief Fund to finance all COVID-related procurements. These procurements were done by direct appointment at the Office of the President (OP).

In recent months, reports have suggested that most COVID-19 supplies were over-priced, especially products such as masks, surgical gloves and testing equipment.

Furthermore, former DCEC director general Brigadier Joseph Mathambo also told this publication in July 2020 that they were probing the Ministry of Health and Wellness for allegations of COVID-19 corruption. He revealed that DCEC was interrogating a MoHW report on the awarding of COVID-19 tenders.

At the time, reports also indicated that some members of the ministry’s procurement unit were suspended for reasons of these allegations.

In addition, the Permanent Secretary at the Ministry of Finance Dr. Wilfred Mandlebe has said two separate COVID-19 audit reports are expected before the end of June. These reports will be divided into a performance audit and an audit on management of the COVID-19 Relief Fund will be presented in the winter sitting of Parliament.

The Botswana Gazette is made to understand that recommendations made in the reports will be forwarded to DCEC and DISS for further investigation and possible prosecution.