- Says he blew the cover on misappropriation of funds by the board
- COSBOTS says there was ample evidence of misconduct against Selotate
Former Chief Executive Officer of the Copyright Society of Botswana (COSBOTS), Lesego Selotate, has blamed his recent dismissal from work on a witch-hunt orchestrated by the board after he raised alarm over its misappropriation and misuse of funds.
Selotate was fired over allegations that he unlawfully and non-procedurally appointed external auditors. He is challenging his dismissal and the matter is due for arbitration at the Department of Labour next month after his appeal was also dismissed.
He was initially suspended for appointing a firm of auditors, MSD Mesotlo and Associates, allegedly without seeking approval of the board and without a tender issued for such a purpose.
Selotate is insisting that he followed COSBOTS procurement procedure and that the accusation of insubordination in appointing external auditors is out of proportion with what is a discrepancy that could have been noted and the matter forgotten. “I genuinely feel that the need to suspend me for allegedly appointing auditors was excessive or not appropriate for the offence,” he said in his letter of the appeal that was dismissed.
“There is a legal requirement for the company to appoint auditors that everybody recognises. There is also consensus amongst the board and members that there was need to change the existing firm of auditors as reflected in the minutes of the 2019 AGM held in Francistown in January 2020. There was also a provision of P80 000 for audit in the budget approved by the Board.”
In the letter, Selotate also noted that the letter by which he awarded the tender to MSD Mesotlo and Associates was allegedly signed by the board that was aware of his intention as early December 2020 even though it raised the alarm only a day before the Annual General Meeting of COSBOTS on 26 March this year.
“I am curious as to why they waited so long and why they did not bring the matter up directly with me while there was still time to remedy the situation, if the Board members were indeed concerned,” he wrote.
Selotate draws attention to how COSBOTS Management Accounts for the 11-month period to 31 May 2021 allegedly sky rocketed from P300 000 in June last year to over P1 million for the corresponding period this year.
Even so, the Chairman of COSBOTS Board, Bakalango Mahoko, is adamant that there is “ample evidence” to support the decision to fire Selotate and to dismiss his subsequent appeal. “The minutes indicate that the hearing was both procedural and substantively fair,” Mahoko wrote in the letter dismissing Selotate’s appeal. “You were given an opportunity to call a witness and also cross-examine the witness of the employer.”
“However, you chose to call witnesses who were not allowed to come and testify, something that you know as a CEO, this ground of appeal cannot succeed. The minutes indicate that you failed and/or refused to mitigate after you were found guilty.”
“It is a clear sign that you were not remorseful of your conduct. Your appeal having been fully and carefully considered, is hereby dismissed and the decision of the disciplinary board of enquiry is hereby confirmed.”