Trouble at Limkokwing as tensions rise
- Limkokwing staff grumbles over new management team
- People appointed into Transformation and Excellence teams unqualified- sources
- BQA criticized for willfully ignoring violations at the university
As skeletons continue to tumble out of its closet, employees at Limkokwing University in Botswana have criticized Botswana Qualifications Authority’s (BQA) silence on what they allege is the university’s non-compliance as well as the micromanaging of key positions from Malaysia.
The BQA falls under the portfolio of Education Minister Unity Dow- who at the same time has a confirmed business relationship with the university through her law firm Dow and Associates- which is run by her son.
A memo written by the University’s Regional Vice Chancellor Professor Cedric Bell on 21May 2016 announcing members of the Transformation Team and Excellence Team to the University staff was met with a ‘silent’ disgruntlement as some questioned the reliability and credentials of those appointed, a highly placed source revealed. The two teams have been put in place to run the day-to-day managerial roles in the local institution, while top management is in Malaysia and reportedly come to Gaborone occasionally.
“We know them as we went to universities with them (team members). Some of them we worked with them long enough to know their academic credentials. They are not fully qualified to run the university and Botswana Qualifications Authority should investigate this issue,” said an anonymous source.
Botswana Qualifications Authority (BQA) however says the university’s organizational structure satisfies its requirements. Responding to questions from this publication, BQA’s Stakeholder Relations Manager Selwana Koppenhaver said, “Limkokwing had at the time of registration met this requirement and has on several occasions updated the authority on changes to the management structure.”
Even though the BQA states that it last visited Limkokwing in June 2016, it says is not aware of the appointment of two teams said to be running the campus. “In any case this sounds operational and may not in any way be a non-conformance. In fact, this sounds like good practice which could be encouraged. It is not a non- conformity because it does not in any way compromise quality of teaching and learning, but will instead assist to improve,” Koppenhaver said.
LIMKOKWNING CONFIRMS DCEC INVESTIGATIONS
The university’s management has confirmed The Botswana Gazette reports that it is being investigated for possible conflict of interest and corruption by the Directorate on Corruption and Economic Crimes (DCEC). This is after this publication revealed that the Limkokwing had entered into a contract with Dow and Associates law firm which belongs to the Minister of Education, Unity Dow.
The university however claimed that Minister Dow was not party to the quarter million pula worth contractual agreement. The Botswana Gazette has however seen contracts in which Dow was listed as a signatory to the P25 000 a month retainer.
PURGING OF STAFF
Internal squabbles are said to have taken a turn for the worse following the alleged purging of over ten senior management employees in just under two years.
The departures are said by sources to be creating a leadership vacuum at the university, with accounts, finance and human resources issues having to be administered from Kualar Lumpur, Malaysia.
Those “purged” include Professor Neville D’Cruz (Vice Chancellor), Elijah Katse (Finance Director) Mavis Koogotsitse (HR Director) Mosoma Kgotla (VP Corporate relations), Kefentse Masimolole (Corporate Communications) Cipack Maphosa (regional director academics), Girlie Keitsile (finance manager) Dr Edward Kemsely (Admin Director), Professor Amos Thapisa (Director Academic Development) Raphael Dingalo (Vice Chancellor) and most recently Mercy Thebe who was the Regional Director; Corporate, Industry and Media Relations.
According to court documents, the decision to suspend Thebe was taken by Professor Cedric Bell and Vice President Corporate Development Dato’ Gail Phung who are both in Malaysia.
The outgoing spokesperson, Thebe declined to comment on the reported fallout, directing this publication’s inquiries to the University. Limkokwing also did not respond to questions sent to them last week.