BITC engulfed in allegations of corruption and mismanagement
“Parastatal failing to attract business to Botswana”- sources
Allegations of corruption and staff disgruntlement immersing the organization
Grumblings over possible corruption within the Botswana Investment and Trade Center (BITC) continue to surface as some sources within the parastatal continue to suggest that mismanagement of funds is rife, a fact management is accused of trying to hide through the ongoing realignment.
By BITC CEO (Letsobe Sejoe)’s own admission before parliament last week, there is evidence that top bosses are abusing allowances at the organization. In fact a source also claims that, Sejoe himself attracted allowances amounting to over P100 000 while travelling to the UK for an Advanced Management course at Oxford University, flying business class, and attracting hefty air ticket price of P70 000. Sejoe is also alleged to have taken per-diem of about P120 000 in allowances similarly drawn by other executive directors who apparently could have done similar courses cheaply in Botswana.
While BITC Director of Corporate Communication, Kutlo Moagi, answered some questions raised by this publication, she confirmed Sejoe’s training trip which he was invited by the university without getting into costs: “BITC CEO has indeed attended training in Oxford as part of his planned personal development program and approved training plan. His exceptional performance in the program earned BITC two partial scholarships awarded by the University of Oxford. In this regard, the first scholarship was attended by the Executive Director, Business Facilitation.”
She also said the Executive Director, Shared Services had attended a fully sponsored training program offered by JICA on Project Value Chain with focus on resource mobilization. “This scholarship covered tuition, flights and accommodation fully paid for by JICA. The Executive Director attended this training as the person responsible for resource mobilization and capacity building within BITC,” she said, still without providing numbers. While Moagi said that they do use local and regional institutions for training, she said it was necessary for the organization to make use of international training to help them match their competitors with skills, even though she did not say why they lack skills for such high profile and specialized roles in the first place.
Another claim made by insiders is that BITC did not appoint substantive Foreign Office representatives from 2014 to 2015. “Three people were brought back in 2014 December, and another new three were appointed on 6 month contracts which kept being extended by 1 month for until a year elapsed. How can you bring investment when you only get one month extension each month? How will one plan ahead properly? Only the South African office has a full-time representative,” another source revealed, stating more starkly that BITC failed to attract significant business in the last 2 years because of this situation.
Moagi however explained that recruitment for Regional Offices was carried out internally, allowing BITC employees to apply. “Interviews and psychometric assessments were carried out identifying one internal candidate who was placed in the South African office. The remaining 2 vacancies were then advertised externally and recruitment for those positions is currently ongoing,” she said.
Moagi also stated that total capital investment realized by BITC over the past two financial years was P3.11 billion (2014/2015) and P3.12 billion (2015/2016) respectively as a result of facilitation of foreign direct investment, domestic investment and expansions.