Thursday, December 5, 2019

CEDA owed P2 billion by over 5000 businesses

The amount owed by citizens’ entrepreneurs who received assistance from the state owned financial development institution – CEDA or Citizen Entrepreneurship Development has been pegged at P2, 332,917,433 as at the end of October 2019.

The figure was made public this week in Parliament following a question asked by Member of Parliament for Selebi Phikwe West – Dithapelo Keorapetse.

Amongst other things, Keorapetse wanted the ministry of trade to update the nation about the amount of money disbursed by CEDA as loans, grants and or purchase of shares in businesses as well as the number of beneficiaries taken to court for failure to pay and had court orders issued against them and their companies.

Responding to the questions in Parliament this week, junior minister at Trade and Investment Ministry – Karabo Gare said that CEDA has registered 2,052 cases which have since been litigated and judgments have been granted against the defendants for failure of funds repayments

At the same time, Gare said that entrepreneurs development agency has had some of its former clients properties auctioned to recover the money. At the last count 156 businesses were sold at auction and P44, 158,360.81 recovered from these sales. It has also emerged that the remaining litigated clients continued to be indulged in an effort to get them to settle their debts, while most continue to pay through monitored payment plans.

Keorapetse’s question comes at a time when CEDA has gone over four years without publishing its audited financial results. Another hot issue for CEDA, which has been directly linked to its failure to release financials is the forensic audit carried more than five years ago.

Early this year, former MP for Palapye – Master Goya, who also doubled as junior minister of Trade and Investment at the time said that the report will not be released to the public because it is highly confidential

The report has been a hot issue since its completion – shrouded in secrecy, and sparking fears that there is more to the report than what it appears. The then minister of MITI in 2012, Dorcus Makgatho, told parliament that the report was finished and she has to consult cabinet then brief parliament about the report. It never happened.

In early 2019 the report once more came in the spotlight after CEDA was accused of sleazy operations by one of its former business partner – Deepak Verma.

Verma is the founder of the now defunct Pula Steel Manufacturing Company. He blasted CEDA for sidelining him in a business he started.

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