DIS investigates BDC swindlers

17 Jun 2019

The Directorate of Intelligence and Security (DIS) has reportedly launched an investigation into allegations that millions of Pula have been siphoned from a company in which the Botswana Development Corporation (BDC) invested millions.

According to information reaching the Sunday Standard, Kromberg Schubert Botswana has been swindled more than P40 million by some of its employees.

Kromberg & Schubert focuses on the development and production of complex wiring systems for the automotive industry.

In 2017, the BDC invested P36 million for the expansion of the factory, which produces wire harness for German cars such as VW and BMW. It exports products to the whole world with South Africa being their biggest market. Western Industrial Estate, a 100% subsidiary of the BDC financed the expansion of the plant.

A document seen by Sunday Standard and signed by Kromberg & Schubert Commercial Director: Southern Africa, Alistair Schwulst and Technical Manager: Southern Africa Udo Herpich, says; “Kromberg & Schubert Board of Directors have instituted formal investigations as a result of certain information received that widespread irregularities were being committed by individuals at Kromberg & Schubert Botswana.”

According to the document, “these include but are not limited to the following; alleged conflicts of interest were employees are directly or indirectly involved with contractors supplying goods and services to Kromberg Schubert Botswana without declaring such interests in writing to Kromberg Schubert Botswana management.”

The document also states that other irregularities include “alleged acts of fraud or corruption by individual employees, employees involving themselves in irregular purchasing of goods or services.”

“As a result of these provisional investigations, It was already decided to suspend some individuals with further action to be taken as may be necessary as per normal company procedures. Further suspension may follow during or after the conclusion of the said investigations.”

Kromberg & Schubert’s Human Resources Manager, Riaan Maritz said “Thank you for the interest shown in our company. Unfortunately, we are not authorised to speak to the press and as such, we have to decline to comment.”

For her part, the BDC Head of Corporate Affairs and Strategy, Boitshwarelo Lebang said: “Kromberg and Schubert would be best placed to respond to these questions. The BDC has provided warehouses to the company and is not involved in its operations.”

The DIS public relations officer, Edward said: “I am not in a position to disclose the names of entities or persons that we are investigating. Doing so has the potential to jeopardise such investigations.”

Edward added: “But I can confirm that the organisation has been very busy securing economic interests of the nation as it is our mandate to do so.”

Robert said: “ Wherever government has made an investment, it is imperative that value for money is realised. This could be in terms of dividends or improved livelihoods for citizens. It is in the interest of the nation to get that done.”

He said they have since established that there is a lot of underhand tactics involving multiple actors with the aim to defraud public institutions.

“And when that happens, it is the public that suffers as they are denied the opportunity to have their lives changed for the better by such investments. This is very common especially with mega public projects,” he said.