SPEDU bleeding millions as senior managers allegedly line their pockets

01 Jul 2019

BY THOBO MOTLHOKA

The Chief Executive Officer at SPEDU, Dr. Mokubung Mokubung and his senior managers have been reported to the Directorate of Intelligence and Security (DIS) on corruption allegations ranging from receiving kickbacks for tenders, misappropriation of funds, and nepotism among other issues.

While he said he could not share the details of their investigations, DIS Director General Brigadier Peter Magosi has confirmed the investigations. “I have been out of the country and have yet to be briefed on the developments,” Magosi said.

According to documents passed to this publication SPEDU, the government’s investment promotion company tasked to coordinate investment promotion and economic diversification in Selebi Phikwe and surrounding areas, has allegedly been turned into a gravy train by Executive Management.

A recent suspension of one of the Directors at the company, suspected to be the whistleblower, seems to have opened a Pandora’s Box with accusations and finger-pointing between management exposing a trail of corrupt practices at the institution.

The Director (known to this publication) was suspended on allegations of disclosing the company’s confidential information and “soliciting a reward or bribe” contrary to SPEDU’s General Terms and Conditions of Service.

The suspected whistleblower remains suspended despite having been cleared of any wrong doing by the SPEDU Disciplinary Panel. Central to the DIS investigations are a series of multi-million Pula tenders awarded without following proper procurement practices, and other allegations of abuse of office by the CEO.

The CEO is alleged to have, among other issues, registered his brand new official company SUV, Nissan Patrol, under his own personal name before amending the registration details following enquiries. The Nissan Patrol is reported to have been a replacement of his official Land Rover Discovery 4, which the CEO is alleged to have purchased from the company for as little as P34, 000.

Papers submitted to the DIS allege that Mokubung influenced the outcome of an Investment Conference tender in order to receive monetary benefits for his “Christmas holidays expenditures”.

The tender was allegedly given following Selective Bidding to give the CEO total control on who was to be awarded the contract. Mokubung would allegedly receive favors from the handpicked winner.

The SPEDU CEO is also alleged to have failed to disclose his conflict of interest in employing the services of former company Secretary and Legal Adviser (name withheld). The latter is reported to have, as some form of quid pro quo, employed Mokubung’s relative (name withheld) at his law firm.

SPEDU is also reported to have been in the process of awarding an P84 Million Bulk Land Serving tender with the CEO reportedly pushing for selective bidding because “the cake from this tender is bigger than any”, It has been alleged. The aim, according to documents passed to Sunday Standard, is to have the SPEDU Executive Management select a specific company they want to win the tender. Also forming part of investigations against the CEO and his team are a series of questionable procurements that include: (i) Procurement of 11 laptops and mobile phones for the Board at P500, 000 which was sought through RFQ (request for quotation). (ii) Procurement of Cadastral Services which was awarded directly, contrary to company procurement procedures which dictate all procurements above 150,000 be awarded through tendering as opposed to RFQ. (iii) Procurement of Bio-Metric Solutions awarded and paid before reaching Management Tender Committee (MTC).(iv)Procurement of Porter Cabin Partitioning Services also awarded through RFQ and paid in full before MTC consideration. And (v) Procurement of Legal Services awarded by direct appointment. Despite acknowledging receipt of Sunday Standard enquiries at least a week before publishing, efforts to get a response from the CEO have proved futile. Sunday Standard had sought to know among other things information surrounding the purchase and sale his two official vehicles respectively, conflict of interest in the awarding of legal services tender, and irregularities in awarding various tenders.

A questionnaire to the company’s Communications office had also not been responded to, two months later.