Monday, September 21, 2020

10 Million Pula stock disappearance forces BAMB to install CCTV cameras

Botswana Agricultural Marketing Board (BAMB) will install closed-circuit television (CCTV) security cameras at all its depots across the country as way to curb stock theft.

This was a revelation made by the newly appointed BAMB Chief Executive Officer, Leonard Morakaladi responding to Sunday Standard inquiry during the media brief held at Botswana Craft, Gaborone on Friday.

BAMB has been struggling with the stock theft for years. In December 2017, BAMB expelled several senior staff members from its depots around the country following a completion of stock accounts.

The BAMB and the National Strategic Grain Reserves officers were dismissed on account of theft and fraud after an internal audit discovered that they had been looting national silos tonnes of grains over a period of time.

Some of those dismissed told this publication in confidence claiming that their dismissal was a witch-hunt, as some of the senior officers and executive managers were part of the ring of web that was involved in stock theft.  The source alleged that there were cases where sorghum which was procured from South Africa between 2012-2016 went missing. “The adjustments were made to cover their tricks and there was loss in 2017,” allege the source. Another source alleged that, in some areas there was stock which was outdated, particularly the fertilisers which was procured in large quantities and could not be all dispersed. They signed for disposal forms and the management failed to dispose off the stock in their books as they were afraid to go and answer to the Board.

Morakaladi who only have about 75 days in office said BAMB is going through a phase. “We have grown in size since our establishment and therefore there will always be such mishaps. I cannot deny that there can be issues of theft, fraud and the like. However, those who were found wanting with the stock in hand we dealt with them through a dismissal.”

Sunday Standard has learnt that the stock loss currently sits at P10million. Morakaladi said “part of the stock loss included that stock (grains, fertilisers, medicines) which was disposed off due to its expiry and P4million is for the stock which could not be accounted for.”

To complement the security cameras, BAMB-Head of Finance Rox Rabalone said, “we will also have a bar code on our products to enhance loss of stock in our branches which has been a major concern.”

In another matter, reports reaching this publication are that the Board had a year ago procured lucerne product from a certain farmer in South Africa worth a P1million, which to date has not been delivered.

Pressed on the matter, although he could not divulge much on it, Morakaladi acknowledged that there is a case in which the concerned farmer did not deliver on his side. “Our procurement process of lurcene was a normal one just like any other. The supplier failed to deliver. We are taking the matter for litigation; we will demand our money back,” he said.

According to Morakaladi, the procurement which happened sometime in 2017, the farmer has only to date delivered a P300, 000.00 worth of lurcene and P600, 000. 00 worth still pending and that is what they are going to demand back.

According to close sources, this procurement together with the stock losses, in addition to the dismissed senior staff members- had forced two executive managers to part ways with the organisation, after which they failed to account to the Board of Directors.

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