Sunday, January 16, 2022

BAMB board defies Manake

Botswana Agricultural Marketing Board (BAMB) board of directors have defied the Assistant Minister of Agriculture and Food Security Beauty Manake.


The Assistant Minister wanted former chief executive officer (CEO) Leonard Morakaladi, who was fired from his position a few months ago  reinstated.


This comes as reports indicate that the Directorate on Corruption and Economic Crime (DCEC) is investigating the assistant minister’s conduct.


Information passed to this publication suggests that the assistant minister of Agriculture Manake instructed the board to reinstate the dismissed former CEO Morakaladi to his position from the 1st of December 2021.


It is understood that soon after the board received the instruction, an urgent board meeting was convened few days ago to discuss Manake’s order.


A close source to this publication claimed the board reached a unanimous decision not to reinstate the former CEO.


It is reported that the assistant minister made a proposal to the board that if the former CEO is not reinstated, the board should at least reach a settlement by paying him a salary for a year or two.


Sources claimed that the board felt that Manake was putting the board under enormous pressure for no good reason


“Some board members were assigned to report the matter to DCEC as the assistant minister is allegedly abusing her office,” the source claimed.


It is further understood that BMC board also recently rejected Manake’s proposal to appoint Morakaledi as a substantive CEO of BMC.  


BAMB board secretary Onkemetse Thomas would not be drawn into discussing the latest development.


DCEC spokesperson Lentswe Motshoganetse confirmed  the investigations.
“It is true that the agency is probing allegations of corruption surrounding BAMB.”


“I am not in position to discuss detail surrounding the investigations.”


When contacted for comment Morakaladi stated that negotiations have been ongoing between him and government as he strongly believes he was dismissed unfairly and unprocedural.


He stated that he is not considering taking legal action against his former employer because litigation ‘drains ‘and it should be the last resort.


He stated that he would be more willing to go back to his position and ready to serve wherever he could be deployed.


“My track record speaks for me,” he said and would not be drawn to comment on corruption claims.


When contacted to comment, Manake declined to comment.


Sometime around May this year, Morakaladi was fired from his position and a new board of directors of BAMB was appointed.


Soon after the appointment of the board, Minister Karabo Gare instituted an internal inquiry surrounding Morakaladi.


However, the inquiry has been completed and the report is before the minister’s table.

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