Sunday, April 18, 2021

BMC making profit ÔÇô Khama

A bit more detail would have been helpful but all President Ian Khama would say when addressing a political rally last Saturday was that the Botswana Meat Commission has gone back to making profit.

“We fixed BMC. It no longer has problems and is now making profit,” the president told a Botswana Democratic Party rally in the Gaborone Central constituency.

This was the complete opposite of what the Minister of Finance and Development Planning, Kenneth Matambo, said in his 2014/15 budget speech in February this year.

Matambo told parliament then that BMC had registered a loss of P290.9 million in 2012, following another loss of P233.5 million in 2011.

He attributed this dismal performance to its delisting from the European Union market as well as the outbreak of foot and mouth disease in the North East District.

Some other people would add to the list, the unusual business practices that were unearthed by a parliamentary investigating the Corporation.

These practices were eating away at a once vibrant organisation that provides livelihood for hundreds of thousands of small farmers in rural areas.  

Through the only arrangement of its kind in the world, these farmers are able to sell cattle to the European Union market.

During the hearings of the parliamentary committee, it was discovered that farmers that had been engaged to buy slaughter animals on behalf of BMC, instead sold their own cattle to it and earned a commission.

A former finance manager told the committee about how the board of directors would convene for days on end in order to increase the amount of money they would earn as sitting allowance.

It was discovered that millions of pula had been stashed in a secret bank account in the Cayman Islands, a tax haven in the Caribbean that the Chief Accountant knew absolutely nothing about.
BMC auditors ÔÇô Deloitte & Touch├® ÔÇô couldn’t audit accounts of a subsidiary of the parastatal because important documents could not be traced, especially those relating to the Cayman Islands bank account.

The committee has recommended that the Directorate on Corruption and Economic Crime (DCEC) should launch criminal investigations into some of the shady deals that were revealed in the course of months-long hearings at the National Assembly. Former president, Sir Ketumile Masire, was among those who testified.

RELATED STORIES

Read this week's paper