The marathon power struggle at Botswana Confederation of Commerce and Manpower (BOCCIM) notched another watermark this week when Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Maria Machailo-Ellis was suspended from duty “with immediate effect” on Thursday.
Machailo-Ellis was served with the letter on Thursday by BOCCIM President Alex Monchusi during an internal senior management meeting held at the BOCCIM Secretariat.
The suspension letter dated 25 July states that Machailo Ellis was suspended pending investigations into, among other things, her office’s repeated failure to carryout critical duties and lawful instructions.
Other reasons for her suspension are that she has refused or failed to send out notification to members for the Annual General Meeting (AGM) to be convened with six weeks of the AGM of the 26th June 2013; defying instructions to send out notification to members that AGM will be held on the 7th August 2013.
“By your actions you are holding the entire organization and its membership hostage. You are therefore suspended from duty forthwith with full pay, pending further investigations and disciplinary action against you,” states Monchusi’s letter.
The letter also states that Machailo-Ellis has refused or failed to send out members, notification and ballot papers of the nominations for office bearers to be elected at the next AGM. The suspension letter also accuses her of failing to comply and send out the documents in question to ensure compliance with constitutional requirement that they be sent out at least 30 days before the AGM.
“Hence once again the AGM will have to be postponed beyond the ‘within six weeks’ period instructed by the AGM of the 26th June, 2013. A charge letter will follow once the investigations are completed,” states the letter.
Contacted for comment on Friday, Machailo-Ellis told Sunday Standard that she has not received a letter from d BOCCIM Council suspending her from duty as the CEO.
“I am the CEO and the Council has never called any meeting to give me that kind of instruction. I need to uphold the principles of BOCCIM and not personal interests” she said.
She added that “if anyone is to fault me for failing to adhere to principles it is very unfortunate.”
“Every organization has its challenges and it is not the interests of BOCCIM to try and resolve our differences through the media,” said Machailo-Ellis.
She emphasized that as BOCCIM CEO, she report to the Council but not BOCCIM President Monchusi and if he has done so he is doing it for his personal interests.
“My understanding of the BOCCIM rules and constitution is that my engagement and performance is the decision and responsibility of council,” said Machailo-Ellis.
The BOCCIM boardroom wars took another twist as Monchusi issued a memo on Friday to BOCCIM staff aimed at “ensuring continued order and proper functioning of the organization.”
The memo which was addressed to BOCCIM Directors and management; Dichaba Molobe, Norman Moleele, Sheillah Moribame, Zoe Isaacs and Sylvia Molapise was also copied to Machailo-Ellis and Kgosiemang Molosiwa.
The memo states that no instructions shall be received from the CEO as she is now suspended from duty and that any instructions from the Machailo Ellis are to be ignored or referred to Monchusi until further notice.
“With immediate effect, Ms Machailo-Ellis shall not sign any transactions or sign any cheques on behalf of BOCCIM, until further notice,” reads the memo.
The memo also states that with immediate effect, all cheques shall bear the signature of BOCCIM President (who is already a signatory) and that of one other signatory and that Machailo-Ellis shall sit and do a handover of her current assignments to Directors Sheila Moribame and Norman Moleele.
“The acting appointment on CEO position will be announced in the next few days. In the mean time all matters requiring decision making shall be referred to BOCCIM President,” says the memo.
During her suspension, the memo states that, security officers should not to allow Machailo-Ellis into the premises of BOCCIM without first contacting BOCCIM President.
Contacted, BOCCIM Head of Public Affairs, Marketing and Communications Sheila Moribame referred this publication to BOCCIM Council.
BOCCIM Council consist of amongst Moffat Mbaakanyi, Modiri Mbaakanyi, Gobusamang Keebine, Mpho Balopi, Neo Nwako, Orefitlhetse Masire, Charles Siwawa, Tumi Mbaakanyi, Lily Rakorong, Butler Phirie, and Way Jordan as well as Odirile Merafhe to mention a few.
The Council list also includes Sedie Rankhudu, Dudu Khupe, Oabile Mabusa, and Palalani Moitlhobogo as well as Leta Mosienyane.