Wednesday, October 20, 2021

BR CEO was opposed to appointment of BR board member as MD of subsidiary

Information passed to Sunday Standard show that the appointment of Lesedi Moakofhi as the Managing Director of Gaborone Container Terminal (Gabcon) is being questioned by no less an authority than the Chief Executive Officer of the parent company, the Botswana Railways

Until her resignation last month, Moakofhi had been a member of the BR Board of Directors. She has just been appointed the MD of Gabcon, which is one of BR subsidiaries. From a corporate governance perspective, everything is wrong about this appointment because of the obvious layers of conflict of interest. During the process of recruiting the MD, the BR CEO, Dominic Ntwaagae, fired off a letter to the Chairperson of the Gabcon Board of Directors, Legodile Serema, to register grave concern about this development.

In the letter dated November 8, 2016, Ntwaagae notified Serema that he would like to recuse himself from the recruitment process because Moakofhi was a BR Board member with whom he had not only worked with for 10 years but who also interviewed him for the CEO post. In terms of BR’s governance structure, Gabcon has its own board whose composition is governed by the joint venture agreement between BR and Transnet Freight Rail of South Africa. The Chairperson and some members of the Gabcon Board are appointed by the BR Board with Transnet appointing other Board members. Both the Gabcon Board and the BR CEO report to the BR board.

“The point that I’m making from the above is that from a procedural aspect, there seems to be an inherent conflict of interest whereby a serving member of the Botswana Railways Board (the Parent Company) is headhunted to be the Managing Director of the Subsidiary Company that reports directly to the same Board. I would advise that the Gabcon Board consider my concern before making their determination on this matter,” Ntwaagae’s letter reads.
The other point that Ntwaagae raised in his letter is that results of the psychometric tests clearly showed that a South African citizen called Luvuyo Hobo to be a better candidate for the position. The problem though was that he was earning much more money where was working than what Gabcon could afford. That notwithstanding, Ntwaagae advised that Hobo be offered the position all the same and that if he declined the offer, “then the position should be re-advertised.” 

Such entreaties fell on deaf ears because Hobo was never offered the position. Instead, Moakofhi ÔÇô who was retrenched by the Botswana Public Officers Pension Fund this year, was given the P66 000-a-month job.

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