Less than a year after his appointment, an executive Botswana Railways manager has been suspended over suspicion that he embellished his curriculum vitae to get his job.
The manager held a very sensitive post in the finance department. At this stage, BR is staying mum on the matter.
“The matter is currently under investigation and we cannot at this point confirm or deny the allegations against the employee,” BR’s public relations said.
The allegations are that late last year, the manager in question was recruited for a plum executive management post with the understanding – on BR’s part, that he was suitably qualified. Somehow, word leaked out that the man was not the real deal and late last month, management decided to suspended him while it ran a background check on him.
The bigger question is not just how this manager slipped through the system but how the organisation carries out its recruitment process. Some 13 years ago another BR manager who also held a sensitive post, was revealed to be a fraud by the media.
The manager, who held the post of safety manager, had submitted to the human resources department, a CV that had him completing his GCE at Mater Spei College in 1977 and being employed two years later at the Debswana mine in Orapa as a plant foreman.
Upon investigation it turned out that could not be possible because the arrangement at the time was that one had to enrol for a lengthy apprenticeship programme, graduate from it and work a few more years before qualifying to become plant foreman. After being exposed, the manager resigned a few days after he had gone on leave.
If nothing else, the 1998 case pointed to the fact that BR had neglected to undertake an exhaustive verification process when recruiting personnel – especially those who held highly sensitive posts.
As indication of how ill-suited to the job the safety manager in question was, a year earlier he had directly participated in the the derailment of a goods train. Alongside other managers, some of whom are still in post, he excitedly toyed with a brand new signals system but had not notified the control office in Mahalapye about their experimentation. The result was that a train coming from South Africa derailed, resulting in millions in losses. To date, no punitive action has been taken against the culprits.
The most obvious question the current case raises is what the organisation presently does to ensure that it hires the right people. Sunday Standard had wanted to know what measures, following the 1998 case, were put in place to ensure that there is thorough background check on candidates such that candidates with bogus qualifications are weeded out. However, the only response from BR was the one line about investigations having been set in motion.