Wednesday, January 19, 2022

CEDA denies corruption claims

The Citizen Entrepreneurial Development Agency (CEDA) has dismissed as untrue allegations that it a cesspool of maladministration and corruption.
CEDA Head of Marketing and Communications, Anno Tshipa, was responding to continued reports and allegations and reports in the media that corruption and maladministration are rampant within the agency; the unsubstantiated allegations are baseless and malicious.
She said a 2011 Forensic Audit was aimed at interrogating the agency’s structures, processes and operations, and where necessary take disciplinary action against any wrong doers.┬á
Tshipa pointed out that if someone has concerns about how their application was handled, there are various ways to go about it; the first being to bring it to the attention of CEDA management. 
She added that where they believe management could hinder the process, there is the board of directors, as well as the shareholder. Tshipa stated that beyond that, where one has proof impropriety on the side of anyone people employed by CEDA the best and logical thing is to approach law enforcement. 
“If DCEC believes there are grounds to carryout investigations at CEDA, I believe that the Act allows them to do just that.┬á Beyond that I believe that they have a right to take anyone to task if he or she is interfering with the execution of their duties,” said Tshipa.
The CEDA spokesperson stated that to question efficacy of the DCEC without due evidence brings into question many of the structures of governance in this country.
Asked   what CEDA is doing to ensure Batswana do not lose trust in the agency and that there is transparency in the funding of projects, Tshipa pointed out that in the course of handling applications, decisions are not made by one person.
She added that beyond the desk officer who evaluates proposals, the business plans are further analysed by the Risk Department before they are submitted to the Management Investment Committee.
“The committee is chaired by the CEDA CEO, and it has decision making powers up to P4million.┬á Beyond that level, the decisions are passed on to the board of directors.┬á Where an applicant receives a rejection, Management provides a very detailed explanation so that they know what to fix if they wish to resubmit,” said Tshipa.
She further advised that if an applicant is not happy with the decision made, they can appeal to the Board of Directors, who outsource to a number of business advisors to appraise the project. She emphasised that the CEDA Board of Directors presides over a robust appeals process that allows every applicant who is not happy with the decision reached by management. 
Tshipa added that applicants are given three opportunities at no cost to the institution to appeal decisions. 
┬á“Most of the allegations made in the media come from people who are not happy with the decisions made by CEDA; and they have a right to complain.┬á What is not helpful is complaining without substance.┬á That does not allow for any corrective action to be taken.┬á Further, not agreeing with the decision reached is not the issue,” said Tshipa.
She explained that there are avenues to either fix the business plan or move on to another business idea that stands to be successful.  Tshipa further said that to allege corruption and not substantiate it is now tantamount to harassment and that is the issue.
“Every citizen of Botswana has a right to apply for a CEDA loan, and that includes members of parliament.┬á ┬áThat however does not mean that each and every person can and will be funded.┬á Apart from the rigors of a sustainable business model that consider many factors, viability and ability to create employment being foremost; resources in place mean that the Agency cannot even fund half of the applications that it receives on a yearly basis,” she stated.
Tshipa also emphasised that CEDA will never discuss individual projects or their business proposals in public forums.  She pointed out that the only projects they discuss through the media are successful ones and added that even those they do it with the express concern of the entrepreneurs.

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