Court records before the Lobatse High Court suggest corruption, infighting and break down of authority at the Directorate on Corruption and Economic Crime (DCEC).
This emerged in affidavits filed by 21 DCEC officers who sought to overturn Tymon Katlholo’s controversial scheme of service which re-designated them “from the professional cadre to artisans and technicians, lowering their career ceilings.”
High Court Judge, Isaac Lesetedi, in his judgment delivered this week, upheld their argument that Katlholo’s scheme of service was unlawful. Said Justice Dibotelo, “It appears to me that the Director of the DCEC at all material times acted in good faith though wrongfully, but with no malicious intent.”
Affidavits filed with the high court, however, alleged how one officer was victimised and her contract not renewed because she opposed Katlholo’s unlawful scheme of service. Mapula Makgale states in her affidavit how she was promised a renewal of her contract if she resigned from the group that opposed Katlholo’s controversial scheme of service. Makgale turned down the deal. A few days later, she was sitting in the company of DCEC Director, Tymon Katlholo and his deputy, who told her that “although they were still consulting, they had reason to believe that they would not extend my contract given how close I was to attaining 60 years.”
Makgale’s contract was not renewed although the DCEC had reviewed the contract of an expatriate who was retained beyond the age of 70.
The aggrieved DCEC officers portrayed Katlholo as a paranoid and dishonest blunderer who fiddled with the establishment register to cover up his mistakes.
From the court records, Katlholo comes across as a leader who has lost the plot and is presiding over an organization that malfunctioned so badly that the courts had to step in. Amid the general staff discontent, led by the investigation divisions, his two assistants, Gerald Kgomo and Barupi, turned against him and joined the group that opposed his unlawful scheme of service. It emerges in the affidavits that “there was pallor of general staff disquiet and resentment”. Kgomo states in his affidavit that Katlholo told a meeting of senior managers that he was disappointed because some of his managers had failed to contain the dissent among their subordinates.
“In fact the strongest dissention was from the two investigation divisions headed by Assistant Director 2(2) Reginald Barupi and myself as (acting Assistant Director 5) and the disappointments expressed were directed to us (but not by name.) as it was felt we could have done more in calming down staff.” It is understood that Barupi was asked by the Deputy Director to write responses to his aggrieved subordinates. Barupi, however, refused because he did not want to take the responsibility for Katlholo’s mistakes “and also he was in the dark as to the principles and basis of such re-designations” states Kgomo. A few days later, in an apparent bid to quell the dissent among staff, Katlholo allegedly wrote letters to aggrieved officers, promoting them to non existent posts again. Kgomo says Katlholo’s gesture was, however, viewed as an attempt “to correct his improper re-designations…specifically his de facto demotions of persons affected; even then he did not have the candor to correct his errors, and was doing so through a wholesale promotion exercise.”
“The officers who received the promotions (including some of the applicants) were not content because they too viewed the promotions as a belated correction of what was long overdue to them and which the director was now giving as an act of benevolence,” says Kgomo. It emerges in the affidavit that, at this stage, Katlholo and his aides were apparently becoming paranoid. Kgomo says he did not voice his dissent against the promotions because he knew “how sensitive Katlholo was about the issue.” The apparent paranoia was not helped by leaked stories which started appearing in the media about the crisis at the DCEC. Kgomo says at a subsequent meeting, Katlholo would not conceal his annoyance.