By Basadi Morokotso
The public education division of the office of the Directorate on Corruption and Economic Crime (DCEC) in Maun has sent a strong warning to Community Based Organizations (CBO’s) operating in the North West District to keep away from any forms of corruption which can jeopardize the management of their organizations. The warning comes at a time when most community trusts have been faced with administrative challenges which led to some of them closing down because of unprofessional conduct.
At a training workshop attended by representatives of Board of Trustees from various trusts, Principal Anti Corruption Officer Thuso Gaolebe highlighted that of recent there had been an escalation of allegations of corruption across most sectors of government, parastatals as well as community trusts, which the government is trying in vain to put off. He stated that corruption has proved to be a scourge as it impacts negatively on social and economic development, something which they have as the DCEC decided to embark on as well as to discourage all those who might have the intention to join in, so that they may see the light and thus drop their mission. Many at times, he said, accusing fingers have pointed at some irresponsible board members who are in pursuit of self enrichment and thereby stealing the same proceeds which are meant to benefit communities. He noted that as people’s representatives, board of trustees must always bear in mind that they have duty to cascade awareness and prevent their staff from engaging in corrupt practices. “It is a good thing that you are here today because our hope as the DCEC is that through this training workshop, you will emerge as better people as you will be in an enhanced position to identify areas of vulnerability to corruption. It is therefore imperative that you are privy to and able to appreciate corruption in its various forms as this is the starting point in corruption control at organizational level”, he said.
Another speaker, Anti corruption officer Thuso July brought to the attention of attendants that the DCEC office in Maun has been overwhelmed with reports of some trust members who were reportedly living beyond their means as a result of misuse of funds. He said there has been cases of cheating and misuse of funds, and incidents also whereby trust members would just go all out to sell trust fleet to themselves or their associates without proper auctioning. Another shocking concern according to July is the issue of salary increments for some members which in many cases is done without following the constitution of the Board. He advised that should these anomalies be spotted, members of the public must feel free to make reports to the DCEC office, whether in an anonymous or open form. He said however that though allowed, his office does not encourage anonymous way of reporting due to their low success rates. As for reports made openly, he said they always give the DCEC a better chance of success in carrying out investigations, considering that whoever would be making such reports will also be furnished with appropriate feedback, should the need arise.
However, Kgosi Timex Moalosi of the Sankuyo Community Trust decried that there has been realization that some people take delight in making false reports to either Botswana Police Service or DCEC just to tarnish the names of other members. In his view, such people usually do so because their thinking is that the Board will take immediate action and just dismiss members based on petty talk. In response Gaolebe assured him that the DCEC always makes it a point that they conduct thorough investigations so as to establish the truth of whatever report would have reached their office. “We never leave issue like these lying low. People need to be mindful of the fact that it costs us time and resources to carry out investigations as it sometimes involves travelling and so forth. And so if during our investigations we realize that a report made to us is false and was a personal agenda to punish the other party, then we will take whoever made such a report to task and usually the outcome is never good”, he warned.