Monday, October 25, 2021

DCEC probes Lobatse Town Council/Milk Afric deal

The Directorate on Corruption and Economic Crime (DCEC) is investigating the Lobatse Town Council (LTC) over issues surrounding a dairy project which is failing to take off.

At the centre of DCEC investigations are government employees who were sent to America for studies by Milk Afric but later terminated their scholarship midway through their studies.

The Lobatse Town Council says it is clueless about the five government employees who terminated their scholarship un-ceremonial.

This publication has seen confidential communications between the DCEC and LTC in which the former wants to be furnished with documents relating to the scholarship of the employees in question.

The communication reads“DCEC is investigating allegations of corruption surrounding the establishment of Milk Afric Dairy in Lobatse whereby five employees who were in dairy farming scholarship and sent to USA are pulling out of the project and are coming back to Botswana.”

The DCEC confidential letter instructed the council to provide credible and detailed information about the whole project which include names of government employees that returned before completing their studies in USA as well as the contract and condition of study in the USA; a copy of report regarding their return and payments made by the investor.

Responding to the DCEC queries, Lobatse Town Council Clerk Boikhutso Matenge stated that they do not have the list of names of those who were nominated to study dairy farming in USA.  Instead, she said, they only have their pictures that were in the program during their send off ceremony.  

She explained to DCEC that the council is not privy to the conditions of study because Milk Afric did not share the details with the council.

Matenge stated that her council understood that the students “will be going on attachment/practicals/hands on training.”

She added that the ministry of Agriculture should have been privy to the contract and conditions as five of the students were their employees.

Matenge revealed to the DCEC that initially the lease payments were due on the 1ST of February 2016 with a monthly payment of P8 333, 33 but the company is in arrears.

She aid the council has served Milk Afric with an invoice on the 26th of April for the period from the 7th of Feb to 7th May 2016 which by then was in arrears.

“We have also invoiced them for the equipment hire to the tune of P159 816.00 of which the invoice was issued on the 5th of November 2015,” she said.

Meanwhile about two months ago five employees of the Ministry of Agriculture terminated the scholarship and returned back home.

Earlier it was reported that the students were at loggerheads with sponsor over allowances that “were cut to half of what they were getting.”

It was reported that the Botswana Embassy in USA tried to intervene but the negotiations collapsed resulting in the students returning to Botswana.

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