Saturday, November 28, 2020

DCEC throws whistle-blower under the bus

A whistle blower who was fired from her job for uncovering corruption at Statistics Botswana may have been sold out by the Directorate on Corruption and Economic Crime (DCEC).

Court records in the case between Statistics Botswana and their former Human Resources officer Marang Teisi reveals how Botswana is failing to protect public interest by exposing whistleblowers to victimisation.

Teisi was dismissed by Statistician General Anna Majelantle on allegations of improper disclosure of Information and abuse of office by accessing confidential information for private gain after filing a complaint with the DCEC detailing incidences of corruption at Statistics Botswana.

Curiously, her public interest disclosure to the DCEC ended up on newspaper pages and on the parliament floor. Statistics Botswana then fired her on suspicions that she had also passed the information to newspapers and former Member of Parliament James Mathokgwane, then a sitting legislator. It was on the basis of the disclosure that a commission of enquiry was instituted against Statistics Botswana.

Teisi has filed an application challenging her dismissal. She prays that; the decision by Statistician General to dismiss her from her job should be reviewed and set aside; an order  be issued  declaring that as at the time Statistics Botswana commenced disciplinary proceedings against her it had at law forfeited its right to discipline her.

In her founding Affidavit Teisi acknowledges that she authored the document that exposed corruption and maladministration at Statistics Botswana which ended up on newspaper pages and on the hands of former MP Mathokgwane. She however argues that she gave the document to the DCEC only and does not know how it ended on the papers or in the hands of the MP.

She points out that although she was accused of leaking the document to the media and the MP, neither the MP nor journalists who wrote about the document were called at the disciplinary hearing to testify that they got the information from her.

“The allegations against me of improper disclosure of information were not proved inasmuch as the persons to whom the information was allegedly disclosed to were not called to testify that indeed I personally disclosed the said information to them. I indicated to the panel that the only person or body I made disclosure to is the DCEC,” said Teisi.

Teisi further argues that her former employer Statistics Botswana had not made any attempts to satisfy themselves to verify if the information was not leaked by the DCEC office or some other persons within her erstwhile office.

“The disclosure has not been satisfied inasmuch as no person did in fact appear to testify that the said information has been disclosed to them by none other than me. This is ruse. The sole reason I was dismissed is the fact that I agreed to give evidence to the DCEC on the maladministration of the public funds by a certain group of people at the High ranking offices of my erstwhile employer” she said.

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