Monday, October 26, 2020

DCEC to block BUIST auction sale following graft claims

The Directorate on Corruption and Economic Crime (DCEC) which is investigating allegations of corruption at the Botswana International University of Science and Technology (BIUST) intends to stop an auction sale by the university slated for 28 March.  

While BIUST spokesperson Keoagile Rafifing said he was not aware of the planned public auction sale, a document passed to the Sunday Standard shows that the university intends to sell a number of its vehicles through a public auction sale. 

The document titled “Disposal of vehicles-Volvo” states that “the closing date for submission of bids is 21st March 2016 at 1230 hours. Kindly complete this form and deposit in the tender box situated by the BIUST reception area on or before the 28th March 2016.”

The document also states that “please ensure that you have registered your particulars in the registration book provided by the Procurement Unit before placing your bid in the tender box during submission. Opening of bids shall commence immediately after closing time at VIP meeting room.” 

“Payment for all assets bought at an auction shall be made within seven working days following the auction date. If the asset is not paid within seven day the asset may be awarded to the next second highest bidder. Assets sold at an auction shall remain the property of the University until fully paid for by the bidder,” the document states further.
The document reveals that BIUST intends to sell seven Volvo latest model vehicles.

Asked if the auction would go ahead as planned, Rafifing said “there is no such a thing. We would have informed the general public about the auction sale.” He added that their assets were new and there is nothing that could have necessitated the selling of such assets through a public auction sale. 

Sunday Standard has learnt that some employees, in particular, those in management positions use their junior officers to bid for assets during BIUST’s public auction sale. “They use the junior officers to bid for the goods or assets and later buy from them. Vehicles are valuable items,” said a source.

It is understood that one of the managers once bid for a vehicle that was used by former BIUST Vice Chancellor Kweku Bentil but did not pay it off within seven days as per BIUST auction regulations. It is understood that the university received payment in April 2014 despite the fact that the vehicle was bought in April 2013. 

“The university had to bend the rules and regulations and the payment for the vehicle was entered into the registry as being made in 2013 while in actual fact it was done in 2014. There is no transparency at all as far as BIUST auctions are concerned,” said the source.

Responding to Sunday Standard queries DCEC spokesperson Phakamile Kraai said “DCEC would like to state that we do not disclose our investigation to the third party as per Section 44 of the Corruption and Economic Crime of 1994, we therefore can neither confirm nor deny if we are investigating the matter you raised.”

 

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