Tuesday, September 28, 2021

DCEC’s Seretse reports rosy corruption slate on ESP, but…

The Director General (DG) of the Directorate on Corruption and Economic Crime (DCEC), Rose Seretse says that they have not recorded any corruption cases pertaining to awarding of Economic Stimulus Package (ESP) projects tenders.

She was responding to journalists’ queries on whether the institution ever unveiled any misdemeanors in multimillion Pula projects awarded for ESP.

The question was triggered by the DG’s earlier presentation that: “In an effort to mitigate the corruption risks that would normally come with initiatives such as ESP, the DCEC set up an anti-corruption task force to monitor ESP projects. To date, spot checks have been conducted on different projects across the country in the Central, North West, Ghanzi, Southern Districts and Francistown.”

This was during the DCEC Pitso the institution hosted at Tlotlo Hotel and Conference Centre the past week. She highlighted that the 2016 Corruption Perception Index gave Botswana a rating of 60 percent and a ranking of 35 out of 176 countries. This she said placed Botswana as the least corrupt country in Africa.

“Despite these ratings, Botswana still faces challenges of corrupt activities in various sectors of our economy where issues of conflict of interest, collusions, influence peddling, nepotism, falsification of land certificates, titles and underhand sale of land, manipulation of land allocation systems in some areas to name but a few are continuously being reported. In the year 2016 alone, the DCEC classified 26 land related cases,” said Seretse.

She further explained that other common problematic areas are: procurement especially micro-highly inflated prices of goods and services when procured for government in most cases is done with corrupt motive, bribery, leakage of confidential bidding information for a benefit, collusion between private companies and public officers.

Despite this, questions posed by Sunday Standard on the ESP matter attracted response that: “I wish to state that the task force was formed to curb corruption, also to enhance the quality of the procurement process and award decisions as well as implementation of the Economic Stimulus Programme (ESP). The task force observed that, in some instances procurement procedures as set out by Public Procurement and Disposal Board (PPAD) and LAPAD acts were violated,” explained Nlayidzi Gambule, DCEC spokesperson.

He further highlighted that the Task Force recommended that procurement personnel follows the rules and procedures of procurement as laid down.

“So far the DCEC is investigating six cases across all government ministries. We have a general standard as the DCEC which stipulate that cases should be investigated within 12 months and we expect them to be completed within this set time frame.”

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