Tuesday, January 25, 2022

Falepau returns to BMC

Former Chief Executive Officer (CEO) David Falepau is back to steady the troubled Botswana Meat Commission (BMC) ship, Sunday Standard can reveal.

Falepau beat two other shortlisted candidates for the BMC top job as the Board entrusted the former CEO with the responsibility to turn around the fortunes of the corporation. Cabinet endorsed the Board decision this week, giving the green light for Falepau and the BMC Board to commence with contract negotiations. It remains unclear why Falepau, who unceremoniously left the BMC job a decade ago, expressed renewed interest on the position.

BMC management would however not confirm the appointment.

“The process relating to the appointment of the CEO is the exclusive purview of the Minister (as directed by the BMC ACT Cap 74:04 Section 3 [3] Part II clause 9 [1]), and the Board having done its part as required by both principle and law, holds a view that it would therefore be improper and not be ideal to intersperse such a delicate process – by revealing its specificities or details. The Board/BMC will, at the right time, with the right authority make pronouncements on the subject,” said Board Secretary Mokoko Gaboutloeloe.

In a surprising turn of events, Acting Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Agriculture Letlhogile Modisa is also said to have been forced to resign. Modisa was earlier this year involved in an orchestrated plan by Acting Minister of Agriculture Beauty Manake to squeeze former Botswana Agricultural Marketing Board (BAMB) CEO Leonard Morakaladi into the list of candidates for the BMC job. Sunday Standard reported back in October 2021 how Manake reportedly flouted corporate governance rules in a desperate bid to hand Morakaladi the BMC top job despite the latter having failed to meet the deadline for applications.

Morakaladi eventually set for an interview, joining the list of possible candidates despite having missed a June 22, 2021 deadline for applications.

Manake was alleged to have instructed Acting Permanent Secretary Modisa to write a letter to BMC Board Director Boyce Mohutsiwa requesting that Morakaladi be included in the list of interviewees for the job.

Now Sunday Standard has been informed the Acting Permanent Secretary has resigned. However, this publication cannot confirm if Modisa’s resignation has any link to his alleged role in the BMC CEO recruitment.

The ‘new’ CEO Falepau was also forced to resign in 2012 just weeks after Cabinet fired a number of board members.

The decision followed a standoff weeks earlier between Falepau and the Board over certain decision about the then cash strapped BMC. Some board members had wanted Falepau out of the company but Cabinet backed him on account of the reforms he had brought to the beef industry since his arrival two years earlier. Instead, Cabinet opted to get rid of some members of the Board and approved funds in an attempt to stabilize the beef industry.

The BMC was no longer able to meet its financial obligations with company cheques written to cattle suppliers being dishonored.

BMC were again in late 2019 involved in another tussle with farmers over late payments. The company owed local farmers from across the country more than P160 million in delayed payments.  Some local farmers had written letters of demand through their lawyers threatening to take the corporation to court should they fail to meet their demands.

In 2020 Chairman of the Board of Directors Victor Senye dumped BMC allegedly over the government’s failure to fix long standing problems at the corporation. Senye, who tendered his in February 2020, decided he was not going to let the ship sink on his watch.

Senye’s resignation came at a time when the already struggling BMC were reeling from Covid-19 related challenges with the company struggling to cope with operational costs such as paying wages for their over 750 employees. 

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