Wednesday, April 14, 2021

Families refusing to reimburse govt for repatriation of deceased relatives

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation is at loggerheads with some families of the deceased who were repatriated by the government back to Botswana following their deaths outside the country.

One of the families has since threatened the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation to desist from pestering her over the payment while the ministry has confiscated a lease belonging to another family.

┬áThe Ministry’s Permanent Secretary, Lapologang Lekoa, informed the Public Accounts Committee when quizzed about the outstanding payment, amounting to P500┬á000, that they had experienced difficulties in recovering the money.┬á

“We are unable to recover the money from families that were helped by government to repatriate their families abroad. The two families had shown their willingness to pay but they have since stopped paying,” said Lekoa.

He noted that the government repatriated the bodies but only experienced difficulties in recovering the money afterwards.

Lekoa said that one of the family members only paid once but when she was followed up, she denied that she ever had an agreement with government for the repatriation.

Lekoa pointed out that the family member also indicated that she is not bound to pay the government hundreds of pula that she owes.

He added that the family member had been uncooperative all along after the repatriation and that the family member also refused to show those who were carrying out assessment of the properties and the financial statements of the deceased.

He stated that the family member had also indicated that she had never signed any contract with the government.

Lekoa said the ministry is now having difficulty in recovering the money because there was no agreement signed between the deceased’s family and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation.

He added that, initially, the family member could have signed an agreement with the Ministry before the repatriation was done.

Meanwhile, Lekoa informed the PAC that one of the family members who was helped by the government to repatriate his family who died abroad had surrendered a lease for his house.

Lekoa said that the family voluntarily gave them a lease certificate to show them that he intended to pay. He said that they will keep the lease certificate as a security for the time being.

 Lekoa said that usually an assessment is carried out by the Ministry of Local Government, which later advises the Ministry of Foreign Affairs if the families are able to pay or not, based on their income. He further stated that an assessment that was carried recommended that the two families who are now refusing to pay were financially stable to pay the costs incurred by the government during the repatriation.

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