Wednesday, June 23, 2021

Finance PS rubbishes Auditor General report

Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Finance and Development Planning, Solomon Sekwakwa has denied reports carried in the current Auditor General’s report that there is a security company contracted by the Ministry which is being paid on monthly basis for doing nothing.

In response to questions whether such a company existed and if so why it was paid for doing nothing, Sekwakwa said the allegations from the Auditor General’s report were flawed and not accurate. Explaining the matter, Sekwakwa admitted that there was a company called Anacondah Security Guards which the office of the Accountant General had entered into a two years contract with for the provision of 24 hour alarm monitoring service, maintenance of alarm gadgets, time clock systems and call out in 36 revenue offices around the country. He however declined to state the terms of the concerned contract saying such information was confidential.

“Please note that due to respect for confidentiality it would not be appropriate to provide same without prior approval of the contractor concerned,” he said.

Sekwakwa explained that, according to his knowledge, the company was still carrying out its duties until the elapse of its contract. He added that the payments that were made to the company were as per the contracts, which stipulates that payments would be made as per the service provided. Sunday Standard investigations have identified the company’s Directors as Muleli Onalenna, Ramaeba Onkabetse, both Botswana citizens as well as Obvious Ndlovu, a Zimbabwean national.

In his report the Auditor General had stated, amongst other things, that the Ministry of Finance entered into an agreement with a security company through the office of the Accountant General for provision of security services in 36 treasury cashier offices throughout the country for a period of 24 months at a contract price of P1,696 149,50. The security company would be under obligation to provision of 24 hours security services at the premises by providing protection to property and people including guarding and patrolling the premises. The security company would also employ appropriate technical skills and methods which are normally required for the class of security services for which it was engaged and also install alarms amongst other things.

However, the Auditor General said he found that the company was based in Jwaneng and did not have offices in the areas where the country wide treasury cashiers are located. Further that it was unlikely that the contractor would perform the above duties with diligence, efficiency and economy which were contemplated in the agreement. He also found that it was doubtful whether government would get value for money in the contract.

“ My understanding on the matter is that it is envisaged that in the event of emergency, the services of Botswana Police Service would be sought while the response of the contractor was awaited, which may be any time later. Further that it is common cause that the police would in any case react to any matter reported to them. But it should be understood and appreciated that they are not on standby purposes of the contract,” said the Auditor General.

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