Monday, September 21, 2020

Forensic Audit looms at Bank Gaborone as NPF saga continues

The Parliamentary Committee on Statutory Bodies and State Enterprises has ordered the central bank ÔÇô Bank of Botswana to conduct a forensic audit on one of the local commercial banks ÔÇô Bank Gaborone.

The call for the forensic audit comes after Bank Gaborone was named amongst the banks that were used for questionable transactions by key players in an ongoing High Court case relating to the National Petroleum Fund (NPF) monies.   

In making the recommendation to Bank of Botswana, the Parliamentary committee chairperson, Samson Moyo Guma said the special audit report on Bank Gaborone will guide the committee on how funds were disbursed from the bank account to numerous beneficiary companies.

The audit is expected to amongst other things, shed light on hands behind the authorisation of certain transactions that resulted in multi millions of Pulas going to waste. The committee also intends to use the audit to determine whether the NPF monies were used what it was initially intended for.

The forensic audit call comes hardly a few months after the former Acting Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Minerals, Green Technology and Energy Security, Dr. Obolokile Obakeng told the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) how he was under pressure from the former Minister Sadique Kebonang to approve a request by DIS director, Isaac Kgosi’s to change the purpose for which the spy unit had taken P230 million from the National Petroleum Fund (NPF).

In April 2018, the PAC heard that the variation to buy military hardware instead of building fuel storage tanks across the country was at the request of Kgosi.

The DIS which had been allowed to access P250 million from the National Petroleum Fund to build fuel storage tanks for security essential services changed its mind after laying its hands on the money saying it wanted to use it to buy military hardware from Israel to be used in anti-poaching operations.

Meanwhile the Bank of Botswana Governor – Moses Pelaelo, who appeared before the committee recently committed the central bank to the committee’s instruction. He however told the committee that BoB internally has operational risks in monitoring all the risks that the commercial banks are likely to face. No time frame was given in terms of the imminent audit.

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