Tuesday, September 22, 2020

Former Railways CEO given P5000 and told to pack and go

Former Botswana Railways Chief executive Officer, Andrew Lunga, was given a paltry P5000 (five thousand Pula) golden handshake and told to pack and go immediately.

Works and Transport Minister, Jonny Swartz, confirmed this week that Lunga’s contract was terminated and the former CEO was not even given a three months notice.

Sunday Standard investigations revealed that Lunga was due to be given a P320 000 golden handshake at the end of his contract. The free spending former CEO, however, had run up bills of up to P315 000 on the Botswana Railways credit card. When his contract was terminated, he only left with the balance, which was P5000.

Lunga would not discuss details, saying, “I got what belonged to me.” Lunga was, however, also paid a three months salary in lieu of notice.

The former BR boss leaves behind a parastatal at the center of corruption allegations. Minister Swartz told Sunday Standard this week that there are more questions than answers at Botswana Railways.

“Though my Permanent Secretary and I are new in the ministry, there are more questions that need to be answered.”

The minister said he still had to familiarize himself with the ministry before he can be in a position to field questions on the goings on at Botswana Railways.

The minister said he was aware of the suspension from work of Gobona Tobedza, the Director of Finance. The minister, however, said he was not ready to discuss details.

BR board chairman, Kobamelo Jgoboko, said the board will appoint an independent investigator who will investigate allegations against Tobedza.
Tobedza was recently suspended from work following allegation of conflict of interest.
The suspension letter, which has been passed to Sunday Standard states that “according to the allegation, it is reported that you verbally dissolved a committee that was appointed to access the tender for medical aid, group funeral scheme and group life insurances for Botswana Railways employees and then appointed a private evaluator, Ernest and Young consultants”.

The letter further states that “It is further reported that Ernest and Young consultants are advisors and auditors for Letsema T/A Botsogo (PTY) Ltd, a company owned by yourself. It is noted that the same, Ernest and Young, are financial advisors of Botswana Railways and hence report to you on daily basis. According to the report, it is suspected that the tender will be awarded to Botsogo (PTY) Ltd under your influence and that the competitors, Pula Medical Aid will, lose”.

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Digital edition of The Telegraph, September 23, 2020.