The Botswana National Youth Council (BNYC) has been hit by fresh claims of financial mismanagement, with some staff and board members accusing Executive Director, Benjamin Raletsatsi, and Chairperson, Luis Sibanda, of abusing the organisations funds and resources.
There is further discontent that the two men are allegedly running BNYC as a ‘one man show’ and taking decisions without the involvement of other board members and management.
Sources close to BNYC say that while they believe that an ambitious initiative called project 50k was a step in the right direction, it is open to abuse.
It is understood that the project was not supposed to be funded by BNYC as it does not need a budget.
The project, it has emerged, has gobbled┬áP300┬á000 from BNYC coffers despite the fact that this was not the resolution adopted by the board.
It is also understood that two companies have since been engaged for the youth awards slated for September this year through a single source-tender process. Insiders insist that BNYC should have been transparent in its dealings with the companies in question by floating a tender inviting other companies to bid for the provision of services for the upcoming awards.
They question the relationship between a company called Profit Masters and BNYC, especially Raletsatsi and Sibanda.
Allegations are that the company has since been offered an office space at the BNYC buildings with the BNYC bearing the rental costs.
Sources also claim that some youth affiliated to the BNYC at one point had their cheques declined by banks because of insufficient funds in their accounts.
The BNYC management should therefore be held accountable for that because there were no funds channelled toward these organisations, they claimed.
BNYC insiders also allege that at one point Sibanda demanded a P10┬á000 cheque from the BNYC treasurer after he had gone for training. When the treasurer requested for a number to verify the authenticity of the ‘training institution’ it was only discovered that it was a Sumsung office at Rail Park for a company allegedly owned by Raletsatsi.
It understood that there is also a house in G-west which costs BNYC more than P6000 per month. The board rented the house for some of its two members who are not residing in Gaborone to use for lodging purposes but now Sibanda “stays in the house full time”.┬á
They say he was not part of those entitled to stay at the house. It is also understood that initially the board had agreed that those who are not residing in Gaborone should lodge at hotels when they attend BNYC meetings because it was cheaper than renting out a house but some board members overruled this.
It has also emerged that the BNYC pays for the provision of security services for the house in question, including water and electricity and DSTV bills.
The furniture for the house cost BNYC close to P35┬á000 and indications are that BNYC board members are not entitled for that.
As a result, the relationship between Sibanda and his deputy, Boniface Disho, has broken down irreparably over the alleged maladministration issues at BNYC. ┬á
However both Raletsatsi and Sibanda have flatly denied the allegations levelled against them.
Raletsatsi said project 50K is an initiative to develop entrepreneurs and that alone will require BNYC to make an investment.
“That being said the major investment that we have done so far was to facilitate a project with BTC that has yielded a 2.35 million contract (which will grow to about 9 million) with a potential to create 444 direct jobs and promote the ICT strategy of universal access,” he said.
On Profit Masters, Raletsatsi said the company approached BNYC in May 2013 wanting to help them with business development and its related activities and areas of collaboration and ended up signing a Memorandum of Understanding in October 2013.
He said where appropriate, BNYC will, among other things, utilise Profit Masters technical expertise in developing outreach programmes relating youth and identify opportunities for co-operative work or mutually beneficial projects or activities whenever appropriate.
He denied that Profit Masters was housed under BNYC saying, “no such thing has happened however upon realizing that the BTC project was rearing fruits the profit masters person came regularly to the office of the BNYC to access internet (remember the young person who owns profit masters is young person under the age of 35) who themselves are beneficiaries of the BNYC services.”
Raletsatsi added: “The office talked about was behind a Technical advisor and the said person used an Elliot Delivery box and a Garden chair. We now have a project worth BWP 9 Million with BTC which shall result in 444 direct jobs.”
His dismissed as unfounded claims of bounced cheques from the banks belonging to BNYC affiliates.
On allegations that he owns a company that could have benefited from dealings with BNYC, Raletsatsi said: “There are several companies that operate Samsung franchises in Botswana and one of them is digital experience who own two Samsung franchise and happen to conduct strategy training as well. The specific training is attached on an original email sent to me on the training.”
“The chairperson has not made such call a point that was confirmed by the treasure in your presence,” he said.
On accusations that he and close members of the board were staying “full time” at the G-West house, Sibanda said he was residing in Serowe and therefore was entitled to stay in the house while on official duty in Gaborone.┬á
He also dismissed as false allegations that he had demanded a P10┬á000 from BNYC for going through a special training, saying at the time he was attending his mother’s funeral in Serowe.
Disho declined to comment on the matter.