Monday, April 22, 2024

Gaborone mayoral chain stolen

For as long as she has been the political head of the Gaborone City Council, Veronica Lesole has been missing one very important piece of jewellery around her neck ÔÇô the mayoral chain of office that was stolen last year.

Its cost: P152 000.

With no replacement having been bought, Lesole now has to make do with some clever optical illusion in the form of a piece of cloth embroidered to look almost like the nine-carat gold chain that disappeared under mysterious circumstances.

Soon after it happened, the theft was reported to the Central Police Station in whose area of jurisdiction town hall falls.

The CPS station commander, Superintendent Kevin Mookodi, says that his officers are still investigating the case and that thus far, no actionable information has come out.

The chain had been insured with AON Botswana and some time after it was stolen, the city council put in a compensation claim that failed because it did not meet the insurer’s requirements. In a letter written to then deputy clerk, Ditlhogo Mmualefe, AON informed GCC that “under normal Theft Section Policy, the loss does not qualify as a claim due to the fact that there was no forced entry to or exit from the office where it went missing”.

AON’s advice to the city council was that it should place an advert in newspapers, offering a reward of P5000 for information leading to the chain’s recovery.

“The chain is presumably one of [a] kind therefore we anticipate that someone might easily recognise it and shed some light [on] its whereabouts,” reads AON’s letter.

The chain is indeed one of a kind because it is not the sort worn by everybody and not one you walk into a jewellery store to purchase. As is common practice in some parts of the world, only the mayor wears it and its procurement is through special means. The chain, as well as the deputy mayor’s sterling silver chain, was bought in October, 2008 from a company called Granny Greens. The total purchase amount for the two chains was P200┬á346.35 (P152┬á555.95 for the mayor’s and P47┬á790.40 for the deputy’s).

For some reason, the city council never acted on AON’s advice because no advert was ever placed in newspapers to appeal for the help of the public.

Worse than the trail running cold, Mmualefe, the officer put in charge of the chain’s reclamation, is no longer working for GCC. He was transferred to a different local authority this year and had not made any useful headway before leaving.

The information about the disappearance of the mayoral chain of office comes out at a time when GCC is going through a very trying period. It has two town clerks and one of them, Agnes Seragi, is contesting her transfer to the Kweneng District Council.

An investigation into the city council’s affairs is also being mooted as stories of nepotism, corruption and general maladministration emerge on an almost daily basis.

In as far as administrative absurdities go and if there is a grain of truth to what we have been told, the officer who blacklists those who refuse to buy the Asian rinky-dink that she peddles from a lackey’s office would be a strong contender for first prize. A former GCC employee alleges that he was transferred out of Gaborone simply because he repeatedly refused to buy clothes from this dime-store. A repeat customer was reportedly rewarded with promotion to a post he does not qualify for.

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