The Director of the Directorate on Corruption and Economic Crime (DCEC), Rose Seretse, says corruption in Botswana is becoming a cause for concern, particularly at the Gaborone City Council (GCC) and other town councils.
Seretse revealed this on Thursday when addressing a full council meeting that procurement, human resources, contracts and projects are major areas that are prone to corruption at GCC.
She said that the DCEC found that ordering goods from the same company over and over, as well as using different company names belonging to the same person are many instances of corruption at the council.
Seretse further indicated that cost overruns of projects, inflated prices and conflict of interest are also of concern at the council.
She revealed that the DCEC has recorded a total number of 119 cases related to corruption in the past four years.
“Unfair promotions, leakage of confidential information, unfair transfers, unfair appointments and full payment for incomplete work are taking place in the council human resources,” said Seretse.
Seretse further revealed that vehicles are taken to garages and get paid for as if they had been fitted with new parts when, in fact, the parts fitted were old. She also pointed out the practice of taking vehicles that are still under warranty to private garages.
On the issue of contracts and projects, Seretse stated that the quality of projects not meeting set standards due to the exchange of valuable considerations and changes in the scope of the project is also a common feature at the council. She said failure to enforce penalties on contractors for time delays on projects and price variations has been going on.
“We are in progress on amending the current anti-corruption Act and also we have introduced an anti-corruption topic to the education syllabus in schools,” said Seretse.
She added that change in lifestyle, extended relationship with particular clients and batches of documents that are rushed for signing are major indicators of corruption. She said that refusal to go on transfer or to accept promotion and receiving of gifts are also indications of ongoing corruption.
She encouraged members of the public to report corruption openly and not to remain anonymous and to also support anti corruption initiatives.
“The Maun area is rated the highest in land fraud issues of forged title deeds, followed by forging of the drivers’ licences. We, as DCEC, had to team up with organizations such as BOCCIM to assist us in the private sector. It is important to highlight that Local Authorities are not spared from the problem of corruption,” she said.
Seretse observed that causes of corruption are opportunity, discretion, delay and greed. She added that when there is no control mechanism, checks and balances, it becomes a breeding ground for corruption. She stated that lack of supervision and monitoring of employees, unlimited decision making as well as not accounting to the decisions taken also lead to corruption.
”Just as HIV/AIDS kills human beings, corruption kills the economy. There is need for a concerted effort to fight this evil called corruption,” said Seretse.