Sunday, July 12, 2020

GCC officers taken in for questioning on fraud allegations

Officers from the Directorate of Corruption and Economic Crime recently questioned several officers of the Gaborone City Council’s By-Law Department on suspicions that they were colluding with private security companies to defraud Council.

This apparently followed after the DCEC was tipped off that some facilities belonging to the Council were not being guarded whilst private security companies continued being paid by the Council for the provision of security on those premises.

After the report was made to the DCEC, it apparently mounted surveillance cameras at the locations and, after seeing the results, took in the concerned officers for questioning.
According to a source, some of the facilities in question are located in the bushy area of Gaborone North and they include pump houses belonging to the GCC.

The source says that after the arrests some officers at the Department were allegedly sent out in a minute’s notice to investigate the reports.
It is not known what their findings were.

In the past, there were several break-ins into GCC properties after their security had been handed over to private security firms in line with the government’s policy of privitasation.
The break-ins took place in primary schools and teachers’ residential houses resulting in the loss of both property and funds belonging to the Council. It is not known if GCC was reimbursed for the loss.

Some teachers in council houses that were guarded by the private security firms then also complained that the guards were rarely at their stations and that, at times, they were seen for only a few minutes, if they came at all.
The hiring of private security guards has also in the past resulted in the Council failing to pay them and taking back the task of guarding Council property. To do that, they hired people as temporal security guards.

These guards are currently still claiming they are owed by the GCC as they were under paid for the job they did.

Amongst their claims is that they were not paid for the extra hours they worked for the Council.
This is being denied by the head of the By-law Department, Pako Paledi, who maintains that they do not owe them any money.

The concerned people vowed that they would take up the matter with higher authorities as they felt they had been cheated.

In another issue related to the Department, the Council has been paying some by-law field assistants money amounting to thousands of pula for the last six months for not doing anything.
This has been confirmed by some of the field assistants who are currently always roaming the streets of Gaborone or milling around near their head quarters at the Gaborone Bus Station.
The stand off between the field officers and their department apparently came after the Department had wanted to transfer them to the Sanitation Department without notice.

This matter has even been reported to the National Amalgamated Local and Central Government Workers Union and was confirmed by its Organising Secretary, Otlaadisa Maswabi, who said that the GCC authorities had not come back to them after they postponed the first meeting they were supposed to hold to discuss the issue.

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