Gaborone City Council (GCC) led by Mayor Haskins Nkaigwa has reported Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) secretary general Mpho Balopi and BDP former chairman also Member of Parliament for Tati-East Guma Moyo to the Directorate on Corruption and Economic Crime (DCEC) for corruption.
The Gaborone Mayor told a press conference yesterday that he reported the matters with DCEC but nothing has been done so far. He said when he asked for updates on the matters he was told “not to worry as the DCEC is on top of the matters.”
“I am talking about corruption that happened back in 2012 and we are in 2014 now. I want to believe that DCEC will not achieve anything if two years down the line they still have nothing on the table,” he said.
GCC is accusing BDP secretary general, Balopi,of unlawfully erecting billboards while at the same time some of the players in the same industry have been told to stop erecting billboards.┬á “It is disappointing that we have an industry with players within it but there are those certain players who are being favoured while others are not given a fair treatment. I am talking about the outdoor advertising industry. In 2012 we made a moratorium on outdoor advertisement, unfortunately there are those like Balopi who have powers and they have continued to erect billboards all over and when we question the government they seem not to be bothered or concerned. I have engaged my town clerk and even the Minister on this matter but as usual there is no answer coming to me.
Nkaigwa confirmed that some of the players in the same industry have been told to stop erecting billboards but Balopi is freely enjoying putting up billboards around the city. “Now it is more like he is in the business alone,” he said.
On Moyo’s case Nkaigwa said the former BDP Chairman’s hotel; Executive Closets bypassed the allowed planning parameters.┬á
“We have what we call physical planning mandated before the new local Act which allow planning parameters but we have situations where some members of the ruling party bypass the allowed planning parameters.┬á There is Guma Moyo’s Hotel in Phase four, Executive Closets which was denied permission on failure to comply with planning parameters but as we speak the hotel got the license. We refused as the council to grant them that permission but the Minister allowed that,” he said.
He said that just like Balopi’s matter they have reported the matter to the DCEC but nothing is happening yet. “We have also seen situations whereby companies have been given contracts without the consent of the local authority and without the consent of the full council,” he said.
He added that there is also a company called Menrof which was given a five year contract to put up advertisement in T-junctions in Gaborone. “This five year contract was never sanctioned by council but was sanctioned by the office of the town clerk. We report these matters to DCEC but there is nothing happening and when we investigate why we realise that those with power are involved in these businesses,” he said.
DCEC spokesperson Lentswe Motshoganetsi could neither deny nor confirm the cases. “DCEC deals with a lot of cases, I will have to go through the books to check on those particular cases but what I can confirm to you is that normally corruption cases take a long time. On average corruption cases take three years. The 2012 cases are still under investigations,” he said.
Moyo said he did not want to comment on the matter, however he said if his hotel was operating illegally the law will take its course, “I have a license for the hotel, the only thing we had a problem with was the parking space which the council did not approve but however the Minister later approved it and we proceeded with applying for the licence from the tourism board after complying with all procedures,” he said.
However Balopi described Nkaigwa as “crazy and irresponsible.”
┬á“He has to explain which billboards he is talking about. I suspect he means those billboards in private land and he does not know what the agreement between me and the landlords was. I am a responsible citizen in this country and I respect the laws. He is just an irresponsible mayor and he is not fit for the mayoral position,” he said.