Investigations by the Directorate on Corruption and Economic Crime (DCEC) into the curious procurement of 20 000 rolls of material used to shroud dead bodies are believed to have been frustrated by a government decision to donate 480 of the rolls to Congo Brazzaville.
This was after the Office of the Auditor General queried that the Department of Central Medical Stores (CMS) under the Ministry of Health (MOH) had bought material for shrouding dead bodies which it was estimated was enough to be used for one hundred and sixty-seven (167) years.
The donation to Congo Brazzaville is part of Botswana’s response to an explosion which rocked that country last year.
Public Procurement and Asset Disposal Board (PPADB) records reveal that, in fact, a request had been made and approved “for the purchase of 30 000 rolls of this material”.
This would be enough to last two and a half centuries (250 years).
However, information availed to the OAG, indicates that only 20 000 rolls were received between June 2008 and March 2009. Sunday Standard was unable to establish whether a further 10 000 rolls were still to be procured.
A further probing into the purchases revealed that in the four-year period since the first consignment of the shrouding materials in 2008 a total of 477 rolls had been issued from the records of the CMS giving an average issue rate of 120 rolls per year.
The Auditor General observed that in most cases hospitals do not need to shroud dead bodies as families of the deceased would usually collect their dead for alternative arrangements elsewhere.
Phillip Mutambarah, Assistant Auditor General, Public Accounts Committee (PAC) at Parliament of Botswana has confirmed to Sunday Standard in a past unpublished interview, that Dr Kolaatamo Malefho, as the Accounting Officer of the MOH, had told a sitting of the PAC that the matter had been reported to DCEC.
DCEC Public Relations Officer, Lentswe Motshoganetsi, would not discuss the case saying, “The DCEC does not disclose information on cases it is investigating, so we are unable to say whether we are investigating the matter at issue.”
During an interview in the past, the Auditor General, Robby Sebopeng, said, “legally we cannot share the details of companies and individuals linked to the supply of the products under discussion, but we have presented before the PAC everything we had been able to lay our hands on, so all the stakeholders including the DCEC know what to do.”
Upon informing the PAC of the donation made to Congo Brazzaville last year, the PS also told the Committee that, “Efforts were being made to dispose part of the remaining materials to some local companies.”