Friday, October 2, 2020

Government finally drops Czypionka

The highest paid man at the government enclave, Nico Czypionka’s contract has not been renewed following strong opposition from some senior government officials.

The Public Procurement and Asset Disposal Board two years ago approved Czypionka’s monthly salary of P160 000 as an economic consultant to government.

This was after the Office of the President had requested the PPADB for an extension of Czypionka’s services.
Under his renewed contract, Czypionka worked as a consultant for the “Preparation of the Strategy for Economic Diversification and Sustainable Growth and Action Plan for the Business and Economic Advisory Council (BEAC).”

Czypionka came across as the civil servant who had President Ian Khama’s ear. Most senior government officials resented him as an unwelcome influence who sought to be the power behind the throne, the puppet master who pulled the strings of officials in key places.

Czypionka was appointed consultant at the Government Implementation Coordination Committee (GICO) headed by Moshe Lekaukau, a strong willed leader with an illustrious career in the public service. It was not long before Czypionka’s brash style of doing business clashed with Lekaukau’s long civil service institutional memory, and the two men fell out.

Czypionka was then transferred out of Lekaukau’s office and appointed Special Advisor to Vice President Lt Gen Mompati Merafhe.

A few months into the new post, Czypionka also fell out with the Vice President. With no one in the civil service willing to work with him, government was under pressure to get rid of the East Europe-born former Standard Bank economist.

Czypionka’s contract, Tender No: PR 2/2/1/6-2 was initially renewed by PPADB in March 2007 and was to run until the end of June 2007.

The Sunday Standard can reveal that there has been a debate at the Office of the President over Czypionka’s continued presence in government following the submission of the report of the Business and Economic Advisory Committee of which he was secretary.

A senior member of cabinet had rooted for Czypionka’s contract to be extended by a further 12 months, but Permanent Secretaries resisted, and said it could only be by three months, to end of June.

In the end, the Permanent Secretaries prevailed. Government kept renewing the contract by a few months until April when they stopped renewing it.

Czypionka is also believed to have been under investigation by the Directorate on Corruption and Economic Crime. This followed a report lodged by the opposition Botswana Congress Party to the DCEC to investigate possible acts of corruption in the failed privatisation deal between Botswana Government and the South African carrier, SA Airlink.

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