Tuesday, September 29, 2020

Guma-Moyo probed for abuse of office

BY REUBEN PITSE & KHONANI ONTEBETSE

Samson Guma Moyo is facing investigations for allegedly abusing his power as Chairman of the Parliamentary Committee on Statutory Bodies to pursue vendetta against former Directorate on Corruption and Economic Crime (DCEC) Director General Rose Seretse.

Seretse who is currently Chief Executive Officer of Botswana Energy and Regulatory Authority (BERA) has filed a complaint with the Clerk of the National assembly that Guma

Moyo confided in some friends that he would use his position to “fix” her for freezing his business accounts when she was the DCEC Director General.

Guma Moyo who was three years ago investigated by the DCEC on allegations of corruption and bribery has openly vented out against what he termed a politically motivated investigation. Speaking at a recent #Team Masisi rally in Tonota, Guma Moyo could not hide his bitterness when he spoke of how he got the shock of his life In May 2015 when he learnt from his bank manager at Standard Chartered Bank that they received instructions from the highest office that his accounts be frozen. At the time, Seretse was the DCEC boss lady.

In her complaint letter to the Clerk of the National Assembly Seretse alleges that she received a tip off before appearing before Guma Moyo’s watchdog committee as accounting officer of Botswana Energy and Regulatory Authority (BERA).
Seretse stated that Guma Moyo allegedly boasted that he was itching to get his revenge against Seretse even before she appeared before the committee accompanied by BERA chairperson Bernard Ndove recently.

The letter by Seretse suggests that Guma Moyo violated Parliamentary ethics that bar members from pursuing personal interest through official action.  

In a response to a Sunday Standard questionnaire, Principal Public Relations Officer Caroline Bogale-Jaiyeoba said “kindly be advised that the letter you are referring to was not addressed to the Speaker of the National Assembly as you all allege but rather to the Clerk of the National Assembly.”
She added that “…further that the purpose and contents of the said letter cannot be shared with any person because of its confidentiality.”

In an unprecedented breach of faith in parliament’s oversight role, BERA recently issued a press statement in local papers questioning the integrity of Guma Moyo’s committee.

BERA charged that, “it was clear from the onset that this was not a normal Committee. The Chairman of BERA Board was called and summoned that he must appear before the committee. When the Chairman indicated that he had a pre-planned trip, he was threatened that should he not appear a subpoena will be issued to him and that he will be locked in jail (sic).”  
BERA said that its CEO was also told that should the Chairman fail to show up, a process to lock him up would be initiated.

“Other CEOs were quite surprised as to the appearance of the BERA chairman adding that questions were asked that were not related to the report that BERA had submitted a few days in advance that the Accounting Officer was not aware that such questions would be asked as she would have brought evidence to the questions asked (sic).

“The questions were pre-typed on a piece of paper. BERA has since submitted evidence to the questions asked on paper trail on the recruitment process that was followed in relation to the positions that were asked about. No questions were asked at all on the financials which one will have thought will form the core of the examination (sic).”
BERA further stated that, “One would have thought a question would have been asked on the turnaround time and customer service standards or any other process for executing our mandate but that was never to be.”  

Contacted for comment, Guma said he was not aware of any complaints lodged against him or his committee by BERA.

“I do not have any idea what the compliant is all about,” he said.

He said it was important that enterprises understood how Parliamentary (Standing) Orders and Privileges work.  

He promised that if it were established that he abused his powers he would tender his resignation as chairman of the committee.
On the press release that was issued by BERA he said “it was unfortunate that the statement was issued before the committee compiled a report to be tabled before Parliament.

“That alone shows serious lack of understanding of how  Parliamentary committees work as they could have waited for the process to be completed and later challenge the report before the court of law once the report has been approved by Parliament,” said Guma.

Contacted for comment, Seretse declined to be drawn into discussing the matter.

This is the second time in seven months that Guma Moyo is being accused of abusing his office as Chairman of the Parliamentary Committee on Statutory Bodies to fight personal battles.

Media report revealed in April that two weeks before the former Director General of the Directorate of Intelligence and security Services Isaac Kgosi appeared before Parliamentary Committee on Statutory Bodies to answer questions on the controversial National Petroleum Fund (NPF) plunder; Guma Moyo had approached the DISS boss with a proposal to supply fuel to the fund.

Kgosi allegedly spurned Guma Moyo’s proposal and media reports claimed that the Member of Parliament was so bitter that he made up a story that the DISS was planning to assassinate him and his colleague in the committee,Selebi-Phikwe West MP Dithapelo Keorapetse.
Keorapetse deposed an affidavit that on April 5, 2018 he received a call from Guma relating to their work in the PAC concerning and relating to the NPF.

He alleged that in the cause of their conversation Guma informed him that he had received a tip-off from an anonymous member of the DIS that there was a plan by the agency to either harm him and Guma following what was perceived as their hostile and intense attitude in the questioning and interrogation of the NPF. The paper further accused Guma Moyo of misinforming parliament that Botswana Public Employees Union (BOPEU) has some deals with NPF after the union dismissed his business bid to partner with them.

An NPF audit however later vindicated Guma Moyo after it emerged that BOPEU through its investment wing, Babereki Investment had received P53 million from the NPF through fund managers Kgori Capital.
 

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