Just a few weeks after the much vaunted Botswana NGO week where issues of governance were discussed, a leading Non Governmental Organisation enjoying the patronage of Botswana and United States Governments has had its National Director suspended from work pending investigations.
Maungo Mooka, the Director of Makgabaneng, a popular HIV/AIDS awareness Radio programme, has been temporarily laid off by the board following allegations of financial misappropriation.
The Board of Makgabaneng are said not to be happy with the way the NGO is run.
Other allegations pertain to the failure by the Director to pay income tax on her salary.
Ironically, Mooka sits on a number of NGO boards including MISA Botswana and BOCONGO (the umbrella body of all Botswana’s NGOs).
While Board members have been cagey about the issue, Mooka’s deputy, Nelson Phoga, confirmed the suspension.
He, however, would not go into details.
Phoga said the suspension was ordered by the Makgabaneng Board.
“I can not comment on what she did because I have not been delegated to do so,” he said.
Efforts to get a comment on the matter from Board Chairman Matlhaku were futile. The Board Deputy Chair, Modise Maphanyane, declined to comment, as did the Executive Secretary of BOCONGO, Baboloki Tlale.
Sunday Standard investigations have, however, turned up information to the effect that early this week, the Board summoned Mooki to account for a number of expenditures.
When they were not satisfied with her responses, they ordered her suspensions pending investigations.
“I cannot comment on the issue as I do not have any information relating to it.”
Sources close to the issue, on the other hand, disclose that the suspension is in connection with funds she is suspected to have embezzled.
Allegations of financial embezzlement are a slap in the face of BOCONGO Chief, Tlale, who this week wrote a hard hitting letter defending NGOs.
This follows an editorial by The Sunday Standard last week which said that NGOs had become some of the worst havens of corruption.
Tlale wrote that BOCONGO and NGOs are well aware that the credibility of their governance systems lies at the very heart of the survival of NGOs.
He said donors, governments and international partners cooperate with NGOs on the understanding that such organisations have robust governance structures and processes. “BOCONGO would like to challenge The Sunday Standard to substantiate their allegations by naming the individuals and organisations that are involved in unethical and unbecoming conduct or approach relevant authorities with the evidence. That is what is expected from an independent media, be a watch dog of society and not a protector of sleaze,” wrote Mr. Tlale.