Thursday, July 9, 2020

Masisi declines request by Morupisi to get contract extended

President Mokgweetsi Masisi has thrown embattled Permanent Secretary to the President Carter Morupisi under the bus by rejecting his application to have his employment contract extended.

Morupisi together with his wife, Pinny Morupisi, and a company identified as R7 Group in which she is the director first appeared in court September last year on corruption related charges. The charges are allegedly linked to the misappropriation of funds from the Botswana Public Officers Pension Fund (BPOPF).

Morupisi who was appointed to the influential post during former President Ian Khama’s administration was seen as a loyal civil servant and a man who could be trusted in defending government policies as he switched sides from Khama to Masisi and defended government policies. According to sources at government enclave, Morupisi is reported to have not seen it coming; i.e. that President Masisi could allow for his prosecution as he continued to defend the latter against Khama.

The Sunday Standard has learnt that Morupisi, whose contract comes to an end at the end of February, had submitted an application to President Masisi’s office seeking an extension of his contract with another five years.

But Masisi who suspended Morupisi from office with effect from 2nd September 2019 has recently rejected the latter’s application.

Contacted for comment this week, Morupisi confirmed that his contract is coming to an end this month (February).

Asked if he had applied for the extension of his contract, Morupisi was non-committal. When probed further, what his next move will be after the end of his contract, he said he would share more details at a press conference that he intends to hold soon. He referred further queries to the Office of the President.

Government spokesperson Andrew Sesinyi was cagey when asked to comment on the matter.

“Our response is to the effect that: Employment contract issues are between the employer and the employee and therefore personal to the extent to which the employer ought to respect the rights and confidentiality of the employee’s issues,” said Sesinyi in a written response to Sunday Standard queries.

He added: “It would therefore be inappropriate to discuss confidential files of individual employee in the media as that could or might prejudice the confidentiality therein.” Sesinyi also defended the government’s decision not to share more details about the status of Morupisi employment contract stating that “exceptional public interest and benefit must be proven beyond reasonable doubt if this employer-employee contract confidentiality is to be lifted. Your questionnaire does not make such exceptional circumstances evident.”

But this publication put it to Sesinyi that Morupisi’s case is in the public interest because he is facing charges relating to funds belonging to pensioners as a public officer hence the public has a right know about the status of his employment and the case.

The charge sheet states Morupisi is charged with three counts of abuse of office, acceptance of bribes by a public officer and money laundering while his wife is charged with a single count of money laundering.

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Sunday Standard July 5 – 11

Digital copy of Sunday Standard issue of July 5 - 11, 2020.