Monday, October 26, 2020

Miners union demands Debswana explain sacking of officials

Botswana Mine Workers Union (BMWU) has accused Debswana of failing to provide sufficient details as to why the mining company suspended three top officials based at headquarters.

The trio has been allegedly accused of falsifying a ‘sensitive report’ in order to protect a former managing director.

Speaking to this publication, the president of BMWU Joseph Tsimako said: “It is true that the union was officially informed about the suspension of the three top officials who are based at Jwaneng mine”. 

He said the company did not explain why the trio was suspended from duty which he described as “suspicious”.

He explained that on several occasions, the union pleaded with Debswana to provide detailed information surrounding the suspension of the trio. “Like I have already indicated to you, the union tried in different forums to ask the employer why the three employees were suspended but the company is reluctant to share information with us which is bad,” says Tsimako.

He added that it seems there is too much secrecy surrounding the suspensions which, in his view are worrisome and may somehow tarnish the good name of the company globally. 

“There are several questions that are lingering in our minds whether or not those suspended might be involved in diamonds theft, corruption practices or any crime that is huge,” he said.

Similarly, there are reports that a certain particular director is also expected to be suspended in the near future, he alleged.

“It is high time that the company comes out and tells the nation what the three employees are being accused of,” he says.

The Directorate on Corruption and Economic Crime (DCEC) spokesperson Lentswe Motshoganetsi said the agency is investigating several cases at the mining giant. 

“At the moment I am not yet in a better position to disclose information surrounding our investigations because that might jeopardise our investigations,” said Motshoganetsi.

Several weeks ago, this publication broke the story in which the diamond mining company’s head of security, a senior security manager and a senior employees’ relations manager had been suspended after altering a whistleblower’s report filed with Debswana.

The report allegedly implicated one of Debswana’s former Managing Directors.

The three senior officials had their gadgets which included laptops and phones seized as part of Debswana’s efforts to piece together information that could have led to the original report and why it was falsified. It is understood that a task force team swooped on the former managing directors’ farms to conduct an extensive search.

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