Saturday, December 4, 2021

Mokaila vows to clean up BTO mess

By Calistus Bosaletswe

The newly appointed Environment, Wildlife and Tourism Minister, Kitso Mokaila has vowed to clean up the Botswana Tourism Organisation(BTO).

The organisation has emerged as the biggest offender of corporate governance at the government enclave operating for years without a Chief Executive Officer and the executive board.

BTO has ignored calls by the Parliamentary Accounts Committee (PAC) to appoint a Chief Executive Officer and the Executive Board after it became evident that cronyism, corruption and nepotism were rampant at the state-owned enterprise.

The PAC has accused former Minister, Tshekedi Khama of meddling in the administrative issues of the organisation ÔÇô a claim which partly contributed to the resignation of the BTO CEO Thabo Dithebe.

In his response to Sunday Standard enquiries, Mokaila promised that the BTO CEO post will be filled soon.

Mokaila said that he is engaging different heads of department under his ministry over the matter.

He further stated that he intends to address many issues that have been a concern under his ministry. “That’s why I am back,” Mokaila said.

The PAC has in the past accused the former minister of cronyism for appointing his friends to some of the positions at BTO.

The organisation was also accused of the irregular setting up of the tourism levy administered by Botswana Tourism Board. Minister of Finance and Development Planning Minister, Kenneth Mathambo, had earlier indicated that though his ministry has a mandate to establish such funds he was in the dark about the tourism levy. He indicated that procedures were not followed when establishing the levy.

The statutory bodies and State Enterprises Committee also warned the former Minister of Environment, Wildlife and Tourism that the establishment of the tourism levy was unlawful. The committee was concerned that the levy was not audited as it was not established following proper procedure.

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