Sunday, September 27, 2020

Monkge had saved Gov’t P100m before he was sacked

Former Permanent Secretary for Basic Education Collie Monkge had helped to save P100million of public money before President Mokgweetsi Masisi sacked him, Sunday Standard has learnt.

The president sacked Monkge after an audio tape went viral in which Dr Monkge could be heard berating school teachers using uncouth language at a meeting the permanent secretary had addressed in Palapye.

The president said he had utmost respect for Monkge as an educationist, before adding that the permanent secretary’s conduct had however fallen too far short of a new governance vision that the president was trying to build, especially in relations between teachers, trade unions and the government.

For that reason Dr Monkge was allowed to go.

Before his sacking Monkge, had been involved in dismantling a cabal at the Department of Technical Services that was working in concert with contractors to steal millions of public money.

Government had engaged contractors to renovate a number of schools across the country.

In almost all the contracts, contractors had overcharged government to the maximum adjustment price permissible under law.

This attracted the suspicion of Monkge who immediately engaged the services of state investigators to look at the remarkable coincidences.

At the same time Monkge stopped the claims by the contractors until an audit had been compiled.

It was established that some of the contractors had close links to some politicians, including cabinet ministers who had been sharing the loot with contractors as part of the campaign finance.

From then hence, Monkge was a marked man and senior ruling party politicians started baying for his blood. By the time the tape was leaked in which he could be heard using offensive language some of which bordered on the lewd, his goose was cooked.

Since his departure, investigators watched helplessly as once again the thieving cartel is back in full swing, with all the invoices that Monkge had put on hold being released.

In a totally unintended way, the sacking of Monkge has had negative consequences on efforts to fight corruption at the Ministry of Basic education.

“As was the case before his arrival looting of government money facilitated by corrupt officials at the Department of technical services has resumed,” said an investigator involved in cases that had been referred by Dr Monkge.

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Sunday Standard September 27 – 3 October

Digital copy of Sunday Standard issue of September 27 - 3 October, 2020.