The Minister of Youth Empowerment, Sport and Culture Thapelo Olopeng on Monday refused to disclose the name of the directors of a company in which he is accused of being conflicted.
Parliament heard that the company in question, Brave Heart has won tenders from Olopeng’s Ministry and also performed at functions in his constituency.
Answering a question in Parliament, Olopeng would not divulge the names of the ownership of Brave Heart save to state that “The company that was engaged in Miss Botswana 2017 is a citizen owned company called Brave Heart.”
The company won the tender worth P1 224 550.48 for sound, stage and lighting during 2017 Miss Botswana.
The Minister said the information he was presenting in Parliament was from Botswana Council of Women-distancing himself and his Ministry from participating in the procurement of the tender as it is “prerogative of BCW.”
“BCW solicits funds from all corners of the country including from my Ministry and the private sector. Even though we are stakeholders we do not participate in the procurement process as is the sole prerogative of BCW,” Olopeng said.
Besides admitting Brave Heart performed at Miss Botswana 2017, Olopeng also admitted that the same company performed at the Remmogo Festival in Tonota- his representative constituency.
“I wish to make it categorically clear that Tonota Remmogo Festival is not a programme or an event from the Ministry of Youth Empowerment, Sport and Culture Development,” he said.
Olopeng was responding to a question from Gaborone North legislator who suggested that Botswana Music Union music awards for the year 2017 was given a meager sponsorship by the Ministry while Brave Heart was awarded a whopping P1 224 550.48 for the same year.
According to Olopeng, the sponsorship for BOMU music awards for 2017 was P5000,000.00.
“No individual was awarded sponsorship larger than that of BOMU by my Ministry. It has to be noted that the Ministry sponsors programmes that are in line with its mandate and not so much entities or organizations,” he said.
But Nkaigwa insisted that Brave Heart always wins tenders with the Ministry including the annual Miss Botswana over sound, stage and lighting. He added that the same Company does the same activities including disc-jockeying for the Tonota Remmogo Festival sponsored by Olopeng.
“It is against this backdrop that I smell a conflict of interest by the Minister even fronting. How could Brave Heart always win tenders with the Ministry and thereafter perform at the Minister’s festival,” asked Nkaigwa.