Tuesday, April 20, 2021

“I leave MRI a happy man” – Makgalemele

Dear Editor

Reference is made to your article, which had the title “MRI sweeps Makgalemele out of the board room”.

I wish to start by expressing shock and disappointment that your newspaper published in such a scurrilous manner a concoction of misleading rumors and factual inaccuracies without contacting either myself or the Chairman of MRI Board to enquire as to their accuracy.

It is also sloppy and unprofessional journalism not to give at least all parties concerned the benefit of an opportunity to at least state their position, particularly that MRI is a public company and my position as MD is very much in the public eye.

Your so-called impeccable source does not have facts at his/her disposal or your reporter distorted much of the information they were given.

For the record I shall address some of the main inaccuracies raised:

1. MRI has not incurred any losses under my leadership. It made the following net profits after tax: for the year ended June 2004, P3.2 million; a record P4.4 million to June 2005; and P2.9 million to June 2006.

This is all on public record, which was published in newspapers. On record are also the reasons for the diminished profitability in 2006: the loss of the GEMVAS contract which is still awaiting a high court judgment; increased operating expenses in order for MRI to provide more extensive and expert coverage such as the opening of a base in Palapye; investment in new equipment and technology so needed to provide our emergency safety net; and our inability to secure capitation increases from medical aid schemes for the last three years. It is also a fact that there are now three players in the market.

2. I was employed by MRI Botswana on a three-year contract which expires in December 2006. I have decided not to renew the contract since I wish to pursue other personal and national interests, and the board has acceded to this request.

It is also not true that I shall leave this week. In fact, as and when you decide to publish this communication (hopefully sometime in 2006), I shall still be working as the MD of MRI. In addition, I am finalizing discussions with MRI whereby I shall continue doing some consultancy work for MRI in the area of business expansion, advocacy and lobbying especially in the areas of telemedicine and call centre development.

I leave it to the reader to judge if an under performer would be allowed to continue to be associated with a reputable establishment such as MRI.

3. The MRI sponsorship to football is for P900 000.00 over two years (which is P450 000.00 per year and not P900 000.00 per year for the next 4 years as per your article), and it runs up to the end of the current football season.

MRI believes in the value of football in the development of our nation and is determined to support it to the best they can.

A board at which meeting I had declared my interests in football sanctioned the MRI sponsorship, and my conscience is clear that I did nothing to influence the board to approve the sponsorship. The MRI board comprises of individuals of independent and reputable minds.

4. It has to be noted that I leave MRI a happy man: we now have in place a competent team in the sales department; a coherent management team with diverse skills; new innovations such as telemedicine being in place and an aggressive programme to grow the call centre business; a revised organizational structure where MRI will now have a Chief Operating Officer and an Operations Manager, a development that shall allow the new MD to concentrate on the growth opportunities presented by the Botswana economy especially liberalization of the telecoms industry, public private partnerships and privatization.

Your vindictive newspaper is free to check all these facts with the Chairman of the MRI board, Dr Paul Davis. One can only hope that the article helped your newspaper generate more sales during this week.


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