Sunday, May 29, 2022

OP reprimands officer over former Minister Seretse’s P46 000 fridge

The Office of the President (OP) says an officer responsible for the purchase of the controversial P46 000 fridge for former Minister Ndelu Seretse has been reprimanded.

“We are a Government whose civil service is obliged to operate according to established procedures,” the government spokesman, Dr. Jeff Ramsay, told the Sunday Standard on Friday.

OP took blame on behalf of the former minister citing that “administrative lapses” led to the purchase. Ramsay said OP has not yet paid for the fridge.

With an increasing penchant to draw money from government coffers, including the National Disaster Fund where is the office going to source the money?

“We can only do so with proper approval which we still do not have. You may recall that it was the Public Procurement and Asset Disposal Board (PPADB)’s rejection of our request that brought the matter to the attention of the Press in the first place. The matter is, therefore, still under discussion,” was Ramsay’s response.

The PPADB rejected a request by OP for retroactive approval to pay Life Style (PTY) Ltd P45, 99 00 for the supply of the former minister’s Gaggenau RB 272 refrigerator in June this year.

OP exonerated Seretse from any wrong doing following the purchase and conducted its own investigations into the procurement following the Sunday Standard expose. The investigation was concluded with findings that had two words – “administrative lapses”.

This was after the Ministerial Tender Committee and the highest office in the land were at loggerheads for months over interpretation of the Section 18,19 and 20 of the Green Book although the sections have got nothing to do with such purchase yet OP, quite clearly defiant of established procedure, went ahead and bought the fridge.

PPADB rejected a request by OP for retroactive approval to pay Life Style (PTY) Ltd P45, 99 00 for supply of the former minister’s refrigerator. Ramsay would not say where funds will be sourced to pay for the purchase, following disapproval by PPADB saying it was “premature”.

The threshold for kitchen items for ministers is P20, 185. The amount covers electric refrigerator, chest freezer, ironing board, kitchen table, kitchen chairs/stools, washing machine, dish washing machine and microwave oven.

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