Tuesday, May 18, 2021

Open letter to BNYC ÔÇô “VEE must pay back the P300┬á000”

In the spirit of transparency and accountability we pen this letter as a concerned organisation. As an organization, we hope this open letter finds you well. The nation has recently learnt of illicit transactions between BNYC and one local musician-cum-entrepreneur Odirile Vee Sento amounting to P300 000. We are further informed that the money was a payment for a performance which never took place yet our good musician kept the spoils. The transaction raises a few pertinent questions to which we hope the BNYC will provide answers.

Firstly, the nation must be told if BNYC has followed proper channels and procedures in procuring the services of Vee. It is now trite that for state funded departments and organisations such as BNYC, the procurement of goods and services must be open to all and transparent. I wonder if other local musicians had the opportunity to be considered for their services by BNYC before awarding the lucrative deal arbitrarily to Vee.

The BNYC is fully funded by the tax payer. As such, it cannot have the luxury of splashing tax payer’s money in an irresponsible fashion without allowing open bidding┬á to enrich those who we all know are ‘friends of the regime’ such as our good artist Vee. One might ask: of all our local artists, why did the BNYC arbitrarily choose Vee? The recent accusations of financial mismanagement and impropriety are a serious indictment to BNYC and there is need for accountability to the nation. In that light, we demand from the BNYC to avail all information surrounding the procurement of Vee’s services to be made public so the nation has closure on the matter. The nation, as funders of BNYC deserves to know the truth about the dealings and nocturnal financial practices of BNYC. The P300┬á000 underhand deal between the BNYC and Vee qualifies as a classic case of corruption, impunity with state resources and a culture of awarding financial favours to a few elites who have links to the ruling party.

Secondly, in the case of non-performance of contractual obligations, none of the contracting parties should unduly enrich his estate at the expense of the tax payer. From what we gather, Vee did not honour his obligations yet he kept the P300 000 pay-out. Surely, it cannot be business-as-usual. Vee must do the least honourable thing and consider paying back the money without further delay and as a revered man of God accept moral responsibility for the entire ugly episode. He has unduly benefited in a manner that offends procurement procedures that are well established in government funded organisations. 

Batswana continue to be swindled of their tax money by irresponsible spending and flawed procurement practices that boarder near corruption and unaccountability. The suspension of BNYC Chairperson Mr. Sibanda cannot be sufficient enough to allay the fears of the nation that BNYC is a fertile breeding ground for corrupt practices. It is totally unacceptable for BNYC to be run like an Italian mafia gang or a Ponzi scheme which ignores established rules and procedures on procurement of goods and services. What annoys us the most is the seemingly casual and hands-off approach by the government on the mess and rot besieging BNYC while the youth leaders continue to be reckless and careless with the tax payer’s money.

I make a clarion call to BNYC to demand that Vee pay back the P300 000 and the contract between the parties, which in itself was an exercise of illegality as procurement procedures were ignored to be made public so we know what really transpired. Thirdly, BNYC must consider a public apology to all local musicians who were never considered or invited to tender for their services. The preferential treatment given to Vee by the BNYC is offensive to competition and it alienates other deserving local artists to compete for such lucrative deals. The youth of this country must hold BNYC accountable. Instead of being a vehicle for our concerns as the youth, the organisation has been on a frolic of its own. It has been hijacked by thirsty tender-preneurs who are obsessed with capital and all that comes with it. There is need for urgent reform at BNYC if the organisation is to play a meaningful role in the lives of the youth and to be taken seriously by the nation.

Arafat Khan
BNFYL Secretary-General

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