The Parliamentary Public Accounts Committee (PAC) is questioning the decision to renew the employment contract of the Botswana Development Corporation (BDC) Managing Director (MD) Bashi Gaetsaloe that took place recently.
BDC is the government investment arm that has several shareholdings in companies such as Sechaba Holdings, Cresta Marakannelo Group as well as Botalana Ventures.
This week, one of the PAC member, Guma Moyo, asked the Permanent Secretary (PS) in the Ministry of Investment, Trade and Industry Peggy Serame if the employment contract renewal or extension of Gaetsaloe has been sanctioned by the full Board of Directors which is chaired by Blackie Marole.
Speculation is rife that Gaetsaloe’s employment contract was not authorised by a full BDC board of directors. Serame in her response stated that BDC Board Chairman Marole wrote a recommendation letter to the Minister of Investment, Trade and Industry Vincent Seretse for Gaetsaloe to be brought back as BDC MD around March 2017 for his second term at the top post.
It is not clear who pressurised or instructed Marole to recommend Gaetsaloe to the Minister. Information gathered also indicates that both the MD and Minister are close relatives through marriage.
Moyo, who is also MP for Tati East further recommended that the minutes of the BDC board meeting should be brought before the committee to verify that Gaetsaloe was endorsed by a full functioning BDC Board of Directors at the time.
“We do not need the BDC board chairman but what we want is the official minutes records of that board meeting. In fact that information is obtainable from the Company Secretary and should be readily available,” said Moyo.
Serame, who is also a BDC Board Member expressed discomfort on the instruction of obtaining the board meeting minutes from BDC and stated that it could seem that the interferes much on the daily operations of BDC.
On Friday, it was still not clear whether the minutes of Gaetsaloe’s contract renewal existed and PAC had not been furnished with the BDC board meeting minutes records as recommended.
His immediate role at BDC is to drive the industrialisation of the country by providing financial assistance to investors with commercially viable projects. The corporation he leads provides both debt and equity financing to commercially viable projects.
Gaetsaloe joined BDC in April 2014 tasked with the transformation of the business and its five-year strategy thereof. He joined BDC from Accenture Botswana where he was the Country Managing Director.