Thursday, September 24, 2020

Pensioners’ money a soft target for thieves in the North

The issue of the safety of pensioners and the money they draw from government has once again come to the fore.

This is after a clutch of thieves made away with thousands meant to be disbursed to old age and war veterans’ pensioners in Tutume.

Five people, among them a government pension scheme officer and two government drivers, were recently arrested and brought before Masunga magistrate courts after they allegedly broke into the offices of the Department of Social and Community Development and made away with an undisclosed amount of money.

Speaking to The Sunday Standard on Friday Tutume Police Station Commander ,Stephen Kebaitse, said he could not disclose the exact amount of money that was stolen.

He, however, estimated it to be in the tens of thousands of pula.

Kebaitse also said that there are still concerted efforts by the police to recover the money after part of it was found as far away as Gweta. Suspects have all been released on bail.

According to Kebaitse it is not the first time that thieves have shown an interest in pension funds.
He said there had been three unsuccessful attempts to break into the same offices of the department of social and community development before.

There are no measures to ensure the safety of such officers and thieves can actually follow them to their house to demand the keys to the safe, as it once happened in Masunga when thieves made away with more that P 100 000 after torturing the officer into giving them the office keys.

Principal Pension Officer in the Department of Social Services, Samuel Kowa, told The Sunday Standard that it is true that his department was besieged by continuous problems of theft of pension funds.

He said the Francistown regional offices had branches in Sua Pan, Selibe Phikwe, Bobonong, Tutume and Masunga and all of them have at one point been robbed of thousands of pula in pension funds.

Though for security reasons Kowa was hesitant to disclose the procedures followed in the transportation and safe keeping of pension funds, he grudgingly admitted that a lot remains to be done to ensure the safety of such funds.

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