Wednesday, January 19, 2022

Pilikwe Chief accused of misappropriating community funds

Kgosi Bokopano Koodibetse of Pilikwe village is at the centre of accusations of misappropriation of community assets and funds. Koodibetse is accused of failing to account for the funds and assets belonging to the Bamangwato Development Association (BDA), a community trust fund which he also happens to be its chairman. A commission which was set up to make an inventory of the BDA’s assets and operations has found gross maladministration and misappropriation of funds in the association’s affairs. A Kgotla meeting held at Pilikwe on 2 October 2012 assigned a nine-man commission to investigate the association’s operations and their findings revealed a gloomy picture on the operations of the BDA. The commission, known as the Moupo Commission, was made up of Lekoko Moupo as chairman, Diphimotswe Koloi as Secretary and Mathule Mogare as Vice Secretary. Other members included Daniel Taukobong, Reemejang Segoea, Basimanebotlhe Leepile, Lenkgopile Ogaketse, Peter Monageng and Letsholo Kealeboga who was co-opted in his capacity as the VDC Chairman.

In an interview with TheTelegraph on Thursday, Moupo revealed that his commission found that a lot of things were not being done properly and that the committee which was tasked with the running of the association failed to account for the maladministration unearthed by his commission. He blamed the committee, chaired by Kgosi Koodibetse, for being uncooperative and for failing to submit financial reports of the association. “They failed to provide answers to the many questions we posed. They frustrated our investigations and they were not cooperative”, said Moupo. He said his commission was tasked with investigating the operations of Makoro Farm, a trading store and arable land, all of which belong to the BDA. Their investigations found that the fence covering BDA land, stretching from Pilikwe to Radisele was dilapidated. The borehole equipment had also been damaged and some components missing. Most of the association’s immovable assets had been abandoned. Most of the houses which were used by herdsmen at the farm were dilapidated and inhabitable. They also discovered that the kraals we in a bad condition. The total number of cattle found at the farm stood at only 138. The commission also int

erviewed the farm workers who raised numerous complaints regarding their welfare and remuneration. The workers, some having worked at the farm from as far back as 1981, complained that they have not been paid their gratuity despite the District Commissioner having instructed that some cattle be sold to cover expenses for their gratuity and despite the fact that the cattle was indeed sold. Moupo’s report, which the Sunday Standard is in possession of, reveals that the DC had ordered that 44 cows be sold to pay the workers’ gratuity but instead 50 were sold but the workers never, got their pay. Later, the committee, led by the chief, sold another 52 cows and still no gratuity was paid out to the workers. The next sale was that of 15 cows and all these sales exclude other sales of individual cows which were sold to individual people and butcheries.

Koodibetse and a certain Dipholo Dipholo who was also part of Koodibetse’s committee are also said to have collected revenue that was raised from providing water to cattle from farmers in the nearby Thebane cattle post. Even before the commission could finish their work, and just after counting the cattle at the farm, Dipholo and another person identified only as Seloma’s son who walks with the help of crutches, came and loaded five bulls in the truck. Moupo said Kgosi Koodibetse and his committee refused to divulge the initial number of cattle that was handed over to them when the DC’s office handed over the operations of BDA to them.

They also refused to divulge what the money for the sale of the cattle was used for even though they said they couldn’t buy the workers protective clothing due to lack of funds. The commission also tried to seek answers from the DC’s office but was told that the association was handed over to Kgosi Koodibetse’s committee in 2002 and as such they were better placed to provide an insight into the operations of the association. On the 25 May 2013, Kgosi Kooditse’s committee was asked to submit the financial reports at a Kgotla meeting but they asked to be given a month to submit the report. A month later, on 29 June, instead of submitting the financial report, Kgosi Koodibetse and his committee tendered resignation letter.

They also refused to surrender BDA’s cattle brand certificate. Moupo said his commission has recommended that the community take the matter to the High Court to seek a declaration order that will force for the handover of the association’s movable and immovable assets to the Pilikwe community. Reached for comment, Kgosi Koodibetse refused to make comments on the matter saying the issue was a sensitive one that needs to be resolved at the Kgotla before he can make any comments. Efforts to reach his supervisor, Kgosi Kgamanyane were futile as his mobile phone was off.

RELATED STORIES

Read this week's paper