Monday, October 18, 2021

Police betray whistleblower – claim

Court records detail how the Botswana Police Service allegedly sold out a whistleblower who was fired from his job for uncovering alleged stock theft at Tlotlo Conference Centre.

The court records in the case between former employee of Tlotlo Conference Centre Kebatsetse Kenyeditswe and Commissioner of Botswana Police Service Keaebetswe Makgophe reveals how Botswana is failing to protect public interest by exposing whistleblowers to victimisation.

According to court papers, Kenyaditswe was dismissed by Tlotlo Conference Centre on allegations that he gave the Botswana Police a tip off that he suspected his employer was involved in stock theft.

The court papers filed before Justice Michael Mothobi state that “the Botswana Police Service breached the confidence they had assured Kebatsetse Kenyaditswe and informed his employer of the identity of the informer.”

“Kebatsetse Kenyaditswe was dismissed from employment by Tlotlo Conference Centre after informing the Botswana Police Service of suspicious activity, particular, the presence of cattle carcass, meat or meat products at his former work place, Tlotlo Conference Centre. Client suspected such to be a result of stock theft and tipped the Botswana Police,” state Kenyaditswe’s lawyers Ngakaagae and Company.

The lawyers further state that “in informing the Botswana Police of suspicious criminal activity, Kebatsetse Kenyaditswe was doing his duty as a citizen of Botswana and a law abiding citizen.”

In assuring him of confidentiality, the Botswana Police were aware of possible consequences of such breach of confidence, in particular, the irretrievable breakdown of the relationship between Kebatsetse Kenyaditse and the employer and the inevitability of job losses. Further consequences were foreseen in the damage to his reputation, loss of income, and dimunition of his chances of employment resulting from a bad reputation.

The Botswana Police became bound to Kebatsetse Kenyaditswe, in law, to protect him against the afore-going immediate and foreseeable consequences.

The Botswana Police acted wrongly in breaching a duty of confidence owed to Kebatsetse Kenyaditswe resulting in job loss, loss of reputation, loss of income and dimunition of chances of employment.

As a result of breach of confidence and breach of undertaking, Kenyaditswe has suffered damages in the sum of P6 million. The lawyers argue that Kenyaditswe‘s demand for compensation is constituted as follows; for loss of employment/income: P3 million, for injury to reputation leading to dimunition of chances of employment: P2 million, Contumelia (humiliation): P1million.

“All the foregoing-going, resulted from unlawful or wrongful act of members of the Botswana Police Service who were acting in the course of and within the scope of their employment,” said the lawyers.

They added that “One of the said members of the Botswana Police Service is Sergeant K Mosiakoko. I cannot recall the names of the others. The Botswana Police Service is therefore liable in damages to Kebatsetse Kenyaditswe for their unlawful or wrongful actions.”

Replying the Attorney General Chambers which is representing Botswana Police Commissioner deny that Kenyaditswe was dismissed from his employment due to disclosure of his identity to his employer as the individual who made the report.

“There is no evidence to support the allegation that the Plaintiff (Kenyaditswe) was dismissed from his work because of the report he made to the police,” states one R.D Nkau on behalf of the Attorney General.

According to Nkau, Kenyaditswe has not demonstrated the state of his relationship with his former employer prior to his report nor prior to his dismissal. Therefore it cannot be automatically be assumed that his dismissal was as a result of his report to the Police. 

“This is highlighted by the fact that the Plaintiff has not brought forth any evidence or documentation showing that he was dismissed due to the revelation as the individual who reported his former employer to the Police.”

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