Friday, October 23, 2020

PPADB directors in a heady tussle with Ministry of Finance

In what may turn out to be yet another bruising fight for survival involving the principals at the Ministry of Finance and professionals under their ambit, two Executive Directors at PPADB (Public Procurement and asset Disposal Board), Alex Masie and Solomon Mokone, have made known their intention to take the Minister of Finance, Baledzi Gaolathe, and his Permanent Secretary, Serwalo Tumelo, to court for refusing to extend directors’ contracts by a further four years.

Mokone and Masie allege unfair treatment, adding that there is nothing hitherto in their performances militating against contracts renewal.

Ministry of Finance has refused to renew the two’s contracts after it was found that the PPADB executives received “unauthorized allowances.”
Although the PPADB Executive Chairman Lionjanga was implicated in the same light, his contract has been renewed, prompting the others to ask “what it is we have done to deserve this exclusion?”
At one point, the Auditor General reported that PPADB directors and their Executive Chairman received cellphone and transport allowances that the minister had not duly sanctioned.

The Minister then instructed the directors to refund government. They never did.

A tussle ensued with heated exchange of letters.
In one of the letters, in his typical brash style, Serwalo wrote of Masie: “I find [Masie’s] latest correspondence totally out of order and this should be brought to the attention of this official. As a Ministry, we fail to understand whether this board is overruling the Minister, instructing the minister or both. It should be noted that the board is answerable to the Honourable Minister and not the other way round.”

Masie and Mokone say they received the allowances in good faith, a stance accepted by the minister, but go further to point out that it has never been put to them that he (the minister) was at any time not satisfied with their performances on the job, and, as such, they have all the reasonable expectations to have their contract renewed.

The lawyers acting for the duo, Langwane Mmekwa Attorneys, state in the statutory notice to the Attorney General that the decision not to renew contracts was founded on “irrelevant considerations amongst which was their principled stand in relation to the issue of their allowance, and ignored relevant ones. Such action constitutes an improper use of statutory powers by the minister,” say the lawyers.

Investigations by Sunday Standard have confirmed that two senior managers at PPADB are now earmarked to take over the positions vacated by Mokone and Masie.

After they were informed that their contracts would not be renewed, Mokone and Masie appealed to Vice President Ian Khama, requesting him to intervene and assist in clarifying what went wrong in their “clean records” so much as to brutally reverse their many years of trust and integrity and attractive track records of performance.

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