Thursday, October 28, 2021

Private Eye gives BIUST the once over

The embattled Botswana International University of Science and Technology (BUIST) hired a private investigator to assist the Directorate on Corruption and Economic Crime (DCEC) to speed up investigations into alleged maladministration at the institution. 
 
Reports from the Palapye based institution indicate that Professor Hilary Inyan and some board members are also at the centre of DCEC investigations. 
 
Sources close to the investigation have revealed that DCEC advised BUIST to hire a private investigator who would work hand in hand with the graft buster to unearth alleged corruption at the institution.
 
BIUST Vice Chancellor Professor Otlogetswe Totolo recently confirmed in memo allegations that the university has lost millions of Pula due to financial irregularities.
Asked to comment on allegations that the institution has hired a private investigator, BUIST’s Director of Communications, Keoagile Rafifing said “kindly note that BUIST is a law abiding institution, where all our actions are aligned to the country’s laws and indeed the BUIST Act.” 
On the status of investigations Rafifing said “this is internal and classified information.”
It is understood that preliminary investigations have recommended that BUIST should dismiss some of the lecturers and support staff implicated in the corruption allegations.
 
Sources also claim that the DCEC has decided to track down the former Vice Chancellor Professor Hilary Inyan to help in the investigations.
 
They said that once the former Vice Chancellor’s whereabouts have been established, he will be extradited to Botswana to clear his name.
 
Reports also indicate that scores of BIUST board members are also being investigated by the DCEC and some are threatening to resign from the board.
 
“It is true that we are threatening to quit the board due to serious allegations of corruption that are rocking the university,” said one of the board members.
 
They claimed that it is unfortunate that the board has not convened to discuss media reports that suggest that the institution is rocked by corruption allegations.  
 
Commenting on the matter, Gaborone based lawyer Malcolm Gobhoza said there is nothing untoward about institutions engaging private investigators but he added that findings from such investigations can only be used internally for disciplinary purposes.
 
He said that such findings are not to be used before a court of law. “Public institutions rarely engage private investigators as compared to private institutions which often engage such facilities mainly in mismanagement cases,” he said.
Gobhoza further stated that if a particular institution wants to pursue the private investigator’s findings further, the institution will then hand such report to the relevant government agency. 
He added that authority would then use report as a tip off and reinvestigate the matter to their satisfactory.
 
BUIST has suspended three of its directors from duty pending investigations          
    
Sunday Standard recently reported that two senior administrative officials at the university were suspended for alleged graft arising from huge salaries, not in their contractual obligations, being deposited into their bank accounts.
 
“In a memo written to staff, a copy of which has been passed to the Sunday Standard, Professor Totolo states “You are kindly informed that PriceHouse Water Coopers (PwC) has been appointed to carry out an investigation at BUIST following allegations of financial irregularities reported to the Executive Management.” 
Totolo added: “In line with good corporate governance, the Executive Management is committed to have the issue investigated and be advised accordingly.” 
The Vice Chancellor advised that staff may be approached by PWC representatives to avail information, documentation or to attend a consultation meeting.
“I urge you to fully cooperate in this investigation. Should you be required to meet with PwC, the Office of the Deputy Vice Chancellor (Finance & Administration) will make the necessary arrangements,” said Totolo.
 

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