The Minister of Transport and Communications, Frank Ramsden, has declined to comment on the suspension of Botswana Telecommunications Corporation Chief Executive, Thapelo Lippe, saying that the matter was not for newspapers.
“That is not for the press. I will not say anything on the matter to the newspaper till it has been resolved,” he said in answer to a question during a press conference at the Ministry’s headquarters.
He had been asked if the investigations regarding the suspension of Lippe will be over and when he was expected back in the office.
Lippe was suspended in January this year following allegations of mismanagement at BTC.
An issue regarding the amount to be paid as bonuses to employees is reported to be amongst those which have led to his suspension.
Another issue is one regarding the purchase of the 2010 tickets to the FIFA World Cup.
Though Ramsden declined to divulge any information regarding Lippe’s suspension, sources at BTC say that Lippe has been making visits to BTC of late.
”I am surprised that the Minister did not make an announcement on when Lippe will be coming back to his office; he has been visiting the offices quite a lot recently and we were all thinking that an announcement would be made on when he will be back,” said the source.
The press conference was attended by, amongst others, Mabua Mabua, the Permanent Secretary of the Ministry, as well as the Director of Roads, Kabo Kote and Terence Thebe, the Director of Transport.
On the issue regarding the privitasation of BTC, the minister announced that the government has made a final decision that it will sell 49 percent of BTC shares to Batswana and that the government will retain 51 percent.
He also said that the government will be given first preference whenever one wants to sell his shares.
On why it has been necessary to privitase BTC, he said that the decision to privatise BTC was made after complaints that the government was being unfair by competing with the private sector in this business.
The process to privitise BTC, the Minister, said will be completed at the end of the financial year.