Wednesday, October 21, 2020

RIPCO Managing Director faces the axe

The Board of RIPCO has appointed a local law firm to investigate the Managing Director following allegations of impropriety.

RIPCO is a wholly Government-owned company mandated to promote rural industries and affordable technologies.

The Chairman of the RIPCO Board, Ms Neo Mokgwathi, has instructed Dingake Law Partners to help her verify allegations that, among other things, the Managing Director has been drawing a housing allowance whilst staying in a subsidized institutional house.

In terms of the RIPCO Conditions of Service, he is not entitled to such a housing allowance.
“Since July 2003, the Managing Director has been drawing a house allowance whilst occupying a subsidized institutional house N0 9978 at Ginger, Gaborone. This is a double benefit and improper utilization of public funds,” says a letter from one of the employees.

It is also alleged that the Managing Director, Kitsiso Morei, has been failing to pay tax in respect of the company vehicle allocated to him for both business and personal use when he is required to do so by the Income Tax Act.

Another allegation against the Managing Director is that he replaced furniture at his residential house but did not return old furniture to the Administration Department as required by procurement rules.

Related to that is the allegation that the Managing Director replaced old tyres on his official vehicle but failed to bring back the said tyres for auctions as is the practice in RIPCO.

“It is alleged that on or about November, 2009 the managing director directed that an individual who was training at the University of Botswana be promoted in contravention of the policy on promotion and against management advise,” the letter from the board chair reads in part.

The managing director is also accused of formulating a policy to allow for staff members to cash in their leave days much against the company rules.

“It is alleged that the Managing Director authorized Heads of Departments in 2009 to en-cash leave when he knew or ought to have known that there was no board policy on same.”

In appointing Martin Dingake of Dingake Law Partners to carry out the investigations, Ms Mokgwathi says the lawyer will advise with respect to the processes and all matters incidental thereto, “including but not limited to providing further and better particulars on the said investigations and in respect of allegations to be met by the Managing Director”.

In an interview, Martin Dingake confirmed he has been engaged by the RIPCO Board.
He said he will be tabling the report soon.

“I have interviewed a whole lot of people, including the Managing Director. It had to be,” said Dingake.

He, however, said he had been deliberately careful not to make recommendations as that did not fall within the scope of his brief.

“I have only shed light on the veracity or lack thereof of the allegations,” he said.
When The Telegraph contacted her, Ms Mokgwathi said she could not comment on the matter as it was still under investigation.

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