Wednesday, June 23, 2021

Some members of old BR board said to have traded favours with staff

The Botswana Railways organizational structure doesn’t have the positions of Chief Operating Officer and General Counsel and Board Secretary but somehow two supposedly pre-identified people could soon fill those positions. At its last meeting on November 29 last year, the Board of Management approved a structure that introduced the two positions. On the surface that might appear normal but sources point out at least three irksome issues around this development. The first is that which has been stated: the BR structure doesn’t have those positions and while it is not unusual to expand the structure, there is a process that has to be followed which wasn’t. A source tells Sunday Standard that ordinarily management identifies operational gaps and refers the matter to the Human Resource Sub-Committee of the board which liaises with the Finance and Audit Sub-Committee to determine cost and affordability of the proposed positions. In this particular case, the process was reportedly initiated by the HR Sub-Committee without management’s input. The second issue points to something even more serious. A particular board member allegedly benefited personally from the string-pulling of two BR managers and decided to reward the managers by promoting them to director-level positions. The third issue is closely related to the second. Sources say that the requirements for the posts were designed in such manner as to put the two managers in pole position. If the latter claim is accurate, then the candidate for the position of Chief Operating Officer would hold “a Bachelor’s degree and Master’s degree in Business Administration or other business/commerce-related qualifications, preferably with specialization in Logistics Management, Finance, Engineering Sciences and/or Marketing. S/he would have seven years experience in operations and business development of which five years [must have been] at senior management level and experience in Logistics Management/Production Management environment.” The candidate for the General Counsel and Board Secretary position would have an LLB and LLM with admission at the Botswana High Court as a practicing attorney as well as a Chartered Institute of Secretaries qualification which “will be an added advantage.” Experience-wise that candidate would have to have 10 years legal experience, five having been served as Corporate Secretary at a large organisation. With remnants of the old board having been dissolved and a new board coming in, the recruitment process may undergo scrutiny.

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