Friday, January 15, 2021

Tables turned against whistleblower at RIPCO

A whistleblower at the Rural Industries Promotions Company (RIPCO) has been sacked on allegations that he slept on the job after it was discovered that one of the company’s employees stole close to half a million pula.

Kabelo Tlhomelang worked at RIPCO as Human Resource Manager.

This irregularity with the company payroll was exposed by an external audit conducted by RIPCO sometime last year. It is alleged that a payroll woman, who was Tlhomelang’s assistant, defrauded the company of 15 000 a month for over three years.

During the disciplinary hearing, the woman is understood to have alleged that she shared her ill-gotten proceeds with Tlhomelang.

Thomelang confirmed in an interview with The Telegraph that he has been dismissed from work on the 4th of January.

“There is evidence that she stole the money,” said Tlhomelang. “I was just ambushed to the disciplinary hearing but no evidence was produced.”

Tlhomelang said that in his previous disciplinary hearing, he was given a written warning for revealing malpractice. He said he wondered how he was supposed to detect fraud when he was not dealing directly with payrolls.

“They did not investigate; I have never stolen any money with that woman,” he said.

He also revealed that he has already noted an appeal before the board.

In a separate interview with The Telegraph, the board chairperson, Neo Mokgwathi, said that the board had not been briefed about any dismissals.

“I know some people went for a disciplinary hearing in December…we are expecting to be briefed,” she said.

RIPCO is a government-owned company set up to promote rural industries and affordable technologies.
In a totally different matter, Tlhomelang has in the past reported former RIPCO Managing Director of abuse of office.

The MD has since left the employment of the government-owned technology company.
There are fears that since then, he has been a marked man.

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