Two University of Botswana Student Representative Council (SRC) members have been expelled from office after being found guilty of misappropriating funds. The duo, Minister of Entertainment and Culture, Morati Keitshokile, and the Vice President, Nico Selobilwe, were initially suspended pending investigations, but were later expelled after it was found that they had allegedly stolen SRC funds.
Recently, the SRC President MacDonald Rakgare also resigned in a cloud of controversy, amid allegations that he had embezzled funds that were accrued during the 2009 UB Fresher’s Ball.
Keitshokile and Selobilwe were expelled from the SRC on January 27th after the SRC appointed an independent disciplinary committee to investigate the issue.
A memorandum distributed to the student community charged them with ‘‘the embezzlement and misappropriation of SRC funds amounting to P13 000, and possession of SRC assets under false pretences”.
Keitshokile however dismissed his dismissal as unfair, saying that he was never accorded the opportunity to read the recommendations of the disciplinary committee.
“As the Minister of Entertainment and Culture, I was given the responsibility of organizing the Fresher’s ball. I organized all the performing artists and made sure that they were paid their dues. It was then that I contracted Brave Music Promotions Company to coordinate the logistics, and gave them P50 000 to meet the costs. They later brought back P20 000 as change from their expenses, of which I used P 13 000 to pay for additional expenses and later handed P7000 back to the SRC as change,” he said.
He, however, failed to explain what the additional expenses were. He also admitted that he was not supposed to be handling SRC funds in the first place, as such a responsibility lies with the treasurer.
“The fact is that the responsibility was also mine as the Minister of Entertainment and Culture. Again, the dismissal is unfair because there was never any thorough investigation on the part of the disciplinary committee, except that they recommended our dismissal,” he said.
He said that his dismissal is not genuine, but is rather fuelled by personal vendettas by some individuals within the SRC.
Acting SRC Vice President Abdullah Bogosi confirmed that Selobilwe and Keitshokile had been expelled while MacDonald “Chiliboy” Rakgare resigned from then SRC.
He said that Rakgare’s resignation, especially on the onset of investigations into misappropriation of funds, is actually an admission of guilt on his part.
For his part, the Minister of Academic Affairs, Khumoekae Richard, said that the UB SRC has for a long time misused students funds and gotten away with it.
“We want such a practice to change, and we are appealing to the UB management to assist us by instituting more charges against the perpetrators. In fact, they should be expelled because they are tarnishing the image of the UB,” he charged.
In his defense, former President MacDonald Rakgare said that he resigned because he could not work with an SRC that was unprofessional and worked against the wishes of the student community.
“When Selobilwe and Keitshokile were on suspension, some people in the SRC were pressurizing us to reinstate them. We cannot allow the SRC to be run by thieves. I call them thieves because they failed to account for funds that were entrusted to them,” he charged.
UB’s Director of Student Affairs, Dr. Kitso Sedise, referred all questions to the public affairs office. Efforts to reach the UB Public Affairs Officer, Mhitshane Reetsang, proved futile at the time of going to press.