Sunday, July 3, 2022

UNDP account frozen, former employees finally paid

The United Nations Development programme (UNDP), which was engaged in a diplomatic tiff with the government of Botswana over unpaid laid off employees, is said to have finally paid the employees.
Gaborone Deputy Sheriff Van Heerden collected the amount of P351, 853, 62 on behalf of the five former employees on Monday.

The money was severance benefits payments, which were ordered by Industrial Court Judge Elijah Legwaila after the former employees had lodged a case, demanding the severance package from the organasation, which UNDP did not defend.

After Legwaila had issued the order, UNDP continued ignoring the order, leading to another order being issued by the Deputy Registrar and Master of the Industrial Court authorizing the attachment of UNDP vehicles.

Three vehicles were attached but van Heerden was not able to remove the vehicles as every time she tried to do so she was threatened with arrest.

Finally, last week, she said she got a letter from the Deputy Master and Registrar of the High Court, Galesiti Baruti, ordering a bank which held the organisation’s account to freeze the organisation’s account to force it to pay the five employees.

“The bank fortunately did just that and today, Monday, I was able to give my clients cheques of money they are owed,” said van Heerden, who was unable to hide her smile.

She also said that she was happy that “the story had a happy ending”. Geoffrey Masilo, one of the five former employees of the organasation, was all smiles when confirming that they had been paid.

“They have paid us; we have just received our cheques from the deputy Sherriff and I am glad this has happened,” he said.

Masilo said that it was not that the organisation did not have money, but that some of its employees tend to regard themselves as “untouchables” that can even ignore court orders.

“This should be a lesson to them that no one is above the law in this country. Whether it’s an international organasation or not, Court orders have to be obeyed,” he stressed.


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