Sunday, January 24, 2021

V.T Seretse fired

The Botswana Telecom-munications Corporation (BTC) board and the Minister of Communications Science and Technology, Pelonomi Venson-Moitoi, this week agreed to fire the corporation’s CEO Vincent Seretse.

Board Chairman, Leonard Makwinja, had a meeting with Seretse on Friday where he is understood to have told the BTC boss that his contract would not be renewed when it ends in April.

According to Seretse’s contract conditions, the board should have informed him three months before the end of his contract that they would not be renewing it but failed to do so because of dithering between the minister and the board.

The board and the minister have long agreed to fire Seretse but would not agree on who should pull the trigger. Seretse told the board chairperson, Makwinja to write the letter informing Seretse that his contract would not be renewed, the BTC board on the other hand insisted that the minister should be the one writing the letter because only the minister has the power to hire and fire BTC chief executive officers.

The issue was further held up by divisions within Cabinet where some ministers tried to block the decision to fire Seretse. The issue was finally resolved this week and the minister has agreed to write the letter giving Seretse notice that his contract will not be renewed.

The BTC board has long wanted to drop Seretse but was only stopped by the minister. Last year, the board decided against renewing Seretse’s contract but was persuaded by minister Moitoi to give him a one year extension during which time they should review his performance.
The issue was further complicated by infightings between Seretse and some board members and suspicions of corruption in BTC tendering. The Ministry of Science, Communications and Technology has already written to the BTC outgoing chief suggesting corruption in the way he handled some tenders. The board has also initiated an audit on BTC tendering process and chairman of the board committee responsible for tendering has recalled a number of tenders for scrutiny.

The BTC board was given the mandate the award tenders of up to P10 million without referring them to the board. This week, however, the chairperson of the BTC board committee responsible for tendering demanded that he be given details of all tenders even those under P10 million for scrutiny.

Information passed to The Sunday Standard revealed that the board was anticipating resistance from Seretse who has been able to surpass profits targets and will be banking on information from the forensic audit to nail him.

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