Precise details about why three members of the Botswana Democratic Party’s National Youth Executive Committee (NYEC) were suspended are beginning to emerge.
The use of funds provided by the BDP to cater for an African National Congress Youth League delegation last year is said to be at the centre of the controversy. Figures of exactly of how much was given vary but what is consistent is that some of that money cannot be accounted for.
Catering for the South Africans included taking them to premier gastropubs around Gaborone.
A youth reveller recalls chancing upon a gaggle of BDP/ANC youth making merry in the VIP lounge of Fashion Lounge, a posh nightclub in the equally upmarket stockbroker belt of Phakalane. He caught sight of a seemingly well-oiled ANCYL delegate nodding odd on a chair.
There was nothing wrong with the BDP youth showing their South African counterparts a good time ÔÇô the party actually expected them to do so. It also expected that all expenditure would be accounted for but that did not happen.
When the unaccounted for spending came to light, the party appointed a taskforce to undertake a sweeping internal investigation into NYEC’s financial management. The task fell to Thapelo Olopeng and Parks Tafa.
This taskforce is said to have discovered unorthodox use of NYEC’s funds predating the ANC visit. The actions of one member particularly stand out. A source says that there were instances when the member in question would withdraw money from NYEC’s bank account by having an employee of his (who is not a member of NYEC) collect and cash cheques on his behalf. The cheques would be written out in the employee’s name.
The alleged culprit is said to have tried to weasel out by denying that he ever sent anyone to collect cheques on his behalf. However, there is circumstantial evidence in the form of verbal accounts by those who were instructed by phone to write out the cheques.
In the second instance, Member X is said to have entered into a contract with Orange Botswana, again not in his own name but a sibling’s. Thereafter, he ran up an astronomical phone bill which NYEC is refusing to pay on the reasoning that the person who entered into a contract with Orange is not one of its own and would not have been conducting party business.
It is also alleged that prior to the ANCYL visit, youth league members sought money donations from party members ÔÇô a good number of them businesspeople. However, some donations were not receipted as should have been the case. The taskforce interviewed benefactors whose donations were not receipted. A source who donated a quite substantial amount of money says that the taskforce wanted him to confirm that he had indeed given out money but was not given a receipt.
Following this discovery, the party suspended the solicitation of donations by individual members until all loopholes are plugged. The youth league’s acting chairperson, Dithapelo Tshotego, confirmed this suspension of donation solicitation. However, the party continues to fund youth league activities, Tshotego added.