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The two sides of the corruption story

The two sides of the corruption story
June 06
07:58 2018
VINCENT MATUMO
Business Botswana, the private sector apex body, is yet to be graced with a response from
Finance minister Kenneth Matambo after requesting that he assure the nation of the security
and safe custody of public funds.
The issue of corruption became most topical in light of revelations that surfaced at the end
2017, of alleged misappropriated monies pegged at over half a billion pula, that belonged to
the National Petroleum Fund and the subsequent charging of three individuals, including
former Kgori Capital managing director, Bakang Seretse.
After years of warning government about the perils of some off-budget levies on some
sectors and begging for a review of the treatment of some of these levies, Business Botswana
was prompted in December 2017, to demand that Matambo restore faith and confidence in
the systems that guard public funds.
Firstly, BB demanded that Matambo issue a statement to assure the nation that systems are
still functional as opposed to the public view that everything was in disarray.
BB also urged that measures be taken to ensure that all levies are safeguarded and are housed
strictly at the finance ministry. Some of the levies that have been perceived by the business
community to be problematic include those drawn from UHT milk, wheat flour, alcohol, road
safety, tourism training and former Botswana Training Authority training levies.
Prior to last week’s inaugural press conference held by president Mokgweetsi Masisi,
Business Botswana president Gobusamang Keebine told Global Business that Minister
Matambo and his ministry are yet to respond to the demands made by Business Botswana.
Keebine however, takes solace in Masisi’s posture which essentially looks to be anti-
corruption. “The president is saying the right things with regards to corruption,” he said.
He said Government must be in the forefront in ensuring that all private players in business
sign and adopt the voluntary Code of Conduct for businesses. Keebine is troubled by attitudes
of investors who seemingly have unfettered access to some of the highest offices in the land.
“Can such business people see the need to comply to the Code of Conduct?” asked Keebine.
He lamented that after performing shoddy work costing the country heavily and exacerbating
its infrastructure woes, such companies ultimately cast the entire private sector in a negative
light.
While signing the Code of Conduct has always been voluntary since inception, many
companies have ignored it. Efforts are now being made by Business Botswana, DCEC,
Ministry of Public Administration and Presidential Affairs as well as the Public Procurement
and Asset Disposal Board to ensure that companies that resist becoming signatories are
considered non-compliant and side-lined in the awarding of government tenders and
procurement.
  • When the Code was launched in 2011, Botswana was hailed for being among the first
    countries in sub-Saharan Africa to develop a voluntary Code of Conduct for businesses and
    the first to produce one through close collaboration between an anti-corruption agency and
    the private sector.
    The Code was promulgated in 2001 by the DCEC, Business Botswana (then BOCCIM) and
    the Commonwealth Business Council after a concern was raised regarding the issues of
    conflict of interest.
    The DCEC has also expressed worry over the slow adoption of the Code of Conduct that is
    aimed at inspiring ethical business principles in the private sector

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