Connect with us

News

SADC lose millions in unauthorised contracts

Published

on

The delay by SADC secretariat to finalise a financial manual, which includes processes and responsibilities regarding dealings with bank guarantees at all stages, has cost the organisation dearly.

The latest from the headquarters of the regional economic bloc in Gaborone has it that the organisation lost over P487million being un unfulfilled portion of the advance payment paid through an Italian Bank, Fidiroma for the procurement of bio-security laboratory equipment to upgrade the existing facilities in Tanzania which is financed under the African Development Bank (AfDB).

The said equipment which is still to be delivered is for the Trans- Boundary Animal Diseases Project. Insiders and observers say, this is just but one of the many examples on how SADC has lost huge sums as some of the senior officers allegedly often commit SADC in contracts without authority exploiting the lack of  guiding manuals.

The amount in question is among the many shortfalls exposed by the forensic audit conducted by Ernst & Young following complaints of alleged rampant corruption at SADC. The Midweek Sun has reliably learnt that SADC secretariat has gone all out to recover its money, but a stumbling block could be the fact that the Italian bank used for the transaction has been sold.

SADC has further learnt that the Project Coordinator of the Trans-Boundary Animal Diseases Project (name witheld) is the one that had authorised the bank guarantee, contrary to the rules and procedures and not the Executive Secretary. In the past SADC did not have financial manual.

Amongst others, the proposed manual includes processes and responsibilities covered, finalisation of standard bidding documents for services, goods and works requiring advance payment in the form of a financial bank guarantee. The manual which has now been put in place states that a financial bank guarantee shall only be issued, directly and or via a swift instruction, by a bank or financial institution registered under the laws of the host country being Botswana for the Secretariat and legally authorised to issue such financial instruments.

Further, that there must be verification, authentication, custody and security of financial/bank guarantee; and conditions and authority for the release of financial bank guarantee.

Documents passed to this publication which also formed part of the August SADC council of ministers agenda state that Council noted that the Secretariat continued to follow-up on a refund of US$487,008.72, being an unfulfilled portion of the advance payment made under the grant.  The Council also noted that the efforts of the Secretariat to recover the advance payment guarantee.

Unresolved issues
The Council noted that although the issue remains unresolved the Secretariat had written a letter to central bank of Italy seeking intervention of state structures on liquidation of the bank guarantee on 31 March 2015.

The Secretariat has also written to the Italian public prosecution through the Italian Embassy in Zambia, seeking intervention of state structures on liquidation of the bank guarantee on 8 April-2015. The Secretariat has also written a final demand legal letter to Fidiroma that is the Bank, which issued the bank guarantee on 25 May 2015.

There is also a planned visit to the Embassy of Italy in Lusaka, Zambia to obtain facilitation in dealing with Central Bank of Italy and Italy Public Prosecutions. This is yet to be done.

The advance payment
The Council further noted that the internal investigation has been carried out and looked into all aspects of the supply contract relating to bank guarantee advance payment of USD 487,008.72, and it has been established that SADC signed a contract with AGMIN worth US$1,999,132.14 in 2012 for the procurement of bio-security laboratory equipment to upgrade the existing facilities.

This procurement followed AfDB procurement rules for international bidding which stipulates a payment of 50 percent of the value of goods at the signature of the procurement contract.

To this effect, a total of USD 999,566.07 was paid to AGMIN in June 2012 for which a bank guarantee from Fidiroma Bank in Italy was obtained in line with ADB rules.

By June 2014 equipment worth USD 512, 557.57 had been supplied and installed while equipment worth US$487, 008.72 has been delivered and yet to be installed. The Secretariat is following up with the supplier to ensure that the equipment is installed.

Continue Reading
Comments

News

BATTLE FOR MMADIKOLO

The MidweekSun Admin

Published

on

University of Botswana students are bracing themselves for the Student Representative Council (SRC) elections. Contenders are fighting tooth and nail to appease the electorate. Three camps are in contention to fill the 13 council positions.

Umbrella for Democratic Change’s (UDC) Moono-wa-Baithuti has the onerous task of defending all the 13 seats which they hauled at the last elections of 2018. “As Moono wa Baithuti, we have lots of achievements. We are on the verge of getting the student bar open, so we need to go back and fix what we started,” said UDC’s Tumelo Legase who is vying for the position of Vice President.

He said they have advocated for student empowerment policies and are also proposing a third arm of student representation. “We have the SRC and the Judiciary, what we need is the student Parliament so that we have a large number of leaders who can independently attend to problems across the university.” The dark horse in this race is the University of Botswana’s Alliance for Progressive (AP) which will take another leap of faith despite their loss in the previous election.

They are rejuvenated and redefined. Candidate for Vice President Karabo Bokwe said central to their mandate is making the welfare of the student community a priority. “We want to help eradicate school policies that border on oppression, and through new polices call for initiatives that come with enterprenuership benefits to students.”

AP candidate for Information and Publicity, a first year Criminal Justice student Gracious Selelo said they are more united than other parties even at national level. “We don’t have internal squabbles within our party, we are more focused and can deliver our mandate easily,” she noted.

However the ruling party’s BDP GS-26 will come with all guns blazing after an embarrassing defeat in the previous elections. Preparations have been made and the GS-26 is looking to take the elections by storm.

According to their Presidential Candidate Boniface Seane, they come with the message of hope that addresses the current status quo at the University.“The university is not functioning so we drew three policies that embrace inclusiveness. We want to lead collectively with the students, through the student body meetings which the previous SRCs have failed to do. “We will consult with the students with no discrimination.”

Continue Reading

News

Healthcare system to improve

Published

on

The Health ministry has developed a seven-point programme to guide the country in improving the healthcare system, says Minister of Health and Wellness, Dr Alfred Rabashemi Madigele.

“The seven priority areas will serve as a roadmap and a guardian angel towards improving the overall healthcare system and increasing access to health care while fighting the burden of disease that confronts us,” said Madigele at Masa Square Hotel on Tuesday.

The focal areas include decentralisation; Universal Health Coverage, Tertiary Care, Strategic leveraging on the Private sector; Supply Chain; Research as well as Staff welfare and accountability.
Point-one of the seven priority areas according to Dr Madigele is about empowering the District Health Management Teams (DHMTs) and transforming them into fully fledged Regional Health Authorities.

“In this case, they will be rationalised from 27 to 18 and have the authority to hire A and B Scales, promote up to C1 and manage micro procurement,” he said. Point two is about improving the quality of healthcare services. “The main causes of mortality and their risk factors in Botswana are Primary Health Care issues,” Dr Madigele said.

He added that “Our efforts for the attainment of Universal Health Coverage should thus focus on: Prevention; Comprehensive screening; Early treatment; and Surveillance at the community.”
This he said, would require revamped grassroots efforts in which adequate numbers of community health workers through partnerships with the non-governmental sector will be deployed as necessary.

According to Dr Madigele, the top five causes of death in Botswana in 2017 were HIV/AIDS, Ischemic heart disease, stroke, lower respiratory infections and Diabetes. He said compared to 2007, NCDs among these had increased in burden by an average of 34%. The top five risk factors related to these causes of mortality were unsafe sex; poor diet; high blood pressure; alcohol abuse and tobacco use.

Improving the quality of care, Madigele said will also include the safety and security of patients; attitudes of staff as experienced by patients; time taken in queues either before seeing a health worker or receiving medication and the availability of drugs.

Meanwhile, the health minister revealed that the commissioning of Sir Ketumile Masire Teaching Hospital (SKMTH) is ongoing with the facility scheduled for opening on April 24th. “This will be a phased approach commencing with some services including paediatric oncology, internal medicine, rheumatology and endocrinology, diagnostic radiology, laboratory services and pharmacy”.

A phased commissioning of SKMTH will reduce overdependence on South Africa for referrals, reduce costs and also institutionalise provision of super specialist services within Botswana.

Continue Reading

Trending