Archive for March 23rd, 2009

source: BOPA
23 March, 2009

MAUN – An audit report of the Xhauxhwatubi Development Trust in Phuduhudu has exposed possible fraudulent activities happening in the organisation that makes hundreds of thousands of Pula every year.

The report, presented by Moores Rowland at the trust Annual General Meeting (AGM) last week, indicated that the auditors were given the wrong set of accounts, supporting documentation and trial balance to audit.

“There are a lot of miss posts in the income statement and figures from the financials could not be traced to source documents or schedules,” the report stated.

The trust’s accountant was also said not to be cooperative with the auditors raising suspicions that there might be irregularities or malicious activities.

It was further stated that there were wrong trial balance and information supplied to the auditors, and there were just too many errors in the financials.

The report, which was not adopted by the meeting because it was only for [continue reading]

source: BOPA
23 March, 2009

GABORONE -The Minister of Works and Transport, Mr Johnie Swartz has expressed concern over high levels of corruption and low performance in his ministry.

Speaking at the ministry’s retreat in Gaborone on Friday, Mr Swartz said his ministry continues to be bedeviled by negative aspects such as poor time management and slow service delivery.

He also observed that his staff operate in silos as such issues of policy and those that have huge financial implications are decided at departmental level and only reach the executive when it is late to address them.The minister furthermore revealed that collective ownership amongst staff members is lacking if not non-existent.

He called on the executive to work expeditiously on the subject to ensure that the ministry delivers effectively on its mandate.

The minister admitted that his ministry is faced with a [continue reading]

source: News24
23/03/2009 13:30 – (SA)

Cape Town – South Africa did not issue a visa to Tibet’s spiritual leader, the Dalai Lama, because it did not want to remove the world’s attention from the 2010 Soccer World Cup preparations, a spokesperson for the president said on Monday.

The Dalai Lama had been invited to a 2010 World Cup peace conference to be held in Johannesburg this week by three South African Nobel Peace Prize Laureates, former presidents Nelson Mandela and FW De Klerk and Archbishop Emeritus Desmond Tutu.

The event would be used to discuss ways of using football to fight racism and xenophobia ahead of the 2010 Soccer World Cup.

‘No problem with the Dalai Lama’

“The South African government does not have a problem with the Dalai Lama,” President Kgalema Motlanthe’s spokesperson, Thabo Masebe, told [continue reading]

source: allAfrica
Business Day (Johannesburg)
Mathabo Le Roux
23 March 2009

Johannesburg — A TASK team led by the Department of Trade and Industry is considering a three-pronged plan to rescue the automotive industry, including tax adjustments to stimulate demand for cars.

The team, which includes industry and labour representatives, was set up as part of a South African response to the global economic crisis, thrashed out in the National Economic Development and Labour Council (Nedlac). The framework envisaged a dedicated response to help ailing industries, including the automotive sector.

Industry players were not prepared to discuss the details of the plan, which is expected to be finalised by month-end, but it is understood that the rescue package will stand on three legs:

Bridging finance to help cash-strapped car manufacturers’ balance sheets provided by the Industrial Development Corporation (IDC). An industry source stressed that the finance would not be a bail-out, but loans that have to [continue reading]

source: BOPA
23 March, 2009

TSABONG – The Deputy Director in the Department of Water Affairs, Dr Thothi Obakeng says Botswana is heavily dependent on groundwater, given the limited surface water resources.

Speaking at the recent commemoration of World Water Day in Tsabong, Dr Obakeng said 80 per cent of the country’s population was dependent on ground water.

He said most people were aware of the scarcity of water in the country especially in Kgalagadi which receives the least amount of rainfall ranging between 250mm to 300mm resulting in limited surface water and low recharge to ground water resources.

Dr Obakeng said ground water was vital to Botswana’s economy and continued development adding that in [continue reading]

source: Mmegi
BRIAN BENZA
Staff Writer

Botswana registered a trade deficit of P2, 6 billion last year as imports outweighed exports, mainly due to a heavy slump in diamond sales in the last quarter of the year.

According to Central Statistics Office (CSO) figures, this is in sharp contrast to previous years when trade surpluses were registered in 2006 and 2007 to the value of P 8,5 billion and P 6,8 billion respectively.

The CSO says December 2008 registered a trade deficit of P1, 2 billion. Other deficits were recorded in April, May, July, October and November with values of P114.5 million, P905.8 million, P393.4 million, P1,5 billion and P2,0 billion respectively.

However, the CSO says because the 2008 data is only up to April, there is a possibility that the deficit could be reduced as data from manual borders become available.

Although exports increased by [continue reading]

source: Standay Standard
by Sunday Standard Reporter
22.03.2009 11:57:36 A

Botswana police have completed its investigations in which some of its investigators will be brought before the court of law.

The Directorate of Public Prosecution has decided to drag police officers, three males and 2 females, to court for torture and they have already been given they charge sheets.

At least five detectives from the Serious Crime Squad under the Fraud Unit will this week on Wednesday appear before the Extension 2 magistrate.

Speaking to Sunday Standard superintendent Dipheko Motube of Botswana Police Public Relations Department said sometime this year, some of the serious crime squad officers were allegedly involved in torture.

He said, “What I am aware of is that the case is before the DPP who will then decide whether they prosecute or not.”

He said he was unable to [continue reading]

source: Standay Standard
by Percy Serumola
22.03.2009 11:50:01 A

Air Botswana (AB) this week revealed that it will be introducing additional routes after the purchase of two additional aircrafts. The new routes will be introduced on March 29 and May 31.

This comes at a time when the competition is getting hostile after South African Airways (SAA) announced its entry into the Johannesburg-Gaborone route. The airliner and the introduction of new aircraft are expected to make Air Botswana more competitive.

Air Botswana last year announced the purchase of two ATR 72-500 aircrafts with a seating capacity of 72. However, the airliner noted that the planes will only be allowed to carry 68 passengers so as to maximise comfort.

Purchasing ATR aircrafts was chosen over jet planes as they are more reliable and economic. These aircraft are able to travel direct routes to their destination without [continue reading]

source: Mmegi
BRIAN BENZA
Staff Writer

In a development that could have a bearing on Botswana, South Africa’s state-owned utility, Eskom, said on Tuesday it would apply for a tariff increase “in a few weeks” and that it would seek a significant increase from the power regulator.

“What we have said there is a need for a significant increase in electricity tariffs,” Eskom spokesman, Fani Zulu, told Reuters in an interview.

“The application will be made very soon, let’s say in a few weeks,” Zulu said.The new tariff would take effect from April 1 this year.

Botswana imports over 70 percent of its electricity needs from South Africa, hence any tariff increase by Eskom has, almost invariably, been passed on to consumers by the Botswana Power Corporation (BPC) in the past.

BPC maintains that any price increase by Eskom affects the cost of imports from South Africa and that the cost of [continue reading]

source: The Standard
Saturday, 21 March 2009 21:58

MAJOR donors have voiced concern over the spate of farm invasions amid concerns some Zanu PF elements are stepping up their efforts to sabotage the inclusive government’s push for an emergency financial rescue package.

The fresh farm invasions spearheaded by the Joseph Chinotimba-led Zimbabwe Federation of Trade Unions (ZFTU) and senior Zanu PF officials are reportedly causing headaches for MDC-T ministers charged with leading Zimbabwe’s desperate search for aid.
Farmers’ unions say the invaders, aided by soldiers and the police have targeted 100 commercial farmers throughout the country.

Government officials fear the disturbances that have also affected preparations for this season’s harvest will ruin winter cropping seen as crucial in addressing the country’s humanitarian crisis.

Senate President, Edna Madzongwe, Zanu PF MPs and senators, and [continue reading]

source: Standay Standard
by Kagiso Madibana
22.03.2009 11:54:07 A

A motion to retreat the termination of railway passenger services train has recently been discarded of as not an urgent matter by parliament deputy speaker, Thebe Mogami.

Botswana Railways (BR) had of late announced its decision to terminate the usage of its passenger train services effective 1st of April this year.

BR, which has claimed to have been making a loss of 30 million pula annually, had also admitted to putting the lives of its passengers at risk by ignoring servicing requirements of the train for over 10 years.

The decision to stop the train services was allegedly to curb losses of millions by BR and for passenger safety reasons.

Mover of the Motion, the allegedly ‘controversial’ Pono Moatlhodi, and Member of Parliament For Tonota South, claimed that it was important for the termination of passenger services to be halted because it disadvantages Batswana.

The BDP member noted how convenient the [continue reading]

source: Standay Standard
by Obusitse Kologwe
22.03.2009 12:01:46 P

Last week two former employees of Botswana Railways took action against the organization to the Francistown Industrial Court claiming to have been unlawfully dismissed. The dismissal was due to a restructuring exercise by Botswana Railways in which two of the applicants were re-deployed from their field of profession to work as diesel electric fitters while, in fact, they had been employed as maintenance electricians.

The two applicants, Phetogo Mothuti and Anthony Mabua, brought the matter before Justice Goemekgabo Tebogo Maruping of the Industrial Court that they decided to resist this move on the basis that it amounted to a unilateral change of their employment contract without their consent, and they further pointed that they were not consulted at all, with regards to their re-designation.

They brought to the court’s attention that it [continue reading]

source: Mmegi
MONKAGEDI GAOTLHOBOGWE
Staff Writer

When Minister for Justice, Defense and Security, Dikgakgamatso Seretse recently told Parliament that the design and construction of the new High Court and Court of Appeal building in Gaborone will cost P80 million, he did not disclose that the amount is just a fraction of the total cost for the facility.

According to the latest tender award by the Public Procurement and Assets Disposal Board (PPADB), the new High Court and Court of Appeal building will cost P374,090, 522.30.

The tender to design and construct was awarded to the Chinese company, China Jiangsu International (Botswana).

The PPADB says the contract is for three years.

The project was in the pipeline for more than five years. The High Court and Court of Apppeal structures in Gaborone should have been built in the last financial year, but there [continue reading]

source: News24
22/03/2009 19:03 – (SA)

Johannesburg – Former president Thabo Mbeki said in a magazine article that he gave up his position to avoid a damaging political conflict, reported the Sunday Tribune.

Mbeki said that he chose not to engage in a conflict with the national executive committee of the African National Congress “which would adversely affect the masses of the people, as well as impact negatively on our country’s standing in Africa and the rest of the world.”

The Sunday Tribune was reporting on a forthcoming article to be published in the inaugural issue of the Thinker. The new magazine’s editor is Essop Pahad, Mbeki’s long-time friend and ally, and former minister in the presidency.

According to the Sunday Tribune, even after often bitter and acrimonious communication between Mbeki and the ANC, he insisted [continue reading]

source: Mmegi
EPHRAIM KEORENG
Staff Writer

The Minister of Minerals, Energy and Water Resources, Ponatshego Kedikilwe, says the government is working “flat out” to ensure that diamond mining companies do not collapse due to financial problems currently faced by most businesses.

In an interview with Business Week last week, the minister revealed that the government had helped two companies that were on the brink of folding up to access cash injections to sustain their businesses.

“We will help any company that is experiencing difficulties to identify potential buyers or equity buyers to cover cash flow problems and avoid creditors descending on them,” Kedikilwe said. “As I speak to you, two diamond companies might find equity injectors, so they should be assisted soon.”

Botswana, which depends on the mining industry for up to 80 percent of its export earnings and 40 percent of revenues, is working on an ambitious marketing strategy to attract investors and financiers to Botswana and [continue reading]