Exams body swimming in a cesspool of rot

Kemoreilwe Jimson - BG reporter
Monday, 05 December 2016
Exams body swimming in a cesspool of rot

Like any other parastatal that has appeared before the Parliamentary oversight body for state enterprises, Botswana Examinations Council (BEC) is swimming in a cesspool of rot.

BEC Executive Secretary Professor Brian Mokopakgosi this week admitted before Chairman of the Parliamentary Committee on Statutory Bodies and State Enterprises, Guma Moyo that they have problems in his organisation which make it difficult for them to achieve their mandate.Moyo was not impressed with the audit report presented to them saying it was very ‘thin and shallow.’ The outspoken Moyo said, “Things are not right in your organisation. This is not right. I do not know where to start. Did you discuss the report before you came here?”

Professor Mokopakgosi replied: “We want to reveal the whole truth about the organisation. We do not want to hide anything.” He also said the famous back-to school programme that was introduced by President Ian Khama in 2012 is owing them money amounting to P15 million. “We were told to let students register and the government will pay us but up to date nothing has been done,” he said adding that consultations are currently ongoing to settle the debt.

In the audit report submitted to Committee members, things are not looking good at the troubled organisation. The report unearthed delays in finalising the tendering process, overpaid examiners, overpaid staff advances and lack of the cost recovery policy. “Bank reconciliations backlogs are the biggest exposure to fraud, particularly during the examinations’ payment period where voluminous transactions are paid out leaving accounts exposed to errors and fraud. Errors and long outstanding items on the bank reconciliation statements would remain undetected,” states the report.

Budget holders are not being assessed on their financial planning, budgeting and monitoring responsibilities hence poor financial planning and budget monitoring. “We noted that financial risks were not identified, assessed and appropriately mitigated to ensure that the available resources were prudently managed. There was no evidence of any risk management strategies to achieve budget targets where over expenditures were repeatedly incurred,” states the report.

BEC does not have a data classification policy that would classify which data is sensitive and which is not. “Unintentional disclosure of sensitive information by BEC staff and unauthorised access to BEC sensitive information in the event that a laptop was stolen from any of the BEC employees carrying sensitive information,” reads the report.

Another concern raised is security over tender documents. “We also noted that BEC does not have a policy on the handling of tender documents as well as the document retention policy. The documents might fall into the wrong hands leading to them being publicised thus creating reputational problems for BEC,” reads the report.

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