Jonathan Raheem Hosseini, the Chief Operations Officer (COO) of Botswana Power Corporation (BPC) who was tipped to be the next chief executive, has been fired Botswana Guardian can reveal. Hosseini was dismissed controversially on 28th August 2018. However, it appears there is more than meets the eye in the way Hosseini has been fired as he was originally cleared from all the six charges he faced by an independent Disciplinary Panel composed of professionals and constituted by the BPC Board.
Indications are that the matter may be settled in a court of law to determine whether the way the Board wants to separate with Hosseini is legal. The matter between the two has been dragging since early 2018. At some stage BPC suspended Hosseini pending investigation and hired Deloitte to do a forensic audit. Deloitte completed its assignment and handed over its findings to the Board.
Based on the Deloitte findings, the Board allegedly started another procedure under which sources and HR experts say the board allegedly colluded with the CEO Dr. Stefan Schwarzfischer and acted outside the bounds of BPC Policy, Procedure and Botswana law to unlawfully and unfairly dismiss Hosseini.
It all started on 4th July 2018 when a disciplinary hearing under Section G of the BPC Human Resource Policy and Procedure commenced against Hosseini. It is said the complainant was CEO Schwarzfischer. It is alleged that based on the seniority of the persons involved, BPC empanelled a body independent of its structures to preside over the disciplinary proceedings, and this resulted in the formation of a disciplinary hearing panel of highly respected legal, human resource, and business professionals.
The disciplinary hearing panel was chaired by a highly respected attorney (name withheld) selected by BPC. It is said that the Panel conducted the hearing explicitly in terms of BPC Disciplinary Policy and Procedure at every step of the proceedings, with the disciplinary hearing taking place between 4th - 20th July 2018. Close sources say the final written submissions from both Schwarzfischer as the complainant and Hosseini as the defendant were submitted on 30th July 2018.
Botswana Guardian investigation shows that on 2nd August 2018, the disciplinary hearing was concluded and closed, in terms of BPC Disciplinary Policy and Procedure Section G Clause 4, specifically Clause 4.6.15 and Clause 4.6.16. The disciplinary hearing panel found Hosseini not guilty on all sic (6) charges levelled against him.
The panel stated that no mitigation was required since Hosseini was not guilty. Sources say the BPC Management and, or Board misdirected themselves or deliberately failed to adhere to BPC Policy and Procedure and Botswana law during the period between 2nd August – 29th August 2018.Sources say in so doing the CEO completely failed to comply with his obligations under clause 4.6.19 of the Disciplinary Procedure and failed to respect clause 7.1.1 of the Disciplinary Policy.
The final blow
BG News has it in good authority that on 28th August 2018 Hosseini was asked to appear before the BPC main Board within a two hour notice. The Board allegedly informed him that they disagreed with the decision of the disciplinary hearing panel and without any further hearing, the Board told him that they choose to find him guilty, and now having been found guilty he was being asked to present mitigation.
It is alleged in that meeting Hosseini and his representative told the Board that they were operating outside of BPC Policy, Procedure and the laws of Botswana and that accepting to present a mitigation to their unlawful pronouncement of guilt would begin to validate their unlawful action, and further that in law mitigation is not presented to those who have not heard a matter themselves. It is said that Board went ahead allowing Schwarzfischer to present before it.
Subsequently the Board ruled contrary to BPC Disciplinary Policy, Procedure and the Laws of Botswana that having been found guilty by them of four charges Hosseini was dismissed with immediate effect. Botswana Guardian investigation found that the letter of “Termination of Contract of Employment” dated 29th August 2018 makes reference to termination “following the disciplinary panel’s findings”.
This according to the sources is dishonest and disingenuous as the disciplinary hearing panel appointed by the Board, after a month long hearing process, explicitly in a signed written judgement found Hosseini not guilty of all six charges and “fully exonerated” him.
Hosseini confirmed that he has been fired and reluctantly said, “as the process takes its course, I will be vindicated and, remain loyal and dedicated to BPC and the government and its objectives and most importantly to the nation that I dedicated my life to serving and look forward to get back to work at BPC soon in order to complete the work that I started.” At the time of going to press, both BPC spokesperson, Dineo Seleke and CEO, Schwarzfischer were not available for comment as their mobile lines rang unattended.