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The community of Sankoyo has heavily criticised Ngamiland Deputy District Commissioner, Boammaruri Otlhogile for allegedly soliciting a P150 000 loan, through his company Inter Investments from Sankuyo Tshwaragano Management Trust (STMT) in a shady deal that was initially kept a secret.
The general consensus during a meeting to discuss the matter in the village this week, was that as the Chairman of the Technical Advisory Committee, which advises community trusts, Otlhogile was better placed to know that what he did was wrong and a conflict of interest.
The meeting took a decision that the current board members should meet with Otlhogile on a date yet to be set, and discuss with him how he intends to repay the money.
The residents are of the view that Otlhogile used his powers as Chairman of TAC for his own personal benefits. After the issue surfaced, which the board members that were allegedly involved kept a secret, the trust then on Tuesday held a special general meeting.
According to the trust’s constitution, a loan can only be authorised by the general membership of the trust, but in this instance it is alleged the only people who knew about it were the Manager, Chairperson and vice chairperson while other board members and the general membership were in the dark..
Board Chairperson, Kempho Kedikilwe, who at the time of loan issuance was Vice Chairperson and additional board member, Monthusi Sinvula, who then was the board chairperson have since been suspended from the board and have also been given one year suspensions from participating in trust activities.
The controversy surrounding the trust also saw its Manager, Galesenngwe Haku subsequently tendering his resignation on the 22nd December 2022. Currently Ramah Samakata is the acting manager while Otsogile Moalosi is the acting board Chairperson.
Speaking at the meeting, Moalosi revealed that Otlhogile confirmed to the current board that he got the loan from the trust in July 2022 which he was to clear in September the same year.
According to Moalosi, the loan issue came to their attention after Otlhogile wrote a letter to the trust seeking an extension to the payment of the loan to mid-January 2023. He noted that the loan was from a lease payment which they had agreed to leave untouched until they have drawn the 2023 financial year budget plan.
One of the disappointed residents, Messiah Samakata said Otlhogile should be the one facing punitive action, instead of the suspended board members since benefited as a government employee who knew better and has been in the system for some time.
Sebopiwa John who also shared the same sentiments, suggested that Otlhogile should pay the money over a period of three days, failing which the legal route should be taken. He also demanded to know the terms and conditions of the loan.
He further suggested that the matter be referred to the Directorate on Corruption and Economic Crime (DCEC), arguing it was corruption as he believes Otlhogile abused his office and misused public funds for his own benefit.
“Otlhogile is a high ranking government officer and this money is ours but it was acquired through natural resources which belong to the government, he has done a corrupt act by obtaining a personal loan from the trust,” he stressed.
“People have lost their jobs due to his selfish act, instead of advocating for us and leading us to develop ourselves through the trust he teaches board members to go against our constitution,” Olerato Dipuo criticised.
Several attempts to reach deputy district commissioner Otlhogile to hear his side proved futile. Initially contacted by phone, he requested for questions to be sent to him to respond, and had not responded by the agreed deadline. Several follow up phone calls were made which at one point he hang them up before his phone continually rang unanswered.