Suspended President of Botswana Public Employees Union (BOPEU), Masego Mogwera, may have been economical with the truth pertaining to her remuneration during the period of her secondment to the union secretariat, in her numerous court battles.
Information has surfaced showing that Mogwera may have lied under oath and misled the Court of Appeal, when she swore in a confirmatory affidavit filed on 27 August 2018 that her allowance at Botswana Public Employees Union (BOPEU) during her time of secondment is only P23 306.16. “It is completely false that I draw a salary in excess of P70 000.00 as alleged,” she wrote in court documents.
Contrary to such declaration made under oath an investigation launched by The Patriot on Sunday has found her payslip for the month of March 2019 showing that she earns a gross salary of P41, 180.78 made up of a basic salary of P33, 366.42 and a car allowance of P7,812.36. This monthly salary dates as far back as 01 July 2017.
Just before Christmas in 2017, the Head of BOPEU Secretariat, General Secretary Topias Marenga wrote to Mogwera informing her that for the year 2017/18 management had resolved to award 4% inflationary adjustment to her salary and an ex gratia performance bonus at 5% of her annual salary for the year ended June 2017, with an effective date of implementation of the adjustment set at July 01, 2017. This brought Mogwera’s revised salary to P496, 140.32 per annum (approximately P41 345.026 per month).
Mogwera’s adjustment came just a month after the now deposed General Secretary was also rewarded handsomely following a restructuring exercise. The Patriot on Sunday has uncovered documents showing that since 01 November 2017 Marenga had been smiling all the way to the bank with a whooping P660 360.00 per annum (P55 030 per month) following a salary upgrade from Band 6 to 7, through a letter dated 20th January 2018. However, this was later revised to P624 989.00 per annum (P52 082.416) after it was discovered that the salary upgrade was erroneous as it was contrary to the national office bearers’ resolution that only sanctioned a 4% inflationary adjustment.
In a marathon case in her attempt to preserve the status quo (save her position in the union) Mogwera was back in court on Thursday arguing that her comrades in the rival faction had acted in contempt of court when they refused her access to BOPEU offices. She had earlier last Friday won a temporary relief when court temporarily lifted her suspension and banishment pending a final decision on the constitutionality of such action against her by the rival NEC members. The recent court cases add to a growing pile of lawsuits before the courts all between past and present BOPEU leadership, its subsidiary Babereki Investments leadership and suppliers among others. Some of the major multimillion pula lawsuits were launched by Mogwera against deposed Executive Chairman of Babereki Investment and former BOPEU president, Andrew Motsamai and some service providers. The cases centre around poor investment decisions and fraudulent transactions that are alleged to have occurred under Motsamai’s watch leading to Babereki Investments making losses running into hundreds of millions.
But Motsamai and others accused of embezzlement of funds have not left the matter lying down and have filed their own lawsuits to counter Mogwera’s claims against them. Motsamai insists that accusations against him are unfounded because all investment decisions were approved and signed for by the Babereki Board of Directors as a collective, amongst them Mogwera. Although Babereki Board instituted a forensic audit into financial transactions soon after Motsamai was fired in September 2017, the results of that investigation have been a closely guarded secret sparking wild speculation that it implicates current BOPEU leaders who sat in Babereki Board at the time.
Mogwera’s ouster has long been precipitated by developments ahead of the tri-annual elective national congress held in Kasane, where a new leadership was elected in December 2018. Candidates sympathetic to Motsamai, persecuted by Mogwera ahead of congress, pulled a surprise by sweeping positions for national office bearers. Although she retained the Presidency, it was a hollow victory as she could not exercise any authority without consensus. All other office bearers positions had been scooped by her opponents. Soon after congress the anti -Mogwera camp started reversing her decisions, chief among them the suspension of some members with immediate effect. From then on national executive (board) decisions became a game of numbers, and it was only a matter of time before Mogwera was kicked out.
Some of the reasons advanced for suspending Mogwera include failure and/ or reluctance to share the results of a forensic audit carried out by SA investigators last year; failure to act on outstanding agenda items of the Kasane congress, among them a resolution to call a special congress within three months to deliberate on the aborted discussions.
The new BOPEU leadership has never hidden their displeasure about how Marenga managed the Secretariat Office, as a full time employee on contract. Unhappy with ‘his partiality’, they moved to review his appointment as a matter of urgency so that he makes way for a more objective appointee. It therefore did not come as a surprise when the new leadership refused to renew his contract and instead relieved him of his duties when his five year contract elapsed.