The Botswana Meat Commission (BMC) paid out millions of Pula to private feedlots during the period when the European Union (EU) was not buying beef from Botswana.
Among the feedlot owners who gained from the payments are former President Sir Quett Ketumile Masire, the former Speaker of the National Assembly, Patrick Balopi and other white farmers who include Koos Van Vuuren of Betta Beef and Phillip Fischer of Hurvitz among others.
However Masire and Balopi pocketed a few thousand pulas while the white farmers banked hundreds of pulas if not millions,
The assistant Minister of Agriculture Oreeditse Molebatsi told Parliament on Tuesday this week that close to P69m was advanced for 35, 423 cattle that were in these farmers feedlots during that period.
The Assistant Minister did not volunteer the information, but was rather compelled by a Parliamentary question by a Shoshong Member of Parliament (MP), Phillip Makgalemele to reveal the information.
Makgalemele had wanted to know the amount paid by BMC to feedlotters during the period when it was not selling to EU and how such feedlotters were identified.
In addition he asked if an open tender was ever issued before such tenders were issued.
Molebatsi said the feedlotters were identified through an open tender.
“At the BMC Board meeting No.261 held on the 12 November 2008, the BMC Board gave permission for management to embark on programmes that included direct cattle purchase and contract feeding,” Molebatsi explained.
He further stated that in fact an advertisement was placed in the media on Wednesday November 19, 2008 and the tender closed on the 27th of the same month.
At further request of the backbench MP, Molebatsi released a list of companies and the amount paid during January to December 2011 and January to July this year and mentioned the company directors.
The revelations come at a time when the Parastatal is being investigated for maladministration, which is alleged to have cost it a lot of money and almost pushed it to state on bankruptcy.