‘Little’ budget distress ombudsman

‘Little’ budget distress ombudsman


Bakwena agitated by P6million to run the organisation

The Ombudsman has expressed distress over her office budget which she said is too little to run the organisation.

Festinah Bakwena told Voice Money in an interview that out of a total budget of around P18 million per annum, P12 million goes into annual salaries and allowances and only P6 million is left to run the organisation.

Faced with the task of opening new offices in Maun and Tsabong during this financial year, Bakwena said the budget is shoe-string tight and would not allow her to run the organisation effectively.

“We expect that our request for additional funds will be considered positively in years to come,” she said.

Another challenge she spoke about is inadequate human resources whose ration of cases to legal investigators stands at “70 against a best practice benchmark of 26.”

The Ombudsman said since she assumed office two years ago she received 2211 cases through her offices in Gaborone and Francistown.

She revealed that her office is also affected by poor work ethics which is a national problem.

She said, “Complaints we receive could have been avoided had the public service been more responsive to customer needs.

Undue delay and non-responsiveness leads to protracted investigations and consequently to delayed resolution of cases by the ombudsman, which creates a backlog.”

Meanwhile, Bakwena said her role as the Ombudsman is to investigate cases of maladministration within the public sector and not cases of corruption which is the mandate of the Directorate on Corruption and Economic Crime (DCEC).

The majority of cases the Ombudsman receives according to Bakwena include delayed payments of terminal benefits, non- payment of acting allowances, delayed career progression and training, scarce skills allowances and salary arrears.

“This applies to public servants,” she said.

Bakwena has however dismissed allegations that she cannot fully take the president and his association who are currently embroiled in corruption allegation, head-on.

“While there are limitations affecting the performance of my office, it has nothing to do with who I report to.

Even though my office is under the structure of the office of the president, we do not report matters relating to our mandate to the office of the president.

Special reports relating to specific cases investigated are issued to the minister.

We must acknowledge that this arrangement is out of tandem with international best practices and is likely to confuse, hence it needs to be improved,” she said.

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