Nigeria taps into UB’s anti-graft efforts

A Delegation from Nigerian’s Presidential Advisory Committee Against Corruption paid a courtesy call on then Acting Vice Chancellor, Professor Martin Mokgwathi, on August 14, 2018, to learn first-hand efforts by the University of Botswana to combat corruption.

The delegation comprised seven members among them the Chairman, Professor Itse Sagay, Executive Secretary, Professor Bolaji Owasanoye, Program Officer/Consultant, Kelechi Amadi, Project Accountant, Musa Alhamdu and three members, Professor Femi Odekunle, Professor Etannibi Alemika and Professor Sadiq Isa Radda.

Responding to questions on the contribution of the University of Botswana in the fight against corruption, Professor Mokgwathi stated that the University was doing fairly well in terms of managing corruption.

Professor Mokgwathi was committed to “zero tolerance” of corruption, given the high level of honesty and transparency in most transaction across different departments and faculties. He also said the student admission system was tight and broad and the staff strictly adhered to rules and regulation notwithstanding occasional incidents of some who tried to beat the system.

“University of Botswana has a well-developed set of anti-corruption laws that work in harmony with one another and create a good framework to combat corruption crimes ranging from corrupt recruitment and admission procedures, illegal procurement of goods and services. And other corruption crimes such as financial fraud, professional misconduct (such as nepotism and plagiarism), academic fraud (such as soft marking, graduation, biased grading, falsifying academic records and paying for grades),” said Professor Mokgwathi.

With regard to promoting access to higher education, Professor Mokgwathi said most students were government funded through loans, grants or partial grants, which were determined by the priority of the field of study administered by Department of Student Placement and Welfare in the Ministry of Tertiary Education, Research, Sciences and Technology.

Head of the Department of Business Management, Mr Rebana Mmereki, said the Directorate on Corruption and Economic Crime (DCEC) took lead in investigations, corruption prevention and public education. However, the decision whether to prosecute rested with the attorney general. Mr Mmereki also said they were conducting a research on corruption to influence policies in the fight against crime and to integrate such in their academic programmes.

On the other hand, UB Deputy Vice Chancellor Finance, Mr Mendel Nlanda, said historically, Botswana’s good governance and democracy bequeathed by previous leaders contributed towards low levels of corruption and set the foundation for current leaders to carry along the  values and the rule of Law.

Mr Nlanda further stated that Botswana’s small population also contributed to low levels of corruption. Executive Assistant to the Vice Chancellor, Mr Shathiso Nlebgwa also shared the same sentiments and alluded to the fact that UB had statute provision for conflict of interest. Mr Nlebgwa the University was implementing a policy on the protection of whistle-blowers in the fight against crime.

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