Wednesday, July 31, 2013

■ BOTSWANA: Parliamentary inquest picks holes in Air Botswana's operations, finances.

Air Botswana
A Batswana parliamentary inquest into the operations of state-owned national carrier, Air Botswana (BP) has uncovered purported oversights in the airline's fuel procurement, fleet selection and employee accountability procedures.

Air Botswana ATR42
Air Botswana ATR42 (KVonWedelstadt)
According to The Monitor, the inquest, chaired by MP Robert Masitara has, among other issues, demanded the carrier submit detailed investigations surrounding its fuel management systems and processes covering the last five years after it was found that "at least six flights, not operating for Air Botswana" were fuelled and paid for on behalf of the national airline, leading to fears of fraud.
"Some slips bearing cartoon drawings as signatures and other signatures possessing common attributes in the sign off space of both operators and customer were observed.  This raised suspicions that one person might have signed the fuel delivery slip for the customer as well as the operator".
Another finding was that an ATR72-500 (MCN 788 | A2-ABS) acquired in 2009 and put up for sale in 2012 under the auspices of a "fleet renewal programme", was in fact sold because the aircraft had not proven suitable to operating out of Maun International Airport, leading to concerns about the airline's fleet procurement committee's competence.

The Special Select Committee of Inquiry of Parliament then delved into the carrier's financial affairs with reports claiming that over USD496'000 (BWP4million) owed to various banks by now former employees of the airline has now been settled by the airline. The Monitor further states that, when the committee requested information detailing how much Air Botswana had had to pay the banks as a result of the loan guarantees, "it was only supplied with a list of debtors from the 1990s". Further to that, a financial consultant with the airline, said t have been paid an astonishing USD528/hour (BWP4'500/hour) for consultancy work, was also unable "to produce a proper and acceptable report for work done, expected for the amount he was being paid", and instead merely produced an email as evidence of work done.