While the Southern African Development Community (SADC) is trying to detach itself from donor dependence by looking at alternatives ways of sustaining its operations and programmes, it has emerged that SADC Executive Secretary Dr Stergomena Lawrence Tax wants to sink with the regional body.
Last week outgoing Council of Ministers Chairperson Simbarashe Mumbengegwi berated SADC’s over reliance on donors saying time is nigh for the 35 year old organisation to wean itself.
“Recent events have shown that cooperating partners are beset with their own challenges, their ability to fund programmes elsewhere is decreasing. We therefore cannot continue to postpone indefinitely the debate on alternative sources of funding for the organisation, neither can we afford to continue procrastinating…”he challenged.
Paradoxically, the Council of Ministers on Saturday 16th August approved the final 2014/15 budget of the SADC Secretariat by slashing it to US$77.878 million from US$88.297 million.
A stinging report based on audit findings by the flagship Botswana Guardian Newspaper dated 14th August 2015, has exposed how Dr Tax has abused her position through maladministration, nepotism and insubordination among other vices.
The Council of Ministers appointed external auditors Ernst and Young to conduct the forensic report, the paper said.
For instance, she defied the Council of Ministers request not to employ her special advisor because it was argued that she had deputy executive secretaries and several directors that would serve her in the same capacity.
“Dr Tax… defied the directive by entering into negotiations with some cooperating to fund the position of her special advisor. She employed her countryman Yohanne Masara,”the paper said.
The other scandal happening under her watch is abuse of the educational scheme, where several senior staff allegedly forges birth certificates of nonexistence children in order to qualify for educational allowances.
In December 2014, Dr Tax is alleged to have shocked SADC Secretariat staff by cancelling a Christmas party on the grounds that many staff had already gone for Christmas holidays. But she later held the party at her residence.
She and other senior staff are also accused of going on frequent external trips in order to claim subsistence allowances.Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :