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One sentence letter suspended Agric PS

SUSPENDED: Opelo

As more senior civil servants fall by the way side either being re-deployed, pushed into early retirement, or getting suspended, it has emerged that the latest casualty was informed of his demise in just one sentence.

The Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Agricultural Development and Food Security Jimmy Opelo was suspended just over week ago.

Our sources tell us that “he received a letter with one sentence stating that he is placed on suspension pending criminal investigations in the ministry”.

Although there is no explanation to the suspension, the ministry has in recent months dominated public discussions on social media on a number of topics ranging from the poultry industry; procurement of seeds for the ISPAAD programme, and the new project of using drones for measurement of ploughing fields.

The ISPAAD programme was recently marred in controversy as there were back and forth decisions on how its reviewed version should be implemented.

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Of course the poor performance of Botswana Meat Commission, which refused to leave the public discourse for close to a decade since the feedlot scandal, has also resurfaced recently with unconfirmed reports of financial mismanagement at the National Abattoir at Lobatse.

The abattoir is struggling to slaughter enough cattle as per its size yet thousands of live cattle are exported to neighbouring countries every year since farmers are not happy with delayed payments from BMC.

The Maun and Francistown abattoirs are still closed due to financial challenges.

The Botswana Agricultural Marketing Board has also dominated recent news headlines for all the wrong reasons, but none of the aforementioned have been officially linked to the suspension of the Permanent Secretary.

Meanwhile, our efforts to get a comment from Opelo did not bear any fruit as he said he was in a series of meetings.

Spokesperson for the Directorate on Corruption and Economic Crimes, Lentswe Motshoganyetsi, was said to be attending a workshop outside his office and his phone rang unanswered.

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The DCEC Act prohibits the organization from commenting on cases that they are still investigating.

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