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Road fund board chair resigns

  • accuses Minister Majoro of meddling

Pascalinah Kabi

THE board chairperson of the Road Fund, Thato Mohasoa, has resigned because of Finance minister Moeketsi Majoro’s alleged interference in the board’s investigation into the conduct of the fund’s outgoing chief executive officer, Nkekeletse Makara.

Mr Mohasoa tendered his resignation to Dr Majoro on 2 September 2019. In the letter, he accuses the minister of meddling in internal disciplinary processes against the CEO.

He accuses Dr Majoro of overturning the board’s decision to place Mr Makara on special leave as well as stalling the recruitment of a new CEO.

Mr Mohasoa said the board had decided to place Mr Makara on special leave pending an investigation into his alleged misconduct. He however, does not say what the alleged misconduct entailed.

He said an independent legal consultant engaged by the board provided a long-term, forward looking and instructive guidance in handling the matter involving Mr Makara and it was disheartening to the board to see Dr Majoro taking the side of the CEO.

“I wish to advise you that I intend to resign, as I hereby do, with immediate effect, from the board of the Road Fund,” Mr Mohasoa states in his letter to Dr Majoro.

“I do so with pride, in the knowledge that I was able to provide the necessary leadership and steered the organisation in the following arears, which you had mandated me to focus.”

He however, said recent events regarding the fund’s CEO had compelled him to “reflect deeply and reconsider my position in this organisation”.

“Firstly, the law dictates that the chief executive officer shall be appointed by the minister, based on the advice of the board, following an open and transparent recruitment process.

“In observance of this dictate, we advised the honourable minister that we intended to commence the recruitment process, early in July, to which we got a reply that we should put the process on hold, while the honourable minister applied his mind on the matter, yet in the meantime, the employment contract of the chief executive officer is due to end this very month”.

Mr Mohasoa said the board decided to place Mr Makara on special leave pending investigations into his alleged misconduct.

“In its wisdom, the board felt strongly for this decision…What was disheartening to the board, honourable minister, was to see you, in an unprecedented fashion, taking the side of the CEO and really preempting what our decision would be at the end of the investigation,” Mr Mohasoa states.

He said that he was further surprised when Dr Majoro wrote to the board instructing the board to reinstate the chief executive officer before the process was concluded and that he was taken aback to note that the minister had even gone on to convene a meeting with some of the board members.

He alleged that Dr Majoro had convened a meeting with some board members to discuss and seek their biased opinion on the decision the board had taken collectively.

Mr Mohasoa said the Dr Majoro’s actions demonstrated that there was an air of mistrust among board members and also created two centres of power to which the CEO reports.

“To me, this has become an untenable environment under which I feel that I cannot continue to operate, hence the decision to resign.

“During my chairmanship of the board, our work has always been based on common values and shared beliefs in good governance and proper oversight, for the growth of the Road Fund. Admittedly, we have not always agreed as individual members but I have always tried to uphold and advance those values in a way that served the best interests of the organisation, and of yours as the minister whom we represented,” Mr Mohasoa concludes.

Contacted for comment yesterday, Mr Mohasoa confirmed his resignation.

“It is true that I wrote to Dr Majoro but I cannot confirm the authenticity of the letter you are referring to. However, I have resigned,” Mr Mohasoa said.

On his part, Dr Majoro said “I meet my board on Monday (tomorrow) and until then it would be premature to react to Mr Mohasoa’s letter”.

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