Acquisition of Swedish house procedural

16 Apr 2023

Parliament has learnt that acquisition of the Swedish house located at Plot 3125, previously owned by the Swedish government was funded by the then Ministry of Presidential Affairs, Governance and Public Administration.

Answering a question in Parliament recently, Minister of Foreign Affairs, Dr Lemogang Kwape said the presidential affairs ministry had expressed interest to purchase the property in 2019 for use as a second government or state guest house.

However, Dr Kwape said  considering the condition of the property and the need for its renovation, the ministry rationalised its development budget and requested for authority from the Ministry of Finance to reallocate funds from one of the projects to fund the renovation.

He added that the then Ministry of International Affairs and Cooperation as responsible for managing and maintaining government guest houses was engaged to process the transaction and transfer of the property into the pool of guest houses.

Parliament also heard that due processes were followed in acquiring the property and relevant ministries such as the Ministry of Lands and Water Affairs, through the Department of Lands and the then Ministry of Infrastructure and Housing were also involved.

“The Department of Lands also assisted with valuation of the property as well as facilitating issuance of the title deed while infrastructure ministry further assisted with the condition assessment of the property,” he said.

Furthermore, the minister told Parliament that the property was purchased to be used as a second state guest house for visiting Heads of State and government, as well as other dignitaries.

However, he said, since its acquisition the property had not been utilised because it required some renovations which could not be undertaken because government prioritised directing resources to the fight against COVID-19.

“It is the ministry’s priority to acquire mission properties outside Botswana and when Sweden House was on offer at the time government could not lose the opportunity to acquire such a strategically located building and a decision was made to prioritise this acquisition,” he said.

Again, he said government owned property in a number of missions outside Botswana and would continue efforts to acquire more.

“Recently, the ministry purchased property in Nairobi, Kenya, implemented a turnkey project for the construction of a Chancery building in Geneva, Switzerland and is currently constructing a chancery building and diplomatic apartments in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia which is expected to be handed over by the end of this month,” he added.

He indicated that Parliament had recently approved funds for purchase of a chancery building in Japan during the 2023/2024 financial year and there were plans to acquire and construct more property at Botswana missions.

“The ministry also undertakes maintenance of its mission properties outside Botswana and funds have been secured for some of the properties this financial year,” he said.

Maun West MP, Mr Dumelang Saleshando had asked the minister to state how and when the approval for the purchase of Plot 3125, Sweden house, was granted in terms of relevant laws governing government procurement processes.

Mr Saleshando also asked the minister to state the government account or vote from which funds were transferred for the purchase of the property.

He wanted to know if Parliament ever approved funds for the renovation of the property in the 2022/2023 financial year as well as how funds for the renovations were secured in the event Parliament was not involved.

Further, the legislator wanted to know whether the property was being utilised for the intended purpose and the rationale for prioritising the purchase of the Sweden house ahead of mission properties outside Botswana. ENDS

Source : BOPA

Author : BOPA

Location : GABORONE


Date : 16 Apr 2023