Gaborone — It is crucial for companies and government structures to have effective whistle-blowers and tip-off anonymous hotlines as part of their corporate governance compliance programmes.
Acting permanent secretary in the Ministry of Transport and Communications, Mr Gaolathe Dipholo said such arrangement would encourage employees, customers, suppliers and the public to report suspected unethical or unlawful conduct.
Speaking at the Botswana Fibre Network (BoFiNet) Whistle-blowing Hotline launch recently, Mr Dipholo said whistle-blowing and tip-off programmes provided a company with the opportunity to address and remedy conduct or activities that it needed to investigate or rectify and also brought to light issues of unlawful activities that the company was required to report to its regulators.
He said it therefore was a great step by BoFiNet to have seen it fit to establish the hotline.
Mr Dipholo said employees trusted autonomously managed tip-off hotlines more than the internally managed ones, adding that service providers such as Deloitte had vast experience in managing whistle-blower calls, citing that data could be used to improve on company processes to close out possibilities of fraud, corruption and maladministration.
"Fraud and corruption is an ever increasing global phenomenon that affects us all," he said, adding BoFiNet had recognised that fraud, corruption, theft and any form of maladministration could impede realisation of its strategic goals and had proactively adopted a stance of zero tolerance towards all acts of fraud and corruption.
He said BoFiNet had a Fraud and Corruption Policy in place which aimed to regulate management of all attempts and incidents of corruption, fraud, theft or maladministration impacting on BoFiNet operations.
Mr Dipholo said compliance to ethical standards and requirements was fundamental to attracting and sustaining sound business relationships locally and internationally, adding that was a formal representation of BoFiNet's commitment to create a culture that incorporated professional integrity, adherence to ethical standards and requirements in all of its business relationships with external and internal stakeholders.
BoFiNet board chairperson, Mr Ratsela Mooketsi said tip-off anonymous hotlines were now an expectation by international standards and that Botswana needed to adopt best practices to safe guard the interest of Batswana and uphold clean ways of doing business.
BoFiNet board finance and audit committee chairperson, Ms Pauline Sebina said BoFiNet was committed to fighting fraudulent and corrupt activities at all levels within the organisation and as such BoFiNet staff supported and fostered a culture of zero tolerance towards fraud, corruption, theft and other illegal activities.
She said appropriate actions will be taken against implicated employees or parties based on the outcomes of investigations and in accordance with BoFiNet's human resources manual, Code of Conduct, conditions of service contracts and any of the applicable laws of Botswana.
Meanwhile, numbers for reporting corruption include BTC 0800 600 644, Orange 1144, Mascom 71119794, Email: email@example.com and the website is: www.tip-offs.com