After their savings were controversially used to contribute towards the Covid-19 relief fund, some members of the Botswana Police Service (BPS) are now demanding an independent audit on their Savings and Loan Guarantee Scheme.
Last month BPS donated P10 million to the relief fund an amount which police officers complained it was deducted from their savings against their will. The donation followed another P400 000 which was also donated to the fund by BPS earlier. When handing over the P10 million cheque to President Mokgweetsi Masisi last month, Police Commissioner Keabetswe Makgophe defended that the donation was a voluntary personal contribution by members of BPS.
The initial P400 000 donation has since stirred up questions and further concerns amongst cops with some complaining that they were never consulted about it. A police source told this publication that they have since been made aware that only a few of their colleagues were informed about the first donation. The concerned officers are suspicious that the amount was also maybe withdrawn from their savings but without their knowledge, hence the demand for the savings to be audited
"The P10 million donation yes we were told about it even though we did not agree to it but as for the first donation we don't know were the money comes from, we were never told anything about it," the source indicated.
Another thing that deepens their worries is that they do not know their savings balances something which they fear could be used to their disadvantage. The cops says this on its own can create chance for their savings to be stolen. "There is a possibility that our money can be withdrawn without our knowledge or more than what we agreed to be withdrawn," feared the officers.
In the P10 million donation constables were forced to contribute P550, Sergeant P1050, Sub Inspector P1500, Inspector P2000, Assistant Superintendent P2500, Superintendent P3000 and Senior Superintendent P3500.
"The BPS is the only one that provides statements of our savings and the last time they did so was about two years ago, as for now we are all clueless as to how much we have already saved for ourselves," the source claimed. He explained that on a monthly basis officers contributes varying large amounts knowing that they are saving for their own retirement purposes. "A proper audit is therefore needed so that we can be sure about how much we have already saved for ourselves plus our interests,"they demanded.
Condition of service
Despite having received salary increment mid last year some officers still lament that all is not sorted regarding their condition of service. Government last year adjusted salaries for discipled forces which soldiers and cops happily regarded it as Ntlole. The increment according to them was meant for their salaries to be at par with their civilian counterparts. They however complain that the disparity was brought back by the October 2019 salary increases which they say government excluded them from the raises.
"The October increases re-brought the disparity in our basic salaries and other benefits such as the overtime allowances and the gap continue to increase every time when government increases civil servants' salaries," they claimed.
The cops are also complaining about their subsistence allowance which according to them they only receive 75% of it when they are deployed outside their stations. Furthermore, those of the rank of Inspector and below are also demanding to be given imprest like any other civil servants during official trips.
"Civil servants from other departments including their drivers and cleaners do receive the imprest but as for us it is only allocated to Assistant Superintendent and above. So we always have to hustle accommodation for ourselves when we are on trips, this is not fair at all," expressed a concerned cop.The officers are demanding equal treatment like any other government employees especially of their same rank and same qualifications.
BPS has previously refused to comment on the matter stating that they cannot discuss police monetary issues with the media. "Those are internal matters so I cannot discuss them with you," police Spokesperson Assistant Commissioner Dipheko Motube told this publication.