Nthatuoa Koeshe/Boitumelo Koloi
The Executive Director of the Transformation Resource Center (TRC) Tsikoane Peshoane, is accused of running the institution unto its knees by misappropriating funds to have them spent elsewhere.
Peshoane said he is not prepared to answer or defend himself against a plethora of accusations leveled against him by his charges at the Non-Government Organisation (NGO).
Approached for a comment yesterday, Peshoane said the matter was already before his bosses, members of the TRC Board of Directors, before whom he has been indicted for abuse of power, of office and of the organisationâ€™s property and resources.
“I am well aware of the matter but cannot comment at the moment because this issue is already before the board of directors,” Peshoane said.
This follows TRCâ€™s staffersâ€™ move to call onto the board to come to their rescue and emancipate them from the ambers of abuse at the hand of Peshoaneâ€™s reign of terror meted against them as junior employees working under him.
In response, the board decided to apply its mind on the matter and sent all TCR staffers on a leave of absence to give it space and time.
In a letter collectively penciled and signed by some 16 TRC staff members addressed to the board, grievances against the executive director included unfair labour practices, poor financial management, poor project management, misuse of organizational assets, staff welfare and organizational welfare.
â€œThe Executive Director has taken it upon himself to violate the contractual obligations of the organization. At the beginning of 2020 after the change of organizational structure that led people to reapplying for new positions, the staff received new employment contracts which were set to expire in December 2022,â€ reads the letter in part.
The miffed workers told the TRC board that it was their last resort of hope to deal with the bully Director whom they claim has reduced their employment at the institution akin to walking on egg shells as they fear either dismissal or demotion as he seems to do as he pleases.
They say Peshoane imposes his own conclusions, which he makes single-handedly under the guise of executive decisions in total disregard of other members of management, while also violating the workersâ€™ basic labour rights and privileges by refusing to grant them leave days saying the Centerâ€™s work is more important than leaves.
To our surprise here at TRC the Executive Director will refuse to grant leave days to employees making remarks that the TRC work is very important than a leave. This then causes most employees reaching December with a lot of days and instead of the employer treating the leave days as per the Labour Code practice, employees will be told that they have forfeited the days,â€ they add.
The letter further notes that centralized decision-making by the Executive Director has also put the center in a financial predicament
â€œThe board is well aware of TRC’s financial state. The policies in place at the organization ought to be sufficient to ensure TRC’s financial welfare. The finance department is also staffed with competent officers who at various times, in various ways have expressed concern over the kind of expenditure incurred. It begs the question, how then did the Centre find itself in this financial predicament? (sic)The answer is simple, centralized decision-making by the Executive Director himself. The Executive Director has made several decisions that have doomed the organization,â€ read the letter.
They stated that the biggest of Peshoaneâ€™s sins are instances of diverting the organisationâ€™s funds for other aspects not budgeted for thus compromising the implementation of project activities. For instance they make mention of the production and publication of a book on Coalition Politics in Lesotho that was never planned or budgeted for in any of the projects, purchase of a car that cost close to M300 000 more than was budgeted for, frequent trips to Thaba Bosiu to supposedly write proposals and reports that were not budgeted for, hiring of certain personnel that he single-handedly decided were needed against decisions that were collectively made by Management and several smaller decisions on the implementation of certain activities such as the IEC case and others.
The letter further states that the Executive Director does not honour any of the Corporation Agreements that TRC has with the funder as their funds are always diverted to other activities that the Executive Director claims are very important.
â€œExecutive Director made executive decisions to divert funds and frustrate the implementation process. After he did this, he then saw it fit to say derogatory statements when his junior stuff did not produce any meaningful achievements when he in fact, made it very difficult to consistently implement activities.
â€œThis made for a rather troublesome audit that led to some of his officers compromising their integrity and manufacturing achievements to be reported on while in actual terms they are really not there.â€
They said the result was qualified reports which in turn perpetuated the financial crises the organization has. The review of activities implemented painted a worrying picture for the BROT activities mainly because these are the ones the Executive Director interfered with the most.
The result is that there is a backlog of activities that have not been implemented to be carried to this year, which is most worrying because the Executive Director will still interfere and create unnecessary pressure and problems in their implementation which will most likely result in another qualified audit and worsen the financial strain. Finally, he exhibited signs of organizational identity crises. He attempts to run the TRC like a corporate company which it truly is not.
They showed that he undermines his staff, victimizes them, violates their labour laws and rights all in the name of his pride.
â€œWe have no doubt whatsoever that he has compromised the values TRC stands for. However, his final straw is him undermining the very people who helped him achieve all he has. It is worth noting that he mentored most of us undersigned in this letter and we have delivered. We had assumed we could talk to him even in more social platforms to make him realize his flaws to no avail. it is rather sad that we have to resort to this measure.
â€œExecutive Director is cautioned; he chooses to victimize those who speak out and demotes them without even following proper procedures. That TRC is not involved in several law-suites at the time of typing this letter, is because those who are wronged have often put the interests of the organization before their own and decided to avoid confrontation. That situation has changed as they have been corned by circumstances resulting from the unchecked actions of the Executive Director.
The organization due to this poor implementation of activities is constantly giving false information on the execution and results of projects and our fear is that if these funders discover such will ban TRC and this will lead to collapse of this organization. An example of this is on the US Embassy project that was meant to be implemented in 40 schools and only one activity was implemented in the entire project and the money used for other things that are not project related.
Misuse of organizational assets, damage to them in the process and not being held accountable in any way.
The Executive Director, took an executive decision that no staff member would ever borrow organizational vehicles for personal use however, the one person that has constantly damaged organizational property is the Executive Director himself.
He had three accidents with the twin cab GD6 on Saturdays, at night while he was doing personal issues with the organizational car and has never paid a single cent for the repair of that car on all three occasions.
The staffers say they feel the only relief commensurate with the wrongs would be the removal of Peshoane and the reversal of some of the humanly unpalatable decisions made upon them as member of staff, before he can run the organization unto absolute ruins.
â€œWe wish for the reversal of the decision to terminate or contracts so that we continue with the previous contracts he unlawfully terminated on December 1, 2021.
â€œWe wish to have our salaries reinstated, and a payment plan for our thirteenth cheques devised. We hope to remedy the situation of the financial deficit by applying for more grants (small) and implementing them jointly with the big projects we have. We could brief the board on a recovery plan we have post the departure of the incumbent Executive Director.â€