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Gov’t withdraws Petroleum Fund money

Publishing Date : 16 January, 2018


The Department of Energy has announced that a decision has been taken to withdraw all National Petroleum Fund monies and investment portfolios from respective banks and investment institutions.

A communication from the Department of Energy states that all proceeds into the National Petroleum Fund will now be deposited into the Government Remittance account held at Bank of Botswana.  “Furthermore, all commitments out of the Fund shall be routed through the Ministry of Finance and Economic Development for payment through the Government Remittance account. Meanwhile, the Security of Supply Margin shall be deposited into the Botswana Oil Limited account. These changes take effect immediately and shall remain until further notice,” reads the short memo.

The latest decision by government follows a series of events originated by a money laundering charge on one Bakang Seretse who is Managing Director of Kgori Capital is in his personal capacity implicated in a case involving P326 million which is perceived as thus far the leading financial scandal in monetary value. Seretse is accused alongside two others, Botho Leburu and Kenneth Kerekang.

One of Seretse’s companies has apparently been administering the National Petroleum Fund (NPF) since 2016. It is also understood that Minister of Mineral Resources, Green technology and Energy Security, Sadique Kebonang is also by virtue of his position, which houses Department of Energy, also drawn in. It is alleged that Money from the fuel levy (NPF) which falls under Kebonang’s ministry was transmitted to one of Seretse’s company accounts.   

It is also alleged that another company by Seretse and Minister Kebonang’s close family member was given sole responsibility to manage the construction of government’s strategic fuel reserve tanks. The matter is scheduled for end of January this year. The Gaborone based potent entrepreneur and socialite, Bakang Seretse was in December 2017 granted bail in a matter in which he faces one count of money laundering. Seretse was given bail together with co-accused, Botho Leburu and Kenneth Kerekang after appearing briefly at the Gaborone Regional Magistrate requesting for freedom from jail pending the main case.

The Directorate of Public Prosecutions (DPP) is expected to argue during the substantive matter that there was a breach to the National Petroleum Fund Order, the Public Finance Management Act and the Penal Code Sections 129 and 132. But Seretse and his lawyer are arguing that no charge has been laid against him regarding the specific provisions of the National Petroleum Fund Order, Public Finance Management Act, or the Penal Code.

Seretse in his affidavit is arguing that his company did not originate the transaction and that the involvement of his company was transactional. “There is no affidavit, let alone letter from the government to suggest that the Ministry of Minerals, Green technology and Energy Security or any other government office for that matter, ever saw anything untoward in the acts of Khulaco. The government never complained against Khulaco and has, to this date, not complained against Khulaco,” he wrote.

In fact Bakang Seretse throws the matter back at the door stop of top government offices and implicates Directorate of Intelligence and Security (DIS), Isaac Kgosi, who started the whole process of ring fencing money with Khulaco; who also points a finger at Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Minerals, Green Technology and Energy Security, Dr Obolokile Obakeng who took the decision to vary the money.

Furthermore he implicates Minister Sadique Kebonang of whom he says has always been aware of the transaction and has attended some of the meetings with Khulaco. Bakang Seretse’s company is entitled to 20 percent commission of the P250 000 000 they were handling. This effectively means that P50 000 000 belongs to Seretse and his company.    



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