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Rapula Okaile speaks on CMB and P500 million deal

Local based Capital Management Botswana (CMB) director, Rapula Okaile and his South African based counterpart, Tim Marsland are at the centre of an unending story relating to a P500 million worth deal which they struck with Botswana Public Officers Pension Fund (BPOPF) sometime in 2014.

But the unfortunate part of this story is the merry-go-round and piecemeal address to the conundrum. Their story is completely parallel to that of the people who allege they have misappropriated half a billion pula of pensions. They are confident that they executed their mandate as per their contract with BPOPF through the Botswana Opportunities Partnership (BOP), they point out that the assets are there to prove that they directed the funds to what was agreed upon.

This week, we tracked Okaile and put him on the spot, “Mr Okaile, where is the half a billion of pensioners’ money?” Before he responded to this question he quickly reminds this reporter that the Statutory Manager’s report on their company is a complete fabrication and they have applied to the court to have it reviewed and set aside because it characterised by falsehoods, bad faith, unreasonableness. “Back to your question, what I will narrate to you is the consistent facts I have given to authorities. And for the record, my partner Tim is a South African citizen and he is always willing to share what he knows about this issue,” said Okaile.

Okaile’s narration goes…

“In January 2014 the Request For Value Proportions (RFP) was made public through newspapers and websites. The RFP was open for six months ending June 27 2014. The reason the tender was open for six months was motivated by the fact that in private equity different funds have different fund raising periods and bidders were encouraged to submit at any time within the six months for consideration.  Thirty prospective bidders purchased the RFQ documents; thirteen of the thirty responded to the RFQ; the tender had a 3 staged evaluation process.

The RFQ evaluation on the basis of the scoring sheet disclosed on the tender, the minimum score was 70%

The technical due diligence was the evaluation of the information memorandum and interaction with the Fund manager and their portfolio companies. A minimum of 70% was required to pass this stage. There was also the legal due diligence. 15 bidders competed and were scored with the highest VPD achieving 72.8% and the lowest YMH attaining a score of 36.6%. CMB was number 2 and proceeded to the next stage of the evaluation with a score of 70.3%. Another company that proceeded to the next stage was African Alliance at 70.1%.  12 other companies did not proceed to the next stage.

The scores were tabled at the Finance and Investment Committee meeting of June and July 2014 to approve that stage 2 commences for three bidders being CMB, VPB and African Alliance. The second stage evaluation being the technical due diligence was submitted for considerations by the Finance and Investment Committee on their August 2017 sitting. On the second stage, scores for CMB, VPB, and African Alliance were 75.3%, 66.65%, and 54.12% respectively.

On the basis of the scores, the Finance and Investment Committee recommended to the Board for appointment of CMB for private equity mandate. The Finance and Investment Committee is responsible for the investment matters of the Fund. Through the investment of the BPOPF, the finance and Investment committee makes recommendations to the Board. The ultimate decision making rests with the Board of trustees. The decisions are made on unanimous basis, that is, all trustees have to agree for a recommendation to pass.

On the 21 August 2014, the Board of Trustees approved to commit BWp500 million to CMB for a private equity mandate. The approval was conditional on the successful legal due diligence. Once the LP has made commitment, it is obliged as per the contract to honour capital call (ie the request from the GP) within the agreed timelines. The Board of Trustees is not involved in the honoring of the capital calls. The first call was the BWP7.5 million for startup dated 5ht December 2014.

The second was BWP57.5 million for 40% Bramer Life (later rebranded to Bona Life) dated 26 June 2015. The third drawdown was BWP12.5 million for fund expenses including management fees and organizational expenses dated 3 March 2016. The fourth draw down notice was BWP 150 million for acquiring 15% of the issued capital of Wilderness Safari and related assets dated 5th April 2016. At the time of this draw down we raised an issue since Wilderness was listed and CMB mandate is unlisted investment.

However it should be noted that a private equity manager can buy listed investment if the intention is to gain critical mass to force a vote to delist the company. It was on the background of the intention to delist that we honoured the drawdown. The fifth drawdown notice was BWP150 million for acquiring Shereto Investment which controls 100% Kawena SA which in turn controls 100% of Kawena Services (Pty) Ltd.

The sixth draw down notice was BWP 100 million for acquiring 50% of Cell City Pty Ltd and underwriting the establishment of African Graduate Institute of Leadership and Enterprise with a view of acquiring 75% of AGILE dated 27 September 2016. On the 17th November 2016, the Board of Trustees resolved to commit BWP 380 million.

At this time CMB has drawn 95.5% of the initial BWP 500 million committed. Partnership Agreement was sent for Board consideration on 21 August 2014 and the Request for value proposition was made public on 27 January 2014.” Rapula says he joined CMB in March 2015 and started authorizing drawdown notices from 03 March 2016.

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Botswana confirms new COVID-19 variant

17th May 2021
covid19

Botswana health officials have confirmed the new COVOD-19 variant, which was first found in India. The Ministry of Health and Wellness has through a press statement informed members of the public that a new COVID-19 variant (B.1.617), first discovered in India. The Indian variant was confirmed in Botswana on 13 May 2021.

According to Christopher Nyanga, spokesperson at the Ministry, this followed a case investigation within Greater Gaborone, involving people of Indian origin who arrived in the country on the 24th April 2021.

“As at 16 May 2021, the B. 1. 617 variant was confirmed in two (2) people. The clients are currently receiving medical care and remain stable with no life-threatening symptoms. The two (2) cases were part of 383 people (both Batswana and some Indian nationals) who were tested for COVID-19. From this number, 43 tested positive, with two (2) showing the B. 1. 617 variant as already alluded to. Contact tracing has been expanded in line with COVID-19 protocols. All contacts and confirmed cases have been evacuated to facility based quarantine and isolation respectively, for close monitoring,” Nyanga narrated.

The World Health Organization recently announced that the Indian Covid-19 variant was a global concern, with some data suggesting the variant has “increased transmissibility” compared with other strains.

Meanwhile in the wake of Botswana’s confirmation of the Indian variant, Nyanga reminded the public of the government intervention to control the introduction of new variants of public health concern into the country. He stated that all those who have travelled or transited through areas of high risk as previously communicated on 3rd May 2021 upon return shall immediately quarantine in a central area to be identified by the Ministry of Health and Wellness for a period not exceeding ten (10) days; Repeat Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR) test after seven (7) days of quarantine and be discharged as per the outcome of the results.

He said the requirements are complementary to the mandatory requirements of producing on arrival a negative PCR test not older than 72hrs from the time the sample was collected

“The public is advised to remain vigilant and minimize the spread of COVID-19 by following the already outlined preventative measures such as washing of hands with soap or use of a hand sanitizer, wearing of face masks, avoiding crowded places/social distancing and avoiding non-essential movement,” Nyanga said.

The India variant – officially called B.1.617.2 – is one of four mutated versions of coronavirus which have been designated as being “of concern” by transitional public health bodies, with others first being identified in Kent, South Africa and Brazil.

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Khama lawyers dismiss BDP’s MacD

17th May 2021
former President Lt Gen Ian Khama

The lawyers representing former President Lt Gen Ian Khama, Ramalepa Attorneys have come forth dismissing a response letter penned down by Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) activist MacDonald Peloetletse after he was slapped with a P1.5 million lawsuit for defamation of their client.

Tebogo Tladi, an attorney at Ramalepa, said last week Thursday Peloetletse took to social media to publish a substantively false, wrongful and unlawful statement about Khama. MacDonald Peloetletse’s commentary which was posted on Gabz FM News page reads, “I am a former soldier. Everything former President SKI Khama said here is a LIE. In fact, soldiers suffered more under Khama than under his predecessors.

He actually stole money that the UN had paid to the soldiers who went for the operations and paid them less than a quarter of what was actually due to them.  “Unhappy soldiers took the BDF to court and won, the BDF is still struggling to pay the debts! Khama can fool some people, but not all the people and not all the time.

“In fact many soldiers, serving, retired and those that resigned and were in the operations during Khama’s time get even more annoyed to such disrespectful statements by Ian Khama.” Khama’s lawyer says the impugned statement was published with the intention to injure his client (Khama) in his personality rights, good name and dignity, further indicating that the statement has damaged his good reputation.

“We have therefore been instructed by Client to demand, as we hereby do, that you publish on the same forum a retraction and a full and unconditional apology to Client within three days of receipt of this letter- and that you deliver such apology in a formal letter to the Office of the Former President, Dr Khama. In the event that you have not compiled with this demand by close of business on Monday 10th May 2021, our Client will assume that you have refused to comply with this demand.”

To top it all off, Khama demands that Peloetletse pay him P1.5 million in damages for defamation. “Furthermore, we hold instructions to demand as we hereby do, that you pay our Client damages for defamation in the sum of P1, 500,000.00 within seven days of receipt of this letter.” In the event that Peloetletse fails to pay the amount of damages demanded by Khama, Tladi says they will institute legal proceedings for the recovery of the aforesaid damages.

In his response letter addressed to Ramalepa Attorneys, Peloetletse said that he requests enlightenment and clarification that he be provided with proof that the allegations and comments which they attribute to him were indeed authored by him and that the platform which the comments were placed was not hacked.

“Please also advise if whether your clients has been endowed with a “special particular privilege status” that restricts the citizens of this country from commenting or responding to public statements made by your client in the course of political discourse especially when made on public forum and relate to matters of general public concern. (I trust that your brilliant legal mind is well informed with respect to the jurisprudence in such matters)”.

Peloetletse also said he would like to share with the attorneys a video which was posted on a public forum. “Please listen carefully to the conversations and discussion herein and advice if possibly such discussions form a reasonable basis for a justifiably rebuttal by any Motswana Citizen to the public pronouncements and defamatory statements made by your client about our government (bearing in mind of course a citizens constitutional right to freedom of speech and freedom of expression).’’

Consulted for further comment on the matter on Thursday after receiving Peloetletse’s response, Khama’s attorney Tebogo Tladi said the letter doesn’t hold any water. “The only way out for him is to prove the truth of the allegations on his comment or deny publication. He does not answer substantively to the defamation and does not respond to the demand of an apology or payment of damages.

So his letter really contains largely matters irrelevant to the substance of the letter of demand. His response in fact presents no legally cognizable defence at all- it would appear he responded without the benefit of legal advice, which would not be prudent for such an important case. So we will proceed to issue summons and wait to see what defences he will plead in court.’’

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Inside the multi-million Dollar Kazungula Bridge business

17th May 2021
kazungula bridge

Botswana and Zambia this week celebrated the opening of a multi-million Dollar infrastructural project, the Kazungula Bridge, projected to contribute around P100 million annually for Botswana. This project comes after the signing of the 2012 Agreement between the two countries to construct a bridge that would ease movement of goods.

President Mokgweetsi Masisi said the Kazungula Bridge will open avenues for improved trade, job creation and economic diversification in both countries. Further, the Bridge will significantly accelerate Southern African Development Committee (SADC) regional integration agenda which Botswana and Zambia are vigorously pursuing.

“By growing our strategic partnerships through this project, we have improved the development and competitiveness of our economies to attract more private sector investment, thereby, supporting our efforts to create employment, especially for the burgeoning youth,” Masisi said at the opening ceremony in Kazungula on Monday.

The Kazungula Bridge comprises a road and rail bridge over the Zambezi River, directly linking Botswana and Zambia. It has One-Stop-Border Post facilities on both sides, which will enhance the operational efficiency at entry points, replicated on both sides of the boarder.

The Bridge was originally conceived as a critical link in the African North-South Corridor under the African Union’s New Partnership (NEPAD) for Africa’s Development programme. It has since evolved to encompass a multimodal transport plan under the Programme for Infrastructure Development in Africa (PIDA).

The PIDA programme, which encompasses liberalisation of air travel, rail links, road, water and all other modes of transport has only one objective: to unite the States of Africa in order to foster trade on the continent

“Connectivity of our nations will in no small measure, promote people to people interactions and uplifts their standard of living. I am pleased to state that the completion of this project is a clear demonstration of our commitment to PIDA.”

The 260 million US Dollar Kazungula Bridge was commissioned by Zambian President, Edgar Lungu and President Masisi. President Lungu said the bridge was a monumental effort linking Zambia internally and externally to ease the movement of goods and services.

“I have held talks with my counterpart in Botswana that this project must run daily up to 22 hours as soon as possible and you the technocrats must not play ping-pong with us after making these public procurements,” Lungu said at the official opening in Kazungula.

For his part, DRC President Felix Tshisekedi said the project was tandem with the Africa Union (AU) goals and priority areas for Agenda 2063 which called for a prosperous Africa, based on inclusive growth and sustainable development.

KAZUNGULA FERRY

The new Kazungula Bridge replaces the Kazungula Ferry, a pontoon ferry across the 400-metre-wide Zambezi River between Botswana and Zambia. It was one of the largest ferries in South-Central Africa, having a capacity of 70 tonnes.

In 2003 the ferry was the site of a disaster when a severely overloaded Zambian truck capsized one of the pontoons and 18 people drowned. The accident was blamed on the lack of weighbridges in Zambia to check the weight of trucks.

In August 2007, the governments of Zambia and Botswana announced a deal to construct a bridge at the site to replace the ferry. The existence of a short boundary of about 150 meters between Zambia and Botswana was apparently agreed to during various meetings involving Heads of State and officials from all four States in the 2006-2010 period.

The route for this new bridge crosses the boundary without entering Zimbabwe and Namibia. Zimbabwe already has a bridge into Zambia at Victoria Falls, 70KM from Kazungula. Namibia on the other hand has a bridge into Zambia at Katima Mulilo about 150KM upriver.

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