Capital Management Botswana (CMB) directors, Rapula Okaile and Tim Marsland want the Statutory Manager’s report on their company to be reviewed and set aside because it characterised by falsehoods, bad faith, unreasonableness.
Okaile and Marsland’s decision to approach the court to set aside Peter Collins’ report comes following a liquidation hearing this week at which their attorney suggests he was unfairly treated and mocked. He further narrates that the process was flawed and natural principles of justice were not observed.
Okaile and Marsland in their affidavit to court posit that Collins’ findings and conclusions are not supported by any facts indicative of any wrong doing on the part of CMB directors or the company. “They are also not supported by any business principles of how private equity functions or operates,” writes Okaile.
In addition Okaile stresses that by the time Peter Collins was appointed, Capital Management Botswana had no interest inn the Botswana Opportunities Partnership as it was disposed of in October 2017 and Capital Management Botswana was removed as Manager by the new owner prior to the appointment of Peter Collins. “In the context of the flawed understanding and misappreciation of principles of private equity, Peter Collins’ reports are unreasonable, irrational and have been prepared with ulterior motive and should therefore be reviewed and set aside.”
Okaile disputes the indebtedness of Capital Management Botswana and further states that claims that the company is insolvent are false and problematic. “He concludes that Capital Management Botswana is indebted to various persons and entities. He makes the findings without asking the company directors about the debts and inquiring from them whether such debts exist and if they do, why they have not been paid.”
Okaile further writes that besides debts which are denied or opposed on bona fide basis, Peter Collins recommends liquidation on the basis of a possible damages claim. “An unproven damages claim can never be a basis upon which a company can be liquidated.” According the CMB director based in Botswana, the fact that Peter Collins would want Capital; Management Botswana to be liquidated on account of possible damages claim is clear indication of bias, improper motive and desperate desire to want it liquidated at all costs. Okaile is of the view that the conduct of the Statutory Manager is unlawful and liable to be set aside and reviewed.
“The other basis upon which his reports particularly the one dated the 7thth of June 2018 should be set aside is that, he prepared it when he was not confirmed as Statutory Manager. “…he cannot have prepared the report before the court confirmed his appointment.” Okaile is adamant that Peter Collins’ reports were prepared illegally and should be set aside.
In disputing claims that they have siphoned P500 million from pensioners Okaile is adamant that they have proven that assets do exist that cover the alleged figure. He also points that Kawena, which is disputed is a big company operating from Mozambique and BOP has a 50% share in it.
WHAT CMB DIRECTORS DISPUTE
According to the former judge Collins in his statutory report, a P20 million loan under investigation appears to have originated from a verbal request by Cell City’s management to CMB’s Tim Marsland “for a short term facility to fund working capital in order to finance a one-off deal for purchase and sale of mobile handsets.”
According to a leaked CMB Statutory Management Report prepared by former High Court Judge, Peter Collins, the audited financial statements of Cell City after BOP investment shows a Cash flow statement reflects negative operating cash flow of P49, 559,259, negative investing cash flow of P4, 164,870 financed by net cash raised of P49, 978,510 from a share issue and a related party loan, primarily from BOP.
Net cash flow for the year was a negative P3, 270,898 according to Cell City’s financials. The statutory manager Collins was appointed by the Non-Bank Financial Institutions Regulatory Authority (NBFIRA) to CMB.According to the CMB Statutory Management Report, the balance sheet reflects total assets of P109, 976,679; equity of P48, 887, 605; and liabilities of P61, 089,074. The Profit and Loss account reflects revenues of P202, 433,257 and a pre-tax profit of P20, 140,268.
The Statutory Management Report has also curiously found that during the financial year of 2017 shares were issued to raise the issued share capital to P30 million but there was nowhere where a reflection of an increase in the number of shares in issue. What raised the statutory manager’s eye brows was a P20 million loan which was facilitated obscurely and not documented in the company’s financial records.
“I have nothing to add to section 19 of my Interim Report save that I neglected to state that the loan of P20 million was advanced by CMBF1 whereas the Financial Statements of the company reflects it as a loan from BOP, viz the equity investor. BOP at no stage gave authority for the introduction of this debt. Payment of it was made from general funds in the CMBFl bank account. The debtor/creditor relationship would nevertheless appear, at least ostensibly, to be between the company and BOP (rather than CMB).
That is the way the company understood it. Moreover, I do not think that it can fall from the mouth of CMB that it was extending its own resources to an unsecured commercial loan to a company in which its principal (BOP) holds 50 percent equity,” said the statutory manager Collins in his report seen by this publication. The statutory manager further revealed that the loan is unsecured with no set term for repayment and no agreed rate of interest.
It is also stated that this fact is confirmed in the audited financials dated 30 September 2017. However, the borrower has undertaken to pay (and has paid) interest at an effective rate of 5 percent p.a. since October 2016. P346, 393.42 in interest has been paid up to 31 December2017 said the statutory manager.
The deal which saw BOP buying 50 percent stake in Cell City was the centre of a meeting held by the BOP Investment Committee held at the plushy Sunny Side Hotel in Johannesburg, South Africa. Those in attendance at the meeting were Rasoava Rijamampianina who was chairing the meeting, Martin Makgatlhe, Tim Marsland and Rapula Okaile. It is revealed in documents passed to this publication that the minutes of the meeting reflect that the investment was “presented, discussed and approved.”
However, according to the statutory manager, it is not clear whether a specific detailed investment case was presented. In the Statutory Management Report which followed the ongoing CMB liquidation, Collins says the relationship between CMB and BPOPF in respect of the BOP is in dispute and is pending litigation and arbitration.
CMB challenges Liquidation handler
Okaile and Marsland have since written a letter to the Registrar and Master of the High Court raising concerns and complaints at the manner in which the Ms Chipo Gaobatwe handled the inquiry. They state that she handled the inquiry in a very biased and unfair way. According to their affidavit, “She was impatient, temperamental and hostile to clients’ attorney, Mr Gabriel Kanjabanga.” They state that she was blantandly biased towards Mr Peter Collins who is the liquidator’s legal advisor.
According to Okaile and Marsland, Kanjabanga was constantly interjected and interrupted when trying to make submissions. “Clients attoney was constantly threatened with contempt and thus was prevented from fully and effectively representing the clients to the best of his ability.” They want the Master to intervene “in the most legally possible way”.
CMB Directors threaten Desai
Okaile and Marsland have also written a letter to Rizwani Desai of Desai Law Practice accsuing him of using information they consulted him on against them in court. They have informed him that they will be reporting him to the Law Society of Botswana because he breached his professional ethics.
Stanbic Bank Botswana Quarterly Economic Review indicates that Botswana will fail to meet some of its Vision 2036 targets, particularly unemployment reduction and reaching high-income status.
The report says this is mainly due to the slow economic growth that the country is currently experiencing. This Quarterly Economic Review focuses on the 2020 Budget Speech.
The first paper reviews the entire budget with its key observations being that this budget is prepared as prescribed by the Public Finance Management Act; the priorities it seeks to address are drawn from Vision 2036 and the eleventh
The 2020 budget Speech, which was the maiden speech by the Minister of Finance and Economic Development, Dr. Thapelo Matsheka, and the first after the 2019 general elections, was delivered to Parliament on the 4th of February 2020.
It has been well received by the labour unions, business community, and the public at large as well as international organisations such as the International Monetary Fund (IMF).
It mainly derived its support from key facets including, emphasis on changing the business-as-usual approach to development; outlining the transformation agenda; fiscal reform that minimizes the negative impact on economic development and human welfare, competiveness and the decision to implement the 2019 negotiated and agreed public sector.
The budget’s progress review shows that economic growth was consistent with the NDP 11 projections, with growth of around 4 percent. At this growth rate, the country would neither ascend to a high-income status nor reduce unemployment towards the Vision 2036 target of a single digit.
Simple calculations of this review confirm that the economy will need to grow the Vision 2036’s target of 6 percent over the next 16 years for per capita income to increase from around USD 8,000.00 to above USD 12,000.00 in current prices.
Further, the population is anticipated to grow by only 2 percent per annum.
For this reason, the focal areas for the forthcoming FY’s budget include measures to increase economic growth towards an average of 6 percent per annum.
Economic diversification is reportedly progressing fairly well. The report says, the share of the non-mining private sector in value added has risen to 66 percent in 2018 from to 63 percent in 2015.
The sectoral pattern of growth showed that the performance of services sector (particularly transport & communications, trade, hotels & restaurants, and finance & business services) has been the silver lining and that of mining sector was subdued whilst the utility sector disappointed.
The drive towards the service sector of the economy, especially to low-productivity activities (tourism, public administration, wholesaling and retailing) does not bode well for the country’s development aspirations.
In the previous versions of this Quarterly Review, it was noted that there is need for the rethinking of economic diversification. Since the country’s domestic market is small, it is inevitable that economic diversification not only focus on broadening the product mix, but also the composition of exports and markets.
This understanding of economic diversification has not been embraced by this year’s budget. Consequently, Botswana’s exports are still overwhelmingly diamonds, which means that the rest of economic sectors are still highly dependent on foreign-exchange earnings from diamonds. Thus, “the transformation programme requires a review of the country’s entire ecosystem”.
The budget review of the economic context also depicts that an economy with positive medium-term prospects, with growth expected to recover to 4.4 percent in 2020 from the expected growth of 36 percent in 2019 largely due to faster growth of services sectors and, thereafter, to slow-down to 4 percent in 2021.
These projected growth rates are comparable to those of the IMF staff’s baseline scenario of 4.2 percent in 2020 and 4 percent in 2021. Thus, the business-as-usual scenario produces growth rates that are still too low to achieve Botswana’s development objectives and create enough jobs to absorb the new entrants into the labour market.
Trade tensions between the two major markets for diamond exports, viz., the United States of America and China, is one of the factors that are cited as contributing to, indeed, undermining not only the domestic growth, but also the fiscal position.
Another notable downside risk to both global and domestic growth is outbreak of the coronavirus in China around January 2020. This has been declared as a global health emergency. In an attempt to contain the spread of the novel coronavirus pneumonia, the Chinese authorities have ordered city lockdowns and extended holidays, of course, at the expense of near- term economic growth, according to the new Stanbic Bank Botswana report.
According to Nomura Holdings Inc., fewer migrant workers returned for work than in previous years and business activities have been slow to pick up. The havoc wreaked by the virus on the world’s second largest economy is likely to spill over to the global economy. In fact, it has resulted in a glut in crude oil and, thereby placed oil markets into a contango, i.e., a market structure where near-term prices trade at a discount to future contracts.
It also presents significant risks one of Botswana’s main drivers of economic growth, diversification and foreign exchange earnings. According to the Financial Times (February 13, 2020), Chinese tourists spent $130 billion overseas in 2018. Regardless of whether the growth materializes, the projected domestic growth rate would not transform the economy to a high-income one.
Progress towards reduction of unemployment, to a target of single digit, and poverty and achieving inclusive growth has also been relatively slow, the Stanbic Bank Botswana Review says.
Ministry of Presidential Affairs, Governance and Public Administration (MOPAGPA) has through the Office of the President (OP) proposed to avail Orapa House for use by private training institutions as well as research institutions involved in the area of technology development.
For a very long time the monumental building located in the heart of the city has been a white elephant, despite government purchasing it for nearly P80 million from De Beers in 2012.
However, government has now identified a productive use for the iconic building. “The overall vision is for the building to be transformed into a hub for digital technology research and development to be carried-out by institutions, such as; Limkokwing University, BIUST, BITRI and other relevant stakeholders.”
The decision was taken as government traverse a new path of transforming the economy from a mineral led economy to a knowledge based economy through the promotion of research and innovation. However, the facility will need major maintenance to be carried-out in order to meet the requirements of the proposed change in use.
“The work will include provision of laboratories, work stations, production areas and seminar rooms; audio visual centre, high speed internet connectivity, exhibition areas and offices,” reads the proposal note for the development.
These developments will be done through the refurbishment and maintenance of the main building, workshop, and ablution block, gate house, parking area, grounds, and access control and security service.
“There will be minimal modifications to the structure as it stands. The project is estimated to cost approximately P50, 000, 000,” says the report. In this regard, it is said, the initial scope of the OP facility will be modified to accommodate the envisaged digital technology research and development hub.
With funds needed to improve the building, OP has requested that; “the 2020/21 annual budget provision for Orapa House will need to be increased by P37,500,000 from P2,500,000 to P40,000,000 to kick start the maintenance works.” Funds will be sourced from the projects that have been delayed due to Covid-19 protocols during the 2020/21 financial year.
The building has been a thorny issue for government for years. Initially, OP was expected to move there but the move never materialised. At one point it was a question of whether the Office of the President and the Ministry of Finance and Economic Development were planning to override a decision by Parliament which rejected the proposal to buy Orapa House under the belief that government may be buying its own property. The building was to be bought at a negotiated cost of P79 million.
Again in 2012, Government had wanted to buy Orapa House for a negotiated P79m but the Finance and Estimates Committee of Parliament had rejected the request because of the inconsistencies realised in the supporting documents of the proposed procurement. The valuation of the building was put at P74 million.
The Ministry of Lands and Housing had initially offered De Beers P73, 000,000 as the purchase price. However, De Beers countered with P85, 000,000. On negotiation and converging of the minds, the selling price was finally agreed at P79, 000,000.
Auditor General, Pulane Letebele, has expressed discontentment at the worrying and deteriorating state of brigades in the country.
In an audit inspection which was carried out at Tshwaragano Brigade in Gabane, a number of observations showed weaknesses and shortcomings in the conduct of the financial affairs of the institution.
According to Letebele’s report, former students of the brigade had been engaged to carry out maintenance works on the school premises, comprising of painting, tiling, plumbing and electrical works, which covered the period from July 2017 to June 2018.
Although the agreed maintenance period had elapsed, the works had not been completed because of unavailability of funds and this situation had persisted up till the time of inspection in November 2019.
Auditor General says arrangements should have been made in time for funds to be available to complete these relatively minor works even before the works commenced.
Various contractors had been engaged for clearing the bush and for the supply of concrete stones, pit and river sand and hiring equipment for digging the trench towards the construction of an auto mechanics workshop, the report said.
It stated that the cost of services and supplies provided totalled P117 949.80. However, despite the services and the supplies having been paid for, the construction works had not commenced for a long period afterwards, resulting in the trench filling back in.
The audit inquiries had not elicited satisfactory responses as both the institution and the Ministry had not accepted the responsibility for the project, although orders for the provision for the supplies had been made. For their part, the Ministry had stated that they had sub warranted funds for the purchase of porta cabins.
Letebele indicated that it is therefore confusing that a project which is critical to the functioning of an institution such as this one would commence without a well-defined plan.
Furthermore, the accounting and maintenance of records for the supplies items were not of the standard prescribed by the Supplies Regulations and Procedures in that the supplies ledger cards, the main accounting records for Government assets, were not properly maintained for the recording of receipts and issues.
This had resulted in significant discrepancies between physical and ledger balances, while in other instances the supplies items had not been recorded at all.
The report says 24 of the 91 new computers found in the computer laboratory at Kumakwane ABC campus were not recorded anywhere, as were the other computers in the storeroom which could not be counted due to the disorderly storage conditions.
The institution had entered into a contract agreement with a security company for the provision of security services at Tshwaragano Brigade, ABC and Horticulture campuses at Kumakwane for a 2-year period which ended in June 2018, WeekendPost learnt.
After the contract expired in June 2018, an extension was granted till the 30th September 2018. Since then, there has been no security service coverage for the institution to-date. According to Auditor General, in the face of prevailing crimes, it is of paramount importance that government properties be protected by provision of security services at all times.
At Tlokweng Brigade, it was noted that the kitchen staff were working under difficult conditions as the kitchen facilities and equipment, such as the cold room, tilting pot, food warmers and solar power for hot water were dysfunctional. The kitchen roof was leaking and men’s restrooms was not working. All these need to be brought to a reasonable and functional state of repair.
The kitchen staff should use a purpose-designed Rations Ledger for the recording of receipts and issues of foodstuffs to reflect the usage of those items. As far back as 2014 the Department of Buildings and Engineering Services had found that the house occupied by the bursar was uninhabitable on account of structural defects, the report said.
A site visit during the audit had established that the house was indeed unfit for occupation as there were cracks on the walls, power switches were not working and the roof was leaking. On a sadder note, there were a number of finished items of clothing, such as dresses, shirts, and jackets from students’ practical exercises from the Fashion Design Textiles Workshop.
Auditor General shared her take on this, saying: “I have not been able to ascertain the policy on the disposal of products from these practicals. A trace of 103 green acid-proof overalls which had been purchased in August 2018 had indicated that there was no record of these items having been recorded or issued, nor were they available in stock. I was not able to obtain any explanation for this situation.”
Kgatleng brigade was also audited and inspected by Auditor General who observed that the brigade has 26 institutional houses at Bokaa, both old campus and new campus. Some of these houses are very old and dilapidated, with two declared uninhabitable. The condition of the houses is a clear indication of lack of care and maintenance of these properties.
At the time of the audit, there was no contractor engaged for the provision of security guard services at the new campus, after expiry of the previous one in July 2019. It is hoped that steps would be taken to safeguard the security of the premises and government properties against any acts of hooliganism.
In August 2019, there was a break-in at the electrical and at the plumbing maintenance workshops and a number of high value items, such as drilling machines, bolt cutters, spanners and cables, were stolen. The break-in and theft were reported to the police.
“However, at the time of writing this report I was not aware of the outcome of the police investigation, nor of any loss report submitted in terms of the Supplies Regulations and Procedures,” Letebele said.