Capital Management Africa and Rapula Okaile have filed papers with the High Court opposing the liquidation proceedings against Capital Management Botswana (CMB). They want the court to rescind and set aside the final winding order issued on 18th of September 2018.
The tussle between the two entities is said to be motivated by the urge to regain assets which are estimated at a value of close to P477 million. Shareholders of CMB are accusing Non-Bank Financial Institution Regulatory Authority and Botswana Public Officers Pension Fund (BPOPF) of using false information to motivate the court to liquidate CMB.
There has been numerous court battles relating to Capital Management Botswana (Pty) Ltd (CMB), the Non-banking Financial Services Regulatory Authority (NBFIRA); the Botswana Public Officers Pension Fund (BPOPF), and Bona Life (Pty) Ltd (Bona). The matter involved a process instituted collectively by NBFIRA, BPOPF and Bona to place CMB under statutory management. The appointment of statutory manager Peter Collins was rejected by the High Court but subsequently the Appeal Court confirmed the Collins’s appointment.
Non-Bank Financial Institution Regulatory Authority and Capital Management Botswana (CMB) are first and second respondents respectively. Okaile has a 25% shareholding in CMB which he says justifies his joining in of the liquidation proceedings; on the other hand CMA is also a shareholder in CMB with a 75% stake.
NBFIRA brought the liquidation proceedings against CMB. “I am advised by my attorneys which advise I verily believe that in terms of the Section 166 of the Companies Act, the court in an application by shareholders of a company may grant leave to intervene and or join legal proceedings in which the company is involved,” writes Okaile.
“…we as shareholders of the 2nd respondent wish to be permitted to intervene and join the said proceedings and oppose the liquidation of the 2nd Respondent.” Okaile states that as shareholders of CMB and also respondents to the petition they have a direct interest in the liquidation proceedings hence their move to join the proceedings.
Okaile and CMA say they wish to intervene and be joined as co-respondents in the liquidation proceedings to oppose the proceedings on the basis that once the 2nd Respondent/ Respondent which as per the petition has been placed on statutory management and the statutory manager has compiled his reports and is done with statutory management, there is therefore no basis whatsoever to liquidate the 2nd Respondent/ Respondent.
According to the petition, the basis of the winding up order is basically that the Respondent (CMB) is insolvent and it is unable to pay its debts and its liabilities exceed its assets, and that there are no prospects that the Respondents will be restored to solvency within a reasonable period.
“I dispute and deny that the respondent is insolvent. I would aver that the Respondent owns a block of flats whose market value is P14 million, as shown by the valuation report…I also dispute and deny that even supposing without conceding that the Respondent was insolvent, that it cannot be restored to solvency within reasonable period…I dispute and deny that the CMB is even if it was there, it would have provided sufficient grounds for the liquidation of the Respondent as a suit is simply a suit and not a debt and it cannot be ground for liquidation,” writes Okaile.
Okaile narrates that the basis upon which the liquidation is alleged to be made is patently false and goes on to indicate that the petitioner has failed to demonstrate as to why it is alleged that there are no prospects that CMB could be restored to solvency within a reasonable time.
Okaile denies claims that CMB has rental arrears; further says the company does not have any employees because they were dismissed way back in April 2018 by the Statutory Manager. According to Okaile, the statutory manager has never made an attempt to demand for recapitalization of CMB, “should such a demand for capitalization have been made, the Applicants would have made an effort to do so.”
In another matter that Okaile denies, “The Respondent does not owe Lobatse Clay Works (Pty) Ltd and Yarona Media Holdings (Pty) Ltd P60 million and P17 million respectively. The monies alleged as debts are monies which the Botswana Opportunities Partnership (BOP) comprising of CMB and BPOPF were to invest in the said companies. These are not debts but proposed investments that the BOP and not the Respondent were to make in the said companies.” Okaile writes that the investments were not made because the partners in the BOP fell out.
THE BACKGROUND TO THE DISPUTE – ACCORDING TO PETER COLLINS
“CMB was appointed by BOP as its fund manager and CMB, in its capacity as General Partner delegated responsibility for the management of BOP to CMB in its capacity as fund manager. BPOPF made a capital commitment1 to contribute up to BWP500,000,000 to BOP. In 2015 and 2016 various drawdown notices were issued to BPOPF by CMB on behalf of BOP for the purpose of investing in certain identified private equity investments and for agreed fund expenses and fees. BPOPF duly paid the aforesaid drawdown notices amounting in aggregate to some BWP470,000,000.00.
On 24th August 2017, BPOPF notified CMB that it was in breach of the BOP Agreement, and demanded an explanation from CMB and rectification of various issues, arising out of the BOP Agreement. On 20th September 2017 a drawdown notice was issue by CMB for an amount of BWP77,000,000.00 (“Disputed Notice”) for the purchase of shares in Lobatse Clay Works (Proprietary) Limited and Yarona Media Holdings (Proprietary) Limited.
BPOPF refused to pay and contended that the Disputed Notice was not binding on BPOPF. They asserted that their refusal to comply with the Disputed Notice did not result in an actionable breach of the BOP Agreement, because inter alia: The amount requested in the Disputed Notice exceeded the Capital Commitment made by BPOPF to BOP. The Disputed Notice was not a Drawdown Notice as defined in the BOP Agreement.”
Peter Collins is of the view that the Disputed Notice gave insufficient notice to BPOPF. He sates in the letter that the BPOPF's Capital Commitment, as set out in the Deed of Adherence, was BWP500,000,000. Further stating that the total disbursed drawdowns from notices issued by CMB totalled some BWP470,000,000. As at the date of the Disputed Notice, BPOPF's undrawn Capital Commitment was therefore BWP30,000,000 or thereabouts.
“The total amount that the General Partner sought to draw down in terms of the Disputed Notice was BWP77,000,000.2 This exceeded the available Capital Commitment available. As noted above, the BOP Agreement prohibits drawdowns of amounts from any Partner in excess of their Capital Commitment. The Disputed Notice was therefore invalid because it purported to draw down more capital than was available.
There were discussions, in 2016, between BPOPF and CMB about BPOPF potentially increasing its capital commitment. BPOPF advised CMB, in a letter dated 22 November 2016, that BPOPF had allocated P380,000,000 to BOP but the allocation was expressly conditional upon receipt by BPOPF of a reconciliation of the funds drawn so far, proof of payment of 1% contribution by CMB and a full accounting for BPOPF's capital invested in the BOP Fund.
CMB never contributed the Limited Partner's 1% capital contributions that it had agreed to contribute3 nor did CMB provide the requested reconciliation and accounting. BPOPF's conditional allocation did not therefore ever become an actual commitment by virtue of failure of the suspensive conditions aforesaid. The Disputed Notice did not meet the definition of a Drawdown Notice contained in the BOP Agreement.4 As noted above, "Drawdown Notice" is defined as a notice in substantially the form of Schedule 5 to the BOP Agreement (the "Prescribed Form").
I have also reviewed the documentation relating to the purported removal of BPOPF by CMB as Limited Partner. The documentation reveals that on the 19 October 2017, CMB sent a letter to BPOPF, which purported to be a notice of default. CMB advised that it would proceed to declare BPOPF to be a Defaulting Limited Partner if BPOPF did not pay the Drawndown Amount set out in the Disputed Notice.
On 30 October 2017, BPOPF responded noting that the Disputed Notice was invalid and that BPOPF was therefore not in breach of its obligations under the BOP Agreement. On 28 November 2017, the Advisory Board of BOP exercised its powers under the BOP Agreement5 to remove CMB as the General Partner. Notice was given by BPOPF to CMB of said removal on 1 December 2017.
On 11 December 2017, CMB responded to BPOPF advising that BPOPF's interests in BOP had been sold on for BWP50,000,000.00. CMB did not name the party which had purchased that interest. I have since established that that the payment of P50,000,000 was made out of an account operated by CMB for BOP fiduciary business and not from a third party or from CMB’s own funds.
Peter Collins is of the view that the disposal was accordingly a sham and unlawful for these reasons and for the reasons stated in the agreement I entered into with BPOPF dated 8th August 2018. “You have seen this agreement and you will therefore have read the My decision to enter into the settlement agreement was taken after due deliberation over an extended period while the litigation in both the High Court and Court of Appeal was pending.
I had more than sufficient, objective, uncontradictable evidence at my disposal to come to the conclusion which I did. CMB’s prospects in the arbitration proceedings were not simply dismal, there were no prospects at all on the written demonstrable facts. Lastly, as you are aware, CMB has been now placed under provisional liquidation and the management and control of the affairs of CMB currently vests solely with the provisional liquidator. I suggest that any future enquiries relating to matters of CMB which you may have, be directed to the provisional liquidator,” reads an extended letter from Peter Collins.
BACKGROUND TO THE DISPUTE – ACCORDING TO CMB
“By way of background, BOP’s relationship with the BPOPF was terminated almost a year ago when it proved to be an unreliable partner, it having defaulted on its financial obligations to BOP and the companies that it invested in. The BPOPF’s default had major consequences for a company which BOP intended to invest in, resulting in a loss of some 2000 jobs.
As a consequence of the BPOPF’s default, CMB was obliged in terms of the partnership agreement ruling at the time to seek a new limited partner, which it did, and disposed of the BPOPF’s stake to the highest bidder. The BPOPF waited months before heading to the High Court (on 27 December during the court recess of all things), claiming it was still a limited partner even though it had been paid for its share months prior and kept the money.
The court rejected the BPOPF’s case and pointed out it was supposed to enter arbitration. The BPOPF then waited months again before going the arbitration route, in the interim pushing a massive defamatory media campaign against CMB and working hand in glove with its co-conspirators NBFIRA and Bona Life. Bona Life, which is a company BOP / CMB rescued from insolvency, had blown its capital and wanted more money from the BPOPF.
Thus it found a willing partner in the BPOPF to wage its defamatory war, having been promised a new nest egg in return. Prior to Bona’s management ditching CMB in favour of the BPOPF, CMB had raised numerous awkward governance questions with Bona which no doubt sparked off Bona’s campaign against CMB.
Bona had no “dirt” on CMB, so it made numerous false and defamatory allegations against a CMB sister company (CMBF1), which was not regulated by NBFIRA, working closely with Collins (who was at that point not statutory manager but simply a legal advisor on a deal CMB attempted to broker between CMBF1 and Bona. NBFIRA used Bona’s false claims as an excuse to take over the running of CMB.
All of Bona’s claims were proven to be false. However, the triumvirate succeeded in getting the matter before court. Unsurprisingly, the High Court threw out their case with disdain, but in a peculiar twist, the Appeal Court with ruled in favour of NBFIRA without any lawyers from CMB being present to present their case and delivered its judgment in a matter of days.
Thus NBFIRA (and the BPOPF) was able to assume control over CMB using Collins as statutory manager. In the roughly four weeks that CMB was under statutory management, Collins tossed out the arbitration process (which would have resulted in the true facts being made a matter of record) and entered into a flimsy “settlement agreement” with the BPOPF in terms of which he sought to reverse the sale of the BPOPF’s interest in BOP.
The settlement “agreement” is not worth the paper it is written on. It is an “agreement” between two parties that are not party to, or signatories to, any the legal agreements that underpin BOP. By way of background, CMB was removed by the BOP Advisory Board as the general partner of BOP in mid-January (prior to the commencement of NBFIRA’s shenanigans relating to statutory management). A consequence of that was the automatic cancellation of the BOP partnership agreement and the replacement with a new partnership agreement – in other words, the contracts that the BPOPF was party to no longer exist – and have not for some considerable time.
Thus, Collins, who deliberately chose not to verify this, was unable to reverse the previous contracted sale simply because he had no locus standi to do so. Further, in terms of the settlement “agreement”” the BPOPF has attempted to return the funds it received to the buyer – however the buyer (and new limited partner) has rejected the offer to return the funds and thus remains the lawful limited partner of the BOP.
(For more information please see attached a notice directed to the BPOPF’s lawyers in this regard.) Consequently, neither the BPOPF (nor its company Viltry (Pty) Ltd), have any legal standing with BOP and by extension yourself. They are not entitled to demand, or request, any information from yourself, or to demand, or request and particular action from yourself at all.
For Viltry (or the BPOPF) to attain any legal standing they are required in law to seek declaratory relief from the High Court confirming that their actions and the actions of Collins are valid. Understandably, despite this having been pointed out to them, they have not sought the declaratory relief as they know they will lose – they have no case whatsoever. They are instead again relying on aggressive bullying tactics and their defamatory media campaign to try to gain by deception that which they could not obtain through legal means.
Please be advised that as BOP is a major shareholder in your company, it takes a dim view of the actions of the BPOPF (and Vlitry) and all necessary steps will be taken to safeguard the interests of BOP and yourself. You are requested not to assist the BPOPF nor Viltry in its fraudulent attempt to highjack BOP and its assets. Factually, the BOP is in the process of being dissolved and you will be contacted in due course by the entity appointed for this process for further guidance.
While it takes a lot to penetrate and thrive in the male dominated political space in Botswana, Block 3 Ward councillor Motamma Horatius, is one of the few females defying the odds.
Driven by passion, Horatius has always worn many hats and today she has become one of the few women who are thriving in the political space in Botswana. Prior to pursuing politics, she was an active participated in the creative space.
Horatius, a beauty queen, notably famous for her reign as Miss World Tourism Botswana represented Botswana in a television show famously known as Big Brother Africa. During her stay in the house, she got termed darling of the continent for an outstanding performance that promoted unity, humility and culture.
After serving for some time in public space, and making a name for herself as well as serving as a brand ambassador she decided to step in a career that will forever challenge her. This was after she had travelled the world and demonstrated her unique leadership skills and brilliance.
“I stopped and asked myself why am I not incorporating this brilliance back home. And wherever you go worldwide Botswana with all her faults is a beacon of hope in everything. And even successful countries came here to benchmark and implemented our policies and are flourishing such as Rwanda. So I decided to join active politics and go straight to the ruling party to add a youthful feel to an already existing force and help modernise it to serve better not from afar but from within,” she clarified.
“So my ample experience in civic leadership across countries around the world catapulted me to join active politics because I wondered, if I can do as much as an individual even across nations, how much can I do whilst in office, locally. And I chose to start from the ground up, in order to avoid leaving the locals behind.”
The stern and tenacious young leader, currently sit as the Chairperson of Finance Committee at Gaborone City Council, and also chairs Performance Monitoring Committee.
While a typical girl would dream of becoming either a nurse or choose a ‘girl’ orientated deemed career, she had a heart for politics from a very young age. By the time she left the creative space, she had already made a name for herself, that she needed no introduction.
“I had to acknowledge first that I am a woman, and being a woman means you have to work 200 percent more than your male counterparts. So it took sleeplessness nights, and a massive amount of working smart to win legitimately,” she said.
She acknowledges that she faced a lot of challenges during the 2019 elections which she had to overcome through the assistance of her loved ones and family.
“Politics is expensive but I managed by God’s grace, family, friends, acquaintances and good Samaritans but my mind helped. I am a very good planner when it comes to execution,” she said.
“Another hurdle is, being a young woman, I had conceived during the time of primary elections; so campaigning whilst expectant, managing your emotions through betrayals, insults, stress, house-to-house then giving birth and having to hit the ground in less than two weeks having given birth via C-section, was a hurdle I overcame by God’s mercy and I am thankful to my family for helping me with the kids because politics means a lot of time away from home.”
“Another hurdle was to portray an all rounded culturally grounded Motswana woman soft but yet stern, respectful but can articulate issues well. Because even though we are civilized our society still upholds unwritten yet practiced values of what a woman is and what a man is, and if you defy societal expectations, it judges you harshly. But thankfully I remained focused on who I was and didn’t try alternate anything When I lost some of the original members of my campaign team. The pain was deep. But I wiped my tears. Soldiered on, and God increased twice the initial number.”
At some point she had to face demeaning words from other male contestants, but the best to do at the time was to shun negativity and stay focused. Male intimidation never tugged her down.
“My experience with 2019 elections was rather inclined to learning as it was my first time running for office as a politician, so I wanted to see if really hard work has results because I always hear stories of how people are bought,” she said.
“So since I was not buying anyone, I was on a learning curve to test my hard work style of delivery against what is believed out there. So it was exciting and again I say it was a learning curve as most NGOs fighting to increase women participation in politics were continuously training us.’
Despite everything she feels women political participation in Botswana is still low. She has pleaded with the media to cover them more often as she believes maybe it will help more women to run for office.
Botswana has few women in parliament, giving men dominance in policy decisions. In a 63-seat parliament, Botswana has only seven female MPs, four of them being specially elected lawmakers.
According to the 2019 edition of the biennial Inter-Parliamentary Union (IPU) Map of Women in Politics. Among the top African countries with a high percentage of women in ministerial positions are Rwanda (51.9%), South Africa (48.6%), Ethiopia (47.6%), Seychelles (45.5%), Uganda (36.7%) and Mali (34.4%).
The lowest percentage in Africa was in Morocco (5.6%), which has only one female minister in a cabinet of 18.
Other countries with fewer than 10% women ministers include Nigeria (8%), Mauritius (8.7%) and Sudan (9.5%).Other African countries with high percentages of women MPs include Namibia (46.2%), South Africa (42.7%) and Senegal (41.8%), according to the report.
Though a slight increase, Botswana is still lagging behind when it comes to women political participation.
According to a report made by IEC for the 2019 elections, there is 11.1% women representation in parliament. There has been a 1.6% slight increase from the 2019 election compared to the 2014 elections.
According to United Nations, there are two main obstacles that prevent women from participating fully in political life.
These are structural barriers, whereby discriminatory laws and institutions still limit women’s ability to run for office, and capacity gaps, which occur when women are less likely than men to have the education, contacts and resources needed to become effective leaders.
As it stands though, Botswana has continued to recognize gender equality as central to socio-economic, political and cultural development through its National Vision 2036.
Following the adoption of the National Policy on Gender and Development in 2015, the National Gender Commission was established in September 2016, to monitor implementation of the policy.
Government ministries and departments have moved to cut expenditure in the last quarter of financial year in order to survive the economic hardship occasioned by the covid-19 pandemic. Since the outbreak, Government and the private sector have been hard hit financially due to limited economic activity brought about by government response to fighting the pandemic.
In an urgent savingram by the Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Local Government and Rural Development, Molefi Keaja addressed to all council secretaries and town clerks, the government informs that it is facing unprecedented budgetary challenges for Financial Year 2020/2021.
“This has necessitated measures to be put in place to conserve cash and ensure that government is able to honour its financial obligations in the remaining (3) months of the financial year,” said the savingram dated 24 December 2020.
The Government has cut all travel by Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs) including State owned entities (SOEs) and Local Authorities until the next financial year in April 2021. It has also taken a decision that all meetings, interviews, seminars, workshops, conferences, retreats, annual ceremonies and hospitality events should be conducted virtually, which save on the cost of securing venues, conference facilities and meals/refreshments.
“No replenishment of refreshments for the Executive Cadre (E2 salary scale and above) until the end of the financial year,” Keaja directed. Last year government also resolved that due to the financial effects of Covid-19 the government will no longer recruit for any jobs during the 2020/2021 financial year.
The Cabinet directed that the 2020/2021 provision for vacancies be withdrawn from Ministries, Departments and Agencies recurrent budgets to cater for supplementary estimates. According to the saving gram then by the Directorate on Public Service Management (DPSM) said the country faces fiscal challenges which have been accentuated by the emergence and the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Amongst key ministries and departments affected were the Botswana Defence Force, National Strategy Office, Directorate of Intelligence and Security (DIS), Commissioner of Police, Commissioner of Prisons, Clerk of National Assembly and the Directorate on Corruption & Economic Crime (DCEC).
It further deliberated that all various institutions that had begun recruitment for existing vacant positions be frozen for the remaining period of the 2020/2021 financial year. “Since funds for the vacancies will only be recruited in the next financial year 2020/20121, Ministries, Department and Agencies are advised to discontinue recruitment into such vacancies until 1st April 2021. Those who are already at an advanced stage of recruitment process are advised to withhold appointments until further notice.”
The Director of Directorate on Public Service Management (DPSM), Goitseone Mosalakatane, told the parliamentary Public Accounts Committee (PAC) in September that despite the high unemployment rate, they cannot hire for the posts because part of the funds have been withdrawn to fight the Coronavirus.
With just a few days into the New Year, Covid-19 seems to be taking its toll and its effects will be felt vastly in the long run. Countries worldwide, including Botswana are injecting in millions of money in the fight against the deadly virus therefore placing immense uncertainty on country’s economy.
When delivering his speech at last year’s State of Nation Address President Mokgweetsi Masisi said during 2020, the domestic economy was expected to contract by 8.9 percent indicating that this is attributed to an expected sharp decline in major sectors such as mining, (minus 24.5 percent); trade, hotels and restaurants (minus 27.4 percent); construction (minus 6 percent); manufacturing (minus 3.9 percent); and transport and communications (minus 2.5 percent).
However, he assured that the economy is expected to rebound during 2021, with overall growth projected at 7.7 percent. The anticipated recovery will be driven by a rebound in growth of some major sectors such as mining (14.4 percent), trade, hotels and restaurants (18.8 percent), and transport and communications (4.2 percent).
Furthermore, Masisi pointed out that the recovery will also be supported by the Economic Recovery and Transformation Plan currently being implemented by Government. “It is critical to note that these projections are dependent on, among others, the duration of the COVID-19 pandemic and related restrictions.
These containment measures have the effect of reducing spending by firms and households and causing supply-chain disruptions. Beyond this, the recovery phase will be influenced by confidence effects on households and businesses; sectoral transformation and changes in work patterns; as well as prospects for the recovery of global financial markets and commodity prices.”
Emphasising this, he explained that despite the challenges of COVID-19 there still remains the delicate balance of opening the economy whilst containing the disease burden. “Inflation according to the latest data from Statistics Botswana, inflation fell significantly from 2.2 percent in September 2019 to 1.8 percent in September 2020, remaining below the lower bound of the Bank of Botswana’s medium-term objective range of 3 to 6 percent,” he said.
The significant decline in inflation mainly reflects the downward adjustment in fuel prices in June 2020. However, inflation may rise above the current forecasts if the international commodity prices increase beyond current projections and in the event of upward price pressures occasioned by supply constraints due to travel restrictions and lockdowns.
The Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) last year had to cancel its elective congress due to the strict measures that had to be put in place due to Covid-19 pandemic outbreak.
Two other party events Women’s Wing Congress including the much anticipated victorious election celebration were also postponed due to the pandemic as gatherings were cancelled indefinitely. However the BDP is adamant that the party will be able to hold its National Congress and all other events that had been frozen this year.
Speaking to this publication chairman of BDP Communication & International Relations Sub-Committee Kagelelo Kentse said that the party was readying itself for the congress with the main objective being to review resolutions that were taken at their 38th National Congress in Mochudi in 2019. Emphasising this, Kentse said it was commendable that most of the resolutions taken in 2019 have by far been fulfilled.
Moreover, he said it would mean a lot for the party to be able to meet at the congress, this he said would give them the opportunity to introspect and reflect with regards to their manifesto. In 2019 the BDP made about eleven resolutions of which five of these were resolved and gazetted. The abridged resolutions were that the amendment of the law to allow agricultural land owners to use up to 50 percent of their land for non-core purposes, to amend the law to cancel transfer duty on property transferred between the spouses.
President Masisi also passed a law to allow married couples to be independently allocated land and increase threshold for non-payment of transfer on property acquired from P250k to P750k. On the resolution in the tourism sector, Kentse said efforts are very advanced to have local play a part. He said there is ongoing work with the Ministry of Lands on concessions that will be allocated to citizens.
According to the BDP communications chair the Ministry of Tourism has availed more opportunities in dams for tourism thus far, having already issued expression of interest for Letsibogo, Dikgatlhong, and Gaborone dams. Citizens are said to have applied for tenders which are currently under evaluation. There are about 45 campsites set aside for citizens in game reserves and forest reserves for tourism.
The resolution on the declaration of assets and liabilities law which was passed and amended this year, was supported by all legislators including those from opposition. Emphasising this he explained that contentions were on issues to do with valuations, and leaders have started declaring.
With the Congress comprising of the elective congress, the BDP is yet to embark on it an objective Kentse said is on their to do list this year even though the calendar of events has not yet been made. The elective congress has aroused interest, especially the Secretary General position which has attracted a number of participants of which observers believe will accord the incumbent, Mpho Balopi, the current secretary general, the opportunity to buy time if at all he will seek re-election in the position.