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.
Despite the government of Botswana’s ambition to have one of its own to lead Southern Africa Development Community (SADC) since its establishment in 1980, the Presidency says there is no budget specifically dedicated to the campaign.
The Government has released the name of Permanent Secretary to the President, Elias Mpedi Magosi, as the candidate for the SADC Executive Secretary position. Magosi is expected to face off with Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) candidate, Faustin Mukela. The position will become vacant in August this year.
However, despite the optimism the Botswana Government has not yet set aside a budget to assist Magosi to win against the seemingly DRC giant. “We all know that the COVID-19 pandemic has negatively affected the country’s ability to effectively fund any new project. This campaign is not an exception. As such, we do not have any budget for the campaign. However, we have so far managed to take advantage of His Excellency the President’s working visits to the neighbouring countries to also carry out the campaigns,” Press Secretary to the President, Batlhalefi Leagajang, explained.
Botswana has housed SADC since the establishment of the then SADCC in 1980, but has never occupied top most leadership positions at the SADC Secretariat. “We therefore, strongly believe that we should also have an opportunity to contribute to the management of our regional body as it continues to drive the important issues of regional integration industrialization and socio-economic development.
This will also profile Botswana as a strong advocate of regional integration,” he responded to this publication’s questionnaire as to why the Government wants to occupy the plum post. SADC is a Member State driven organization. As such, Leagajang said, needs a well-grounded Executive Secretary with a blend of management and leadership acumen; a transformational leader with political awareness and integrity; private and public sector experience; a deep culture of corporate governance; as well as strategic agility and result-oriented consummate diplomat.
“These are the unique attributes of our candidate,” he said. So far President Mokgweetsi Masisi has visited nine out of 16 SADC member states on a working visit and also taking an opportunity to present to them his candidate.
“The countries have appreciated this effort and we remain hopeful. However, it is important to note that this is a democratic and competitive process which must be respected,” he responded when asked about the reception and assurances from various countries to cast a vote for Magosi.
In 2018, when Pelonomi Venson-Moitoi challenged for the Africa Union (AU) Chairperson, the government appointed former President Festus Mogae to be the campaign leader. Does the Government have anyone apart from Masisi to help with the campaign?
“The campaigns for the candidate are strictly led by the Government of Botswana. Since this is a candidate for Botswana, not just the Government, it will be appreciated if all Batswana, including the media, could also shoulder the responsibility to campaign for the candidate in their own spheres of influence,” Leagajang responded.
While there are sceptics on Magosi winning against the DRC man, the Government is confident and believes that with the unique traits that he possess, Magosi stands a chance. He is said to be a strong advocate of justice and fairness as he has played this role in his current role as PSP and in his previous roles as PS and in the private sector. He has helped individuals and companies to find justice and fairness in most of their dealings with Government.
Magosi is also said to be a proponent of corporate governance and which he has relentlessly pursued in most of his career including in Government and other sectors. A strong believer in following laid down procedures and laws. “He carries a variety of skills as an HR expert with experience in different sectors, a strategist and an Organization development specialist.
His experience and exposure spans government, parastatal, private sector and at regional level as well, thus making him a suitable candidate for the regional role. He has worked with governments, businesses, development partners and politicians and is comfortable navigating through all of them,” Leagajang concluded.
The Minister of Land Management, Water and Sanitation Services, Kefentse Mzwinila looked a politician set to shoot the moon as he laid bare his billions of pula development agenda recently in Parliament.
His Ministry’s combined Recurrent and Development Budget Proposals for the 2021/ 2022 Financial Year is pegged at Four Billion, Three Hundred and Sixty – Five Million, two Hundred and Nineteen Thousand, Five Hundred and Sixty Pula (P4, 365, 219, 560). This is a budget 38.3% more than the allocation for the 2020/2021 Financial Year.
Mzwinila preluded his request to parliament with a demonstration that his Ministry has no champagne taste on a beer budget – indicating that his ministry’s expenditure at the end of February 2021P2.111 Billion or 96% of development budget; and P910 million or 90% of the recurrent budget.
Notwithstanding the budget dust, the Minister justified this year’s increase in the Ministry’s total budget. He attributed the escalation to the commencement of major projects under the water sector. These include the implementation of the North South Carrier (NSC) 22.2 covering various sub projects. Mzwinila noted that these are all public value projects which are aimed at improving the lives of Batswana.
Mzwinila’s Ministry has projected that the sum of Nine Hundred and Sixty –Three Million, Nine Hundred and Forty – Seven Thousand, Five Hundred and Sixty Pula (P963, 947, 560) be permitted for the Recurrent Budget and stand part of the 2021 / 2022 Appropriation Bill ( No. 1 of 2021).
“55% of the Recurrent Budget is geared towards the Revenue Support Grant for 12 Land Boards and their subordinate authorities while the sum of P5 Million is allocated to the Real Estate Advisory Council (REAC). The remaining 44% is proposed for the Ministry Departments.”
The sum of Three Billion, Four Hundred and One Million, Two hundred and Seventy –Two Thousand Pula (P3, 401, 272, 000), for the Development Budget was approved and stand part of the same schedule of the appropriation (2021/2022).
When breaking down the Development Budget, Minister Mzwinila noted that Water Supply and Sanitation projects will account for P1.098 Billion to finance the Maun Water and Sanitation project, Molepolole Sanitation projects and the Shakawe Water Treatment Plant Rehabilitation.
With all the implementation bottlenecks troubling several projects in the country, Mzwinila had to satisfy the question of whether his Ministry demonstrated a dire need for the budget with reference to its execution of the budget for the financial year 2020/2021 and its delivery of strategic initiatives and projects?
Mzwinila’s pitch found favour with parliament and his ministry will get an aggregate budget of P3.198 Billion for the 2020/ 2021 Financial Year. Within this allocation, P2.188 Billion is for the Development Budget and P1.010 Billion will cover the Recurrent Budget.
The Minister revealed his strategic interventions for land management, water and sanitation services. Highlighting that efforts by Government to provide serviced residential land to citizens on the waiting list are being hampered by limited resources. He shared that his ministry needs P94 Billion to cover such costs which will directly link to water, sewage, roads, electricity, telecommunications and storm water drainage leading to the allocation of 4 587 plots on un-serviced land.
The minister projected that 22 952 un-serviced residential plots are planned to be allocated in the next financial year. However, there is a trend where allocated land remains fallow and undeveloped which raises misgivings that the requests could have been made on speculative plans.
Mzwinila noted that in the spirit of forging stronger International connections, the Ministry will in June 2021 sign a Memorandum of Understanding on Land matters between Namibia and Botswana with the aim of opening doors to the creation of Dry Ports in the country, facilitate international trade through Walvis Bay Sea Port.
Botswana is already challenged by scarcity of naturally occurring water resources due to the aridity of the country creating persistent water shortages. The type of infrastructure required to improve national water security is a true reflection of intensive investment needed in the water sector The Minister stressed.
“An emerging issue such as the COVID -19 pandemic poses serious challenges as the control of the virus requires reliable water supply. In an effort to mitigate the challenge, the Ministry has undertaken extensive bowsing throughout the country which included the provision of additional capacity for supplementary bowsing to areas with pervasive water shortages, plus an additional forty one (41) un-gazetted settlements.
Operational costs due to bowsing were at an average of P6 Million per month before the COVID-19 pandemic and increased to an unsustainable amount of the order of P13 Million per month, since the beginning of the State of Emergency in April 2020,” the minister shared.
Through the support of a World Bank Loan, the Ministry is implementing several initiatives under the Botswana Emergency Water Security and Efficiency (BEWSE) project. Through BEWSE the Raw Water Pricing and Abstraction Strategy will assess the pricing of water in a manner that enables the provision of water to support new economic development, the strategy is planned to be completed in June 2021.
The Ministry has commenced the development of a long term National Water Security Strategy to improve resilience to climate change impacts. The strategy development entails prioritization of the proposed future mega water transfers such as the Chobe – Zambezi water transfer, the Atlantic Ocean water transfer to Botswana through Namibia and Lesotho – Botswana water transfer.
Following the signing of the tripartite Memorandum of Agreement (MoA) between Botswana, Lesotho and South Africa in November 2017 for the Lesotho –Botswana Water Transfer project, a 24 months contract for a combined prefeasibility and feasibility study for the development of a bankable Lesotho – Botswana Water Transfer project feasibility study was signed and is to be completed in 2022.
One of the Ministry’s famous major water supply projects such as the North South Carrier (NSC) 2.2 has experienced hiccups; having tenders for contract 1 (Masama to Mmamashia Pipeline) and Contract 2 (Mahalapye to Masama Pipeline) cancelled due to budgetary constraints.
The Botswana Climate Change policy draft of 2021 was tabled in Parliament by the Minister of Environment, Natural Resources Conservation and Tourism, Philda Kereng for consideration and adoption.
The policy attempts to indicate the country’s environmentally conscious development agenda as Substantial resources are being dedicated to research and policy efforts to mitigate climate change and support adaptation to the current and future impacts of greenhouse gas emissions.
Kereng indicated that Botswana is not immune to the impacts of climate change and it continues to delay the country’s national development efforts and that the key economic development sectors dependent on the climate system have recorded declines over the years due to the variability of the rainfall and other climatic conditions. Experts elsewhere have pointed out that lack of consideration of population dynamics hampers the development of stronger, more effective solutions to the challenges climate change poses – hopefully this policy if effectively implemented could partly answer this question.
Kereng underscored that sectors such as agriculture, water, bio diversity, health and tourism have suffered the most and the consequences of these have contributed significantly to the decline of livelihoods in Botswana especially in rural areas.
To respond to the changing climate, Botswana has embarked on sectoral reform such as climate smart agriculture, poverty alleviation initiatives, building resilience on the economic productive sectors, diversification of tourism for the improvement of livelihoods and income generation, local economic development and sustainable environment.
The efforts require a coordinated mechanism that will provide an enabling environment for an integrated approach to the formulation and implantation of development plans and socio economic related policies in Botswana that are responsive to the changing climatic conditions.
Minister Kereng explained the draft policy is characterized by an inclusive and integrated approach to social, economic development and governance modalities that would enable the country to achieve a sustainable development pathway. It provides opportunities for improved livelihoods through creation of green jobs, development and transfer of relevant technologies as well as creation and ease of access to both local and international markets. It also commits the government, private sector and non-state actors to adopt adaptation and mitigation measures that would facilitate sustainability and building of resilience of all sectors.
While Members of Parliament were trying to comprehend the policy, this publication got in touch with Green Botswana to solicit their views on the policy draft. Ms. Sela Motshwane, the Founder of the Trust highlighted that “the Climate Change policy was meant to be read in August 2019. It is long overdue, and we all need to see it and understand it in full.
I understand the current budget does not allow for a full implementation- but I could be wrong. More funds could have been allocated since. I think generally, Batswana need to understand fully what this means to our daily lives. I believe the true understanding is by policy drafters and the Ministry of Environment only.”
In the same vein, Green Botswana Trust took to the streets to provide a community solution to climate change on World Health Day (Wednesday). Green Botswana held a “Free Trees for Babies” at Extension 2 Clinic where fruit trees were gifted to parents, expectant mothers, 25 health workers, police officers and the prison officers who had accompanied prisoners to the clinic.
Motshwane said: “The decision to do the “Free Trees for Babies” by gifting fruit trees was to raise awareness to our imminent food security issue as stated by the Deputy Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Agricultural Development and Food Security, Mr. Thabang Botshoma and encourage the general public to plant a tree so that we can reach our SGD Goal 13 : Climate Action. The trees gifted are to be named after the baby recipient”.
Green Botswana is calling for the urgent action from government and members of the public to create a culture of community accountability and collegiality in moving Botswana towards climate action and sustainability. To achieve the 2030 Paris Agreement Pledge, it will take all citizens and not just the government to reach goals.
Parliament resolved to adopt the Botswana Climate Change Policy, 2021.