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…CMB joins the dots…

Capital Management Botswana (CMB) has since entering into an agreement with Botswana Public Officers Pension Fund (BPOPF) through the Botswana Opportunity Partnership (BOP) gained P27 million as management fees, “this is what my clients were paid for the wonderful job they were doing in making investments in behalf of the BPOPF,” declared the CMB attorney, Gabriel Kanjabanga.

Kanjabanga observed that he is puzzled by the narrative and smear campaign that there is some money missing and assets that cannot be traced. He said the CMB directors are confident that they made wise decisions in investing P450 million on behalf of the BPOPF, “note that it is P450 million and not P477 million,” he said.

According to Kanjabanga, the Statutory Manager has also acknowledged the presence of these assets, “the only problem is that he attaches a zero value to them in his report which was filed before the courts recently.” But what put the spanner into the works is the fact that the said assets have been disposed and BPOPF accepted a P50 million payout from CMB, which was proceeds of the disposal.

Asked what informed the decision to dispose the assets, Kanjabanga said everything was done in the spirit of the contract under the BOP, “…the General Partner shall be entitled, and hereby irrevocably authorized by the Defaulting Limited Partner, to dispose of the Defaulting Limited partner’s interest in Botswana Opportunity Partnership to one or more third parties at such price and on such terms and conditions as the General Partner, in its sole and absolute discretion, deems fit, provided that the General Partner first offers such interest, at the same price and on the same terms, first to the non-Defaulting Limited Partners pro rata to their respective Capital Commitments and then (if any interest remains) to the non-defaulting Fund LPs of any parallel Fund pro rata to their respective capital commitments…”

But there is a twist in the whole CMB and BPOPF tussle, with each party claiming to have removed the other from the BOP hence rendering the contract ‘nullified’. CMB says it removed BPOPF from the BOP on 30 October 2017 while BPOPF says it removed the CMB from the BOP in December 2017. This means that in spite of the BPOPF scoring a legal victory recently at the Court of Appeal as far as the appointment of a statutory manager is concerned, there could be protracted legal battles to follow.

This came about as a result of BPOPF defaulting on the contract, “my clients notified BPOPF CEO, Boitumelo Molefhe several times in writing on the acts of default but she never responded,” said Kanjabanga. On the other hand BPOPF also points to CMB falling short of honouring the agreement because it failed to furnish them with periodical reports.

While BPOPF is communicating a plan to ‘recover’ assets that were bought by the CMB on their behalf, the latter is bemused as to “why the search and recovery, because all assets are in public view and it well known where they are. They were given share certificates for the investments.”   This week the Statutory Manager, Peter Collins wrote to CMB asking to meet the directors but they rebuffed him urging to put all that he wants in writing because “my clients have a bad experience with requests that are made verbal,” said Kanjabanga.

Commenting on the P27 million pula management fees accrued by CMB, Kanjabanga indicated that the money is 1% of the total drawdown. While he states that CMB wants an amicable solution to the current impasse, Kanjabanga pointed out that “arbitration could be the most viable option.” He said the BOP agreement provides for arbitration, “we have offered this even before the litigation started,” he said. Adding a voice on the criminal investigation against CMB and its directors, Kanjabanga said there is nothing criminal that his clients have done, all evidence is there for all to see, “if they had anything on them, they would have charged them by now,” he said.

On losing the statutory manager matter at the Court of Appeal, Kanjabanga said he does not agree with the judgement because it was not based on facts but rather on “what ifs”. He said “there is no financial crime, corruption, diversion of investment or money for personal intent, nothing,” said Kanjabanga in defense of his clients. Asked if they are willing to hand over the assets to BPOPF, Kanjabanga said they are not averse to that “as long as things are done according to the law and in the spirit of the agreement.”  

One of the CMB directors, Rapula Okaile could also stress on the P27 million management fees, which he said was indeed 1% of the total drawdown paid on an annual basis. “That is the money that ran the operations of the company such as paying salaries. This is not BPOPF money, and whatever we did with it after the drawdown should not be a concern to outside interests,” he stated.

WHAT CAUSED THE FRICTION?

Weekend Post has gathered that boardroom politics led to the fall out between BPOPF and CMB. Suggestions are that at one point the BPOPF wanted to raise its total commitment from P500 million to P880 million because things were going smooth between the two. At one point the BPOPF ECO, Molefhe wanted to know if it was possible for CMB to be a wholly citizen owned company, at the time Timothy Marsland, a South African, was co-director with Rapula Okaile.

Whilst this debate was ongoing another hot potato erupted around the BPOPF’s shares in Mascom, with some calling for it to be sold, but Rapula was against the idea. Those close to Rapula claim that this could be what broke the camel’s back because the BPOPF, CMB relationship deteriorated further during this showdown.

THE BPOPF POSITION

In light of the appointment, BPOPF CEO Boitumelo Molefhe told Weekend Post in an interview this week following a press briefing in Gaborone that Collins has taken charge and BPOPF is banking on him to direct way forward. “We are now going to be guided by CMB new Statutory Manager Peter Collins; he is a very important and key person going forward for all of us,” Molefhe said.

She emphasised that “Collins is going to make recommendations for all of us and they will be looked at by Non-Bank Financial Institutions Regulatory Authority (NBFIRA) and if they agree with them they will be implemented.” The BPOPF CEO also said Collins will lead investigation into a proper inquiry on how they lost close to 500 million pula of pensioner’s funds that was invested in CMB.

“We need a proper inquiry (that will be led by Collins) into how on earth this whole thing happened and that are we likely to receive the lost assets, and which one, including finding out if we can recover further assets beyond Okavango Wilderness and Cell city,” Molefhe highlighted.

QUOTE – THE CONTRACT SAYS:

, “…the General Partner shall be entitled, and hereby irrevocably authorized by the Defaulting Limited Partner, to dispose of the Defaulting Limited partner’s interest in Botswana Opportunity Partnership to one or more third parties at such price and on such terms and conditions as the General Partner, in its sole and absolute discretion, deems fit, provided that the General Partner first offers such interest, at the same price and on the same terms, first to the non-Defaulting Limited Partners pro rata to their respective Capital Commitments and then (if any interest remains) to the non-defaulting Fund LPs of any parallel Fund pro rata to their respective capital commitments…”

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State forged Kgosi’s arrest warrant

22nd July 2021
FORMER DIS BOSS: ISAAC KGOSI

In a classic and shocking case of disgrace and dishonour to this country, the law enforcement agencies are currently struggling to cover up a damaging and humiliating scandal of having conspired to forge the signature of a Palapye Chief Magistrate, Rebecca Motsamai in an unlawful acquisition of the much-publicised 2019 warrant of arrest against Isaac Kgosi, the former director of the Directorate of Intelligence Services (DIS).

The cloak-and-dagger arrest was led by the DIS director, Brigadier Peter Magosi supported by the Botswana Police, Botswana Defence Force (BDF), with the Botswana Unified Revenue Services (BURS) which accused Kgosi of tax evasion, in the backseat.

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UDC parties discuss by-elections

22nd July 2021
UDC

Umbrella for Democratic Change (UDC) constituent members are struggling to reach an agreement over the allocation of wards for the imminent ward by-elections across the country.

Despite a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between Umbrella for Democratic Change (UDC), Botswana Patriotic Front (BPF) and Alliance for Progressives (AP) are said to be active, but the nitty-gritties are far from being settled.

The eight bye-elections will be a precursor of a somewhat delayed finalisation of the brittle MoU. The three parties want to draw a plan on how and who will contest in each of the available wards.

This publication has gathered that the negotiations will not be a run off the mill because there is already an impasse between the Botswana Congress Party (BCP) which is a UDC constituent and AP (currently negotiating to join umbrella).

The by-elections joint committee met last week at Cresta President Hotel in a bid to finalise allocation but nothing tangible came out of the gathering, sources say.

The cause of the stalemate according to those close to events, is the Metsimotlhabe Ward which the two parties have set their eyes on.

In 2019, he ward was won by Botswana Democratic Party’s (BDP) Andrew Sebobi who unfortunately died in a tragic accident in February last year.

Sebobi had convincingly won by 1 109 votes in the last elections; and was trailed by Sephuthi Thelo of the UDC trailed him with 631 votes; while Alliance for Progressives’ Innocent Moamogwe got 371 votes.

Thelo is a BCP candidate and as per UDC norm, incumbency prevails meaning that the BCP will contest since they were runners up. On the other hand, AP has also raised its hand for the same.

“AP asked for it on the basis that they have a good candidate but BCP did not agree to that request also arguing they have a better contestant,” one UDC member confided to this publication.

Notwithstanding Metsimotlhabe Ward squabble, it is said the by-election talks are almost a done deal, with Botswana National Front (BNF) tipped to take Boseja South ward in Mochudi East constituency. Botswana Patriotic Front (BPF) will be awarded Tamasane Ward in Lerala/Maunatlala constituency, sources say.

“But the agreement has to be closed by National Executive Committee (NEC),” emphasized the informant.

The NEC is said to have been cautioned not to back the wrong horse but rather rate with reason and facts.

UDC President, Duma Boko has told this publication that, “allocation is complete with two wards already awarded but with only one yet to be finalized,” he could not dwell into much details as to which party got what and the reasons for the delay in finalisation.

Chairperson of the by-elections committee, Dr. Phenyo Butale responded to this publication regarding the matter: “As AP we contested and as you may be aware we signed the MoU with UDC and BPF to collaborate on bye-elections. The opposition candidate for all bye-elections will be agreed by these parties and that process is still ongoing,” he said when asked if AP is interested on the ward and how far with the talks on bye-elections.

Butale, a former Gaborone Central Member of Parliament, who is also AP Secretary General continued to say, “As the chairperson of the bye-elections committee we are still seized with that matter. We should also do some consultations with the local structures. Once the process is complete we will issue a notice for now we cannot talk about the other two while the other is still pending the other one”.

Butale further clarified: “There is no such thing as AP and BCP not in agreement. It is an issue of signatories discussing and determining the opposition candidates across the three wards.”

Apart from the three wards, there are five more council wards that UDC is yet to allocate to cooperating partners.

FROM PALAPYE MEET: BPP CAUTION NEC MEMBERS  

With the UDC cheerful from last weekend’s meeting in Palapye, the meeting however was very tense on the side of both BCP and BNF, with only BPP flexing its muscle and even lashing out.

BCP going into the meeting, had promised to ask difficult questions to the UDC NEC.

BCP VP and also acting Secretary General, Dr. Kesitegile Gobotswang, presented their qualms which were addressed by UDC Chairperson Motlatsi Molapisi, informants say.

It is said Molapisi is fed up and concerned by some UDC members especially those in the NEC who ‘wash party’s dirty linen in public’.

Insiders say the veteran politician cautioned the NEC members that they “will not expel any party but individuals who tarnish the image of the UDC.”

It is not the first time BPP play a paternalistic role as it once expressed its discontent with BCP in 2020, saying it should never wash UDC linen in public.

At first it is said, BPP, the oldest political formation in Botswana, claims disappointment on BCP stance that UDC should be democratised especially by sharing their stand with the media. Again, BPP was not happy with BCP leader Dumelang Saleshando’s decision to air his personal views on social media regarding the merger of UDC party.

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DIS infiltrates Police fingerprint system

22nd July 2021
Makgope

Botswana Police Service (BPS) Commissioner, Keabetswe Makgophe, has of late been dousing raging fires from various quarters of society following the infiltration of the police fingerprint system by the Directorate on Intelligence and Security (DIS), WeekendPost has learnt.

Fresh information gleaned from a number of impeccable sources, points to a pitiable working relationship between the two state organs. Cause of concern is the DIS continuous big brother role to an extent that it is now interfering with other institutions’ established mandates.

BPS which works closely with the DIS has been left exasperated by the works of the institution formed in 2008. It is said, the DIS through its Information Technology (IT) experts in collusion with some at BPS forensics department managed to infiltrate the Fingerprint system.

The infiltration, according to those in the know, was for the DIS to “teach a lesson” to some who are on their radar. It is said the DIS is playing and fighting dirty to win the fights they have lost before.

By managing to hack the police finger print system, a number of renowned businessmen and other politically exposed persons found their fingers in the system. What surprised the victims is the fact that they have never been charged of any wrongdoing by the police and they were left reeling in shock to learn that their fingers are on the data-base of criminals.

In fact, some of those who their fingerprints were falsely included in the records of those on the wrong side of law learnt later when other errands demanded their fingerprints.

“We learnt later when we had to submit and buy some documents and we were very shocked,” one politician who is also a businessman confided to this publication this week.

“We then learn that there are some fabricated criminality recorded for us, as to when did we commit those remained secret to the police, but then we had to engage our lawyers on the matter and that is when we were cleared,” said the politician-cum- tenderpreneur.

The lawyers have confirmed engaging the police and that the matters were settled in a gentlemen’s agreement and concluded.

All these happened behind the scenes with the police top brass oblivious only to be confronted by the irked lot, police sources also add. The victimized group who most of them have been fighting lengthy battles with the DIS read malice and did not blink when it was revealed that these were done by the DIS.

“And it was clear that they (DIS) are the ones in this dirty war which we don’t understand. Remember when we sue, it will be the Police at the courts not the DIS and that is why we agreed to a ceasefire more so they also requested that be kept under carpet,” said the victim.

Nonetheless, the Police through its spokesperson Assistant Commissioner, Dipheko Motube, briefly said: “we do not have any system that has been hacked.” On the other hand DIS mouthpiece Edward Robert was not in office this week to comment on the matter.

Reports however say DIS boss, Peter Magosi, who most of the victims accuse of the job, is said to have met his police counterpart Makgophe to put the matter to bed.

COVID-19 RAVAGES POLICE

As frontline workers, Police have not escaped the wrath of Covid-19. Already the numbers of those infected has reached the highest of high and they suggest that they be priorities on vaccine rollout.

“Our job is complicated, firstly we arrest including those who are non-compliant to Covid protocols and we go to accidents and many more. These put us at risk and it seems our superiors are not bothered,” said one police officer this week.

The cops further complain about that working spaces are small, as such expose them to contact the virus.

“Some tests positive and go for quarantine while the rest of the unit will be left without even test carried out. If at all the bosses are serious all the police officers should every now and then be subjected to testing or else we will be no more because of the virus,” added another officer based in Gaborone.

The government has since placed teachers on the priority list for the vaccines, it remains to be seen whether the police, who also man road blocks, will be considered.

“But our bosses should convince the country leadership about this, if not then we are doomed,” concluded a more senior officer.

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