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Mountbatten ordered to share Xigeria Camp with workers

Competition Authority (CA) has on Wednesday given the British Virgin Islands based Mountbatten Limited a thumbs up to take over Great Explorations which owns Xigera Camp under strict conditions that will see the company sharing the safari camp with workers.

After the local anti-trust body analysed all the facts of the Mountbatten-Great Exploration merger and found that “the proposed transaction is not likely to result in the prevention or substantial lessening of competition, or endanger the continuity of the services offered in the market under consideration,” it laid conditions on the table.

The most interesting condition is where the company is demanded to redeploy its 33 workers and create an employee share scheme trust, which will be for the benefit of Botswana citizen employees of Great Explorations (the target entity) who will get 16 percent of the issued share capital of the target entity.

The Authority allayed fears of loss of employment by workers of the company that is being bought by Mountbatten as it discourages retrenchment and ensures that in the next three months the British Virgin Islands based entity provides a detailed report showing changes in employment report.

An update regarding the 16 percent shareholding advanced through the employee share scheme trust is also required by CA after three months. An employee share scheme trust is a scheme or program that facilitates the distribution of a company’s shares to its employees.

 While in other countries there are tax incentives for a company that gives its workers shares, in Botswana there are no such tax laws. The move to give employees shares by a company is seen by many as a morale booster and increase of loyalty and good service. Mountbatten had proposed to CA acquisition of 100 percent of the issued share capital in Great Explorations from Okavango Wilderness Safaris, an entity of Wilderness Holdings.

This means the employees who will be absorbed by Mountbatten from Great Exploration will get 16 percent of the 100 shares. Great Explorations’ main business is operation of Xigera Lodge-a safari camp located in the paradise of Okavango Delta known for its wildlife, palm-filled islands, riverine forests, a multitude of clear water channels and expansive floodplains. For 1 June to 31 October 2018 rates, per person per night sharing is around P11 000(US $1120). The price is expected to increase next year by P350 or $35 in the same period.

If the words of Xigera future owner Michael Tollman in an interview with BusinessPost are anything to go by, the safari camp is going to be upgraded to a five star hospitality hub. According to Tollman, the Xigera Camp will now be operated by Red Carnation Hotel Group-a positive move by its current employees as it was voted third best by Sunday Times of London as the best company to work for in the UK out of 100m companies.

This should be a bonus to the motivating factor of giving Xigera workers shares. Going back to Tollman’s vow to make Xigera a five star, the Red Carnation Hotel Group was recently voted the second best hotel group in the world and this reputation could rub on the local safari camp according to its future owner.

“The acquisition of Xigera will move it from a 3 Star property to a 5 Star. We will design it uniquely like most of our properties who we turn into iconic properties….we are going to make Xigera iconic,” promised Tollman in an interview. Tollman also promised to make the safari camp big and hire more people increasing the 33 already hired by Great Explorations.

The alarm of Mountbatten incorporated in a regarded tax haven

Meanwhile Tollman told BusinessPost that Botswana should not have fears that the company will not declare its taxes or evade it to British Virgin Island as its target entity Great Explorations will comply with the local tax laws as it has always done. He also said Mountbatten does not actively do any business as it is merely a holding company not involved in any trading. “It (Mountbatten) doesn’t operate any business, it is a dormant company….it owns 17 companies but does not do any business,” Tollman said.

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BAD WEEK FOR MANCHESTER CITY

6th February 2023

After falling to close the gap on Arsenal by losing to a record breaking goal by Kane at the Tottenham stadium.Manchester City now find themselves being charged by the Premier League with more than 100 breaches of its financial rules following a four-year investigation.

According to BBC , it has referred the club to an independent commission over alleged rule breaches between 2009 and 2018 , and also that Man-city has not been co-operating since the investigation which started in 2018 .

BBC further states that The commission can impose punishment including a fine , points deduction and expelling the club from the Premier league.

The alleged breaches include ,  breaching rules for requiring full details of manager remuneration,from 2009-2010, to 2012-2013 seasons when Roberto Mancini was in charge . Also player remuneration between 2010-2011 and 2015-2016.

The Premier league stated that City breached rules related to UEFA regulations , including Financial Fair Play , from 2013-2014 to 2017-2018 ,as well as Premier League rules on profitability and sustainability from 2014-2016 to 2017-2018

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South Korean Embassy aids students living with disabilities

6th February 2023

South Korean Ambassador in South Africa has donated e-learning equipment through Botswana Red Cross Society (BRCS) to Tlamelong Rehabilitation Centre in Tlokweng recently, in a bid to fine tune the student’s textile skills.  

When talking at the handing over ceremony, Chull-Joo Park, said they agreed with BRCS to give out e-learning equipment to better the training skills of students living with disabilities.

“With the Information and Communication Technology (ICT) equipment and job training skills, we will be able to help the students living with disabilities to do e-learning and to better their education and job training,” said Chull-Joo Park.

It was revealed that the South Korean Embassy approached BRCS with the intent to donate equipment and educational material that includes an embroidery machine, photo copier machine, tablets and interactive boards to be utilized by the trainees.

The industrial printer is a machine that works with embroidery machine to print designs for clothing and it will enable the learners to have more material available to them to facilitate learning.

Through this embroidery machine, students will be exposed to better technologies which ultimately improve the quality of materials they produce. It will also allow students to learn business skills and run profitable ventures.

Smart board gadgets will provide the students with an elevated learning process to be fostered by e-learning. The gadgets provide a more visual element to the learning process, which in turn improves learner mental retention.

Tlamelong Rehabilitation serves the marginalized and underserved less privileged persons living with disability in Botswana. The center offers boarding services, vocational training, social services, physiotherapy and rehabilitation services for young people living disabilities aged 18-35 from across the country over a period of two (2) years per cohort which has a maximum intake capacity of 35. BRCS through International Federation of the Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) have managed to create great working synergy with the South Korean Embassy in Pretoria based in South Africa to support or augment the National Society’s Rehabilitation Centre’s learning challenges.

For his part, BRSC Secretary General Kutlwano Mokokomani said they are delighted to convey their gratitude as BRSC to the South Korean Embassy for donation and they look forward to an enduring partnership for such worthy causes.

“South Korean Embassy’s great gesture will enable trainees to thrive, to fulfil their dreams to become a reality as this equipments will go a long way in creating great impact in the lives of trainees and their families. We wish to convey our sincere gratitude to the South Korean Embassy for their noble gesture of donating the E-learning equipments.”

BRCS offers rehabilitation services spread across three (3) areas in Botswana being Sefhare Stimulation center in Sefhare, Tshimologo stimulation center in Francistown and Tlamelong rehabilitation center in Tlokweng.

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DIS alleges plot to kill Masisi hatched in South Africa

6th February 2023

A dispute is brewing between Botswana and South Africa intelligence agencies over alleged mercenary training camps discovered in South Africa by the Directorate of Intelligence and Security (DIS). 

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