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BPOPF roars, CMB says bring it on!

Capital Management Botswana (CMB) says it is unfazed by suggestions that it is being investigated for misappropriation of Botswana Public Officers Pension Funds (BPOPF) monies. The troubled company has through its attorney, Gabriel Kanjabanga insisted that every dealing it had with BPOPF was done in the true spirit of the contract between the two parties.

The CMB management says it has tried in vain to demonstrate and account for the funds committed in the Botswana Opportunity Partnership (BOP), the vehicle that bonded them with BPOPF. “As a private Equity organization there is a limited partner and the General Partner. In this case, BPOPF is the Limited partner and had committed 880 Million Pula to a Fund called BOP. The initial commitment was P500 Million before CMB demonstrated that they had a very good pipeline and potential to invest the funds with good assets.”

According to CMB, there is no hiding from the fact that the following investments were made in the spirit of the contract with CMB: Wilderness Safari at the tune of P150 Million; Kawena Holdings with a cash injection of P150 Million; AGILE University got P50 Million; Cell City t/a GoldWing got a P 50 Million; while Bona Life was given P 50 Million. CMB directors are adamant that the Share Certificates and Shareholders Agreement were availed.  

THE KAWENA STORY

However, in the statutory managers’ last report, Kawena, the biggest retail and distributor in SADC was said to be unaccounted for. Kawena Distributors (Pty) Ltd, formerly Manica Mineworkers Suppliers (Pty) Ltd commenced its business operations in 1987. Manica companies have been entrenched in Mozambique for over 100 years. Kawena is a wholly owned subsidiary of Sherewa Investments (Pty) Ltd. The Sherewa Investment Group looks after various businesses in the Southern African region, operating in South Africa, Mozambique and Zimbabwe.

Their core business, Kawena Distributors, has earned the trust of the Mozambican mine-workers through product and service delivery, stretching back almost 30 years and is widely considered an institution in the country. Over the years Kawena diversified, leveraging off the relationships forged with various ministries, principal suppliers and extensive infrastructural networks within Mozambique.

Kawena now has four major business units that encompass: Kawena Distributors, Sherewa Trading, Pemba Business Park and Procurement and the Kawena/ OK Zimbabwe partnership. Since BPOPF has announced that it is all systems go through the statutory manager to locate “missing assets”, it will be interesting to see if this publicly visible company will not share information with the authorities.
 

BONALIFE VS CMB

According to CMB, they were Bona Life asset Managers. Bona Life had to manage the liability part as CMB managed the asset. According to them this combination emanates from the fact that in an annuity business which Bona Life is involved in, clients purchase annuities with a promise that they will be paid back with interest and this effectively creates a liability. This has to be matched with concomitant assets. “And that would be where CMB gets in to find suitable assets. CMB managed to get three assets namely: Manor Squad in Durban at P60 Million with a return of 10%; BDC flats for 13.5 Million; and Storage Solutions for P60 Million. The total assets aggregate to P133.5 Million.”

According to CMB it became apparent that Regina Vaka (CEO of Bona Life) was not interested in acquisition of tangible assets to meet the liability profile, the business became insolvent to the extent that she requested for recapitalization of P100 Million from CMB. “CMB could not agree to the model of taking funds from clients and putting them in the bank to earn a lesser interest than the one promised annuitants did not make economic sense. Ms Vaka opted to report CMB to the Regulator (NBIFRA) as if CMB was running Bona Life. She continued to report CMB to DCEC for an allegedly missing P133.5 Million which was later accounted for with ease.”

CMB TROUBLES WITH BPOPF

According to CMB management the focus moved to BPOPF since there is an alleged P400 Million missing.  “The Courts have been consistent with the fact that the assets for P450 Million have been bought, eliminating issues of misappropriation of funds at the time. The point of contention is to do with those P450 Million assets being disposed for P 50 Million. Effectively CMB is to account for P400 Million worth of assets. This will be very easy to account for in the manner that there is Wilderness Safari at P150 Million; Kawena P150 Million; Cell City at P 50 Million; and Bona Life P 50 Million.”  

AGGRIEVED BY THE COURTS

CMB management says Judges in local courts across the country should always reveal their connections to litigants and lawyers. “These links can be social – they may have been law school classmates or share common friends – political, financial or ideological. In some instances the two may have mutual investment interests. They might be in-laws. While it’s unavoidable that such relationships will occur, when they do create a perception of bias, a judge is duty-bound to at the very least disclose that information, and if it creates an actual bias, allow a different judge to take over.”

Could CMB have found themselves sandwiched by politically connected big shots in their case? The Court of Appeal has ruled for all to read. Meanwhile CMB management has one big fear – they posit that experts in the field are of the view that once the assets are muscled from CMB there is a chance that they could be disposed at close to nothing leaving pensioners with peanuts. CMB is also concerned that the DCEC made sure they are stripped of all their sources of funds so that they cannot afford any legal representation. 

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Opposition Will Never Achieve Anything- Nkaigwa

8th April 2021
Haskins Nkaigwa

Former Umbrella for Democratic Change (UDC) Member of Parliament for Gaborone North, Haskins Nkaigwa has confirmed his departure from opposition fold to re-join the ruling Botswana Democratic Party (BDP).

Nkaigwa said opposition is extremely divided and the leadership not in talking terms.  “They are planning evil against each other. Nothing much will be achieved,” Nkaigwa told WeekendPost.

“I believe my time in the opposition has come to an end. It’s time to be of value to rebuilding our nation and economy of the country. Remember the BDP is where I started my political journey. It is home,” he said.

“Despite all challenges currently facing the world, President Masisi will be far with his promises to Batswana. A leader always have the interest of the people at heart despite how some decisions may look to be unpopular with the people.

“I have faith and full confidence in President Dr Masisi leadership. We shall overcome as party and nation the current challenges bedevilling nations. BDP will emerge stronger. President Masisi will always have my backing.”

Nkaigwa served as opposition legislator between 2014-2019 representing Botswana Movement for Democracy (BMD) under UDC banner.  He joined BMD in 2011 at the height public servant strike whilst Gaborone City Deputy Mayor. He eventually rose to become the mayor same year, after BDP lost majority in the GCC.

Nkaigwa had been a member of Botswana National Front (BNF), having joined from Alliance for Progressives (AP) in 2019.

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Botswana benefits over P100 million in grants from Japan

7th April 2021
Ambassador HOSHIYAMA

Botswana has received assistance worth over P100 million from Japanese government since 2019, making the latter of the largest donors to Botswana in recent years.

The assistance include relatively large-scale grant aid programmes such as the COVID-19 programme (to provide medical equipment; P34 million), the digital terrestrial television programme (to distribute receivers to the underprivileged, P17 million), the agriculture promotion programme (to provide agricultural machinery and equipment, P53million).

“As 2020 was a particularly difficult year, where COVID-19 hit Botswana’s economy and society hard, Japan felt the need to assist Botswana as our friend,” said Japan’s new Ambassador to Botswana, Hoshiyama Takashi.

“It is for this reason that grants of over P100 million were awarded to Botswana for the above mentioned projects.”

Japan is now the world’s fourth highest ranking donor country in terms of Official Development Assistance (ODA).

From 1991 to 2000, Japan continued as the top donor country in the world and contributed to Asia’s miracle economic development.

From 1993 onwards, the TICAD process commenced through Japan’s initiative as stated earlier. Japan’s main contribution has been in the form of Yen Loans, which are at a concessional rate, to suit large scale infrastructure construction.

“In Botswana, only a few projects have been implemented using the Yen Loan such as the Morupule “A” Power Station Rehabilitation and Pollution Abatement in 1986, the Railway Rolling Stock Increase Project in 1987, the Trans-Kalahari Road Construction Project in 1991, the North-South Carrier Water Project in 1995 and the Kazungula Bridge Construction Project in 2012,” said Ambassador Hoshiyama.

“In terms of grant aid and technical assistance, Japan has various aid schemes including development survey and master planning, expert dispatch to recipient countries, expert training in Japan, scholarships, small scale grass-roots program, culture-related assistance, aid through international organizations and so on.”

In 1993, Japan launched Tokyo International Conference on African Development (TICAD) to promote Africa’s development, peace and security, through the strengthening of relations in multilateral cooperation and partnership.

TICAD discuss development issues across Africa and, at the same time, present “aid menus” to African countries provided by Japan and the main aid-related international organizations, United Nations (UN), United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and the World Bank.

“As TICAD provides vision and guidance, it is up to each African country to take ownership and to implement her own development following TICAD polices and make use of the programmes shown in the aid menus,” Ambassordor Hoshiyama noted.

“This would include using ODA loans for quality infrastructure, suited to the country’s own nation-building needs. It is my fervent hope that Botswana will take full advantage of the TICAD process.”

Since then, seven conferences where held, the latest, TICAD 7 being in 2019 at Yokohama. TICAD 7’s agenda on African development focused on three pillars, among them the first pillar being “Accelerating economic transformation and improving business environment through innovation and private sector engagement”.

“Yes, private investment is very important, while public investment through ODA (Official Development Assistance) still plays an indispensable role in development,” the Japanese Ambassador said.

“For further economic development in Africa, Japan recognizes that strengthening regional connectivity and integration through investment in quality infrastructure is key.”

Japan has emphasized the following; effective implementation of economic corridors such as the East Africa Northern Corridor, Nacala Corridor and West Africa Growth Ring; Quality infrastructure investment in line with the G20 Principles for Quality Infrastructure Investment should be promoted by co-financing or cooperation through the African Development Bank (AfDB) and Japan.

Japan also emphasized the establishment of mechanisms to encourage private investment and to improve the business environment.

According to the statistics issued by Japan’s Finance Ministry, Japan invested approximately 10 billion US dollars in Africa after TICAD 7 (2019) to year end 2020, but Japanese investment through third countries are not included in this figure.

“With the other points factored in, the figure isn’t established yet,” Ambassador Hoshiyama said.

The next conference, TICAD 8 will be held in Tunisia in 2022. This will be the second TICAD summit to be held on the African continent after TICAD 6 which was held in Nairobi, Kenya, in 2016.

According to Ambassador Hoshiyama, in preparation for TICAD 8, the TICAD ministerial meeting will be held in Tokyo this year. The agenda to be discussed during TICAD 8 has not yet been fully deliberated on amongst TICAD Co-organizers (Japan, UN, UNDP, the World Bank and AU).

“Though not officially concluded, given the world situation caused by COVID-19, I believe that TICAD 8 will highlight health and medical issues including the promotion of a Universal Health Coverage (UHC),” said Hoshiyama.

“As the African economy has seriously taken a knock by COVID-19, economic issues, including debt, could be an item for serious discussion.”

The promotion of business is expected to be one of the most important topics. Japan and its partners, together with the business sector, will work closely to help revitalize private investment in Africa.

 

“All in all, the follow-up of the various programs that were committed by the Co-Organizers during the Yokohama Plan of Actions 2019 will also be reviewed as an important item of the agenda,” Ambassador Hoshiyama said.

“I believe that this TICAD follow-up mechanism has secured transparency and accountability as well as effective implementation of agreed actions by all parties. The guiding principle of TICAD is African ownership and international partnership.”

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Magosi pushes for Cabinet reshuffle

6th April 2021
President Masisi

Directorate on Intelligence Services (DIS) Director General, Brigadier Peter Magosi is said to be hell-bent and pushing President Mokgweetsi Masisi to reshuffle his cabinet as a matter of urgency since a number of his ministers are conflicted.

The request by Magosi comes at a time when time is ticking on his contract which is awaiting renewal from Masisi.

This publication learns that Magosi is unshaken by the development and continues to wield power despite uncertainty hovering around his contractual renewal.

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