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CMB wants P650 million from Bona Life CEO Vaka

Gaborone based attorney, Gabriel Kanjabanga of Kanjabanga and Associates, has, when representing Capital Management Africa (Pty) Ltd (CMB) and Rapula Okaile unearthed that the current value of Bona Life is roughly sitting at zero.

Both Okaile and CMB are the shareholders of Foudello (Pty) Ltd which in turn owns 100% of Bona Life Insurance (Pty) Ltd. Collectively they own 65% of the issued equity of Foudello. A scathing letter written to Reginah Sikalesele-Vaka and leaked to the Weekend Post suggests that CMB wants 650 million pula for mismanagement of Bona Life and her unlawful conduct.  

“CMB has suffered damages due to your unlawful conduct and we are instructed to seek damages against you in your personal capacity in the amount of 650 million pula. We await your substantive response hereto so that CMB may consider their position,” CMB lawyer said threatening the Bona Life CEO. Vaka is not only the CEO of Bona Life but also Director of Bona Life and Foudello. She is also a shareholder of Foudello, owning 25% of the issued equity in her own name and thus she owns 25% of Bona Life.

According to Kanjabanga, although they do not intend to litigate the matter by way of correspondence they want to place on record some of the instances of unlawful actions. As CEO they say she has “mismanaged Bona Life to the extent that your actions has resulted in massive destruction of shareholder value, resulting in Bona being declared insolvent by your statutory actuaries, QED.”

He added that the mismanagement of Bona is in fact, confirmed by the valuation letter from QED dated 30 September 2017, and relevant portion reads: “as at the valuation date the company was insolvent and also did not meet the solvency requirements as required by the Act.”
It is understood that the deterioration in solvency position by Bona was mainly driven by: the investment mismatch on the annuity book; the new business strain as a result of the high volumes of the new business sold; the continued expense overrun; and poor investment returns.      

The lawyer also pointed out that “you continued to negotiate with CMB to arrange a capital injection of some 100 million pula into Bona. The capital injection was much needed capital input required by Bona in order for your mismanagement not to be so patently obvious, so as not to alert the Regulator as to the true state of Bona’s financial position come the end March 2018 reporting period.” In fact you confirmed, he said in writing through an email, “I know very well what you have told me and I know very well that I am in deep, deep trouble. Thank you for reminding me of both counts.”

Bona remains insolvent at this stage

Instead of a successful company, it is understood that Bona Life is now insolvent. Kanjabanga asserted that “this latter state of affairs is solely as a result of your calculated interference in a dispute which does not concern you and/or Bona, for the sole purpose of your self-created need to have a scape goat to blame for your mismanagement of Bona.”

Your unlawful actions, he said although intended for the benefit of Bona, falls outside the course and scope or your duties and obligations as a Director and/or CEO and is, in fact, a serious breach of your fiduciary duties. Your actions were malicious, vexatious, conducted for your own benefit and unlawful.

This, the lawyer continues, is evidenced by that which they (Bona) reported in their September 2017 Valuation Letter, namely “as the valuation date the company was insolvent and also did not meet the solvency requirements as required by the Act.”We recommend an immediate cessation of writing new annuity business until the following conditions are met; capital is injected to return the company to at least 150% solvency with additional capital made available to finance the expected future new business strain. In addition, that the company performs 3 year business plan to assess its future capital needs and illustrate its plans for returning to meeting the minimum solvency requirements.  

Why Vaka reported CMB to NBFIRA and DCEC

Kanjabanga continued to tell Vaka in the communication that: “in an attempt to cover up your mismanagement you undertook two actions; firstly you maligned your shareholder, CMB by making various misrepresentations to both the Non-Bank Financial Institutions Regulatory Authority (NBFIRA) and the Directorate on Corruption and Economic Crime (DCEC).”


Your misrepresentations, he said relating to reporting CMB to NBFIRA were solely designed to provide you with a scapegoat for your own mismanagement of Bona and assist you in avoiding your self-created and admitted ‘deep deep trouble’ in which you find yourself. He said the Bona CEO made critical and material representations to NBFIRA and DCEC by stating in one letter dated 9 January 2018 to NBFIRA that CMB manages 133 million pula of Bona assets while in fact CMB does not manage any assets for Bona and no contract to the contrary exists. “Your misrepresentation was purely designed to create the impression that Bona’s investments would be at risk, something that is far removed from the truth,” CMB lawyers of record insisted.  

Bona conspired with BPOPF to obtain 100 million pula funds

“Further, Gift Noko, an employee of Bona, admits in his letter purportedly addressed to NBFIRA on 12 January 2018, whilst it is, in fact, dated 10 August 2017, that you conspired with the Botswana Public Officers Pension Fund (BPOPF) to obtain funding from it in order to bail out Bona and thus, you. It must also be pointed out that you represented that BPOPF is a shareholder of Bona, a representation you know to be false,” Kanjabanga highlighted.  

This conspiracy he added that was driven by a carefully devised scheme to obtain injection of further funds, sourced from the BPOPF, into Bona. Having regard to your tract record of mismanagement, these funds would no doubt have been improperly managed with resultant losses, attorney said.   

“Further implying your role as instigator of various misrepresentations against CMB, is the BPOPF letter dated 17 January 2018, headlined ‘coordination of efforts regarding CMB.’ It is evident that the BPOPF is attempting to use a statutory instrument to unlawfully reverse a contractual failing of its own making, which unlawful conduct you have assisted and/or advanced through your false claims.” Your unlawful actions resulted in the obliteration of the shareholder value of Bona, and consequently Foudello, Kanjabanga asserted. To set the record straight he said CMB holds no assets of BPOPF, and that no asset management functions are conducted through CMB. He reminded Vaka that there were discussions to merge CMB with Fleming and then possibly to inject Fleming into Bona.

Bona was to be listed on Botswana Stock Exchange

It was intended to list Bona during late 2018 or 2019 on the Botswana Stock Exchange in the manner as proposed by Vaka. It bears mentioning that you proposed that the 40% of equity held by the Botswana Opportunities Partnerships should be sold so as to create the free float, while you would retain your entire 25% shareholding, lawyer mentioned to the Bona CEO.


“The expected valuation on listing was estimated at one billion pula, which means your 25% would have been worth 250 million pula. Based on this, the shareholding valued of the 65% shareholders would have been 650 million pula. Now, however, your wanton obliteration of shareholder value of bona has rendered the aforesaid valuation unattainable.”

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Botswana confirms new COVID-19 variant

17th May 2021
covid19

Botswana health officials have confirmed the new COVOD-19 variant, which was first found in India. The Ministry of Health and Wellness has through a press statement informed members of the public that a new COVID-19 variant (B.1.617), first discovered in India. The Indian variant was confirmed in Botswana on 13 May 2021.

According to Christopher Nyanga, spokesperson at the Ministry, this followed a case investigation within Greater Gaborone, involving people of Indian origin who arrived in the country on the 24th April 2021.

“As at 16 May 2021, the B. 1. 617 variant was confirmed in two (2) people. The clients are currently receiving medical care and remain stable with no life-threatening symptoms. The two (2) cases were part of 383 people (both Batswana and some Indian nationals) who were tested for COVID-19. From this number, 43 tested positive, with two (2) showing the B. 1. 617 variant as already alluded to. Contact tracing has been expanded in line with COVID-19 protocols. All contacts and confirmed cases have been evacuated to facility based quarantine and isolation respectively, for close monitoring,” Nyanga narrated.

The World Health Organization recently announced that the Indian Covid-19 variant was a global concern, with some data suggesting the variant has “increased transmissibility” compared with other strains.

Meanwhile in the wake of Botswana’s confirmation of the Indian variant, Nyanga reminded the public of the government intervention to control the introduction of new variants of public health concern into the country. He stated that all those who have travelled or transited through areas of high risk as previously communicated on 3rd May 2021 upon return shall immediately quarantine in a central area to be identified by the Ministry of Health and Wellness for a period not exceeding ten (10) days; Repeat Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR) test after seven (7) days of quarantine and be discharged as per the outcome of the results.

He said the requirements are complementary to the mandatory requirements of producing on arrival a negative PCR test not older than 72hrs from the time the sample was collected

“The public is advised to remain vigilant and minimize the spread of COVID-19 by following the already outlined preventative measures such as washing of hands with soap or use of a hand sanitizer, wearing of face masks, avoiding crowded places/social distancing and avoiding non-essential movement,” Nyanga said.

The India variant – officially called B.1.617.2 – is one of four mutated versions of coronavirus which have been designated as being “of concern” by transitional public health bodies, with others first being identified in Kent, South Africa and Brazil.

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Khama lawyers dismiss BDP’s MacD

17th May 2021
former President Lt Gen Ian Khama

The lawyers representing former President Lt Gen Ian Khama, Ramalepa Attorneys have come forth dismissing a response letter penned down by Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) activist MacDonald Peloetletse after he was slapped with a P1.5 million lawsuit for defamation of their client.

Tebogo Tladi, an attorney at Ramalepa, said last week Thursday Peloetletse took to social media to publish a substantively false, wrongful and unlawful statement about Khama. MacDonald Peloetletse’s commentary which was posted on Gabz FM News page reads, “I am a former soldier. Everything former President SKI Khama said here is a LIE. In fact, soldiers suffered more under Khama than under his predecessors.

He actually stole money that the UN had paid to the soldiers who went for the operations and paid them less than a quarter of what was actually due to them.  “Unhappy soldiers took the BDF to court and won, the BDF is still struggling to pay the debts! Khama can fool some people, but not all the people and not all the time.

“In fact many soldiers, serving, retired and those that resigned and were in the operations during Khama’s time get even more annoyed to such disrespectful statements by Ian Khama.” Khama’s lawyer says the impugned statement was published with the intention to injure his client (Khama) in his personality rights, good name and dignity, further indicating that the statement has damaged his good reputation.

“We have therefore been instructed by Client to demand, as we hereby do, that you publish on the same forum a retraction and a full and unconditional apology to Client within three days of receipt of this letter- and that you deliver such apology in a formal letter to the Office of the Former President, Dr Khama. In the event that you have not compiled with this demand by close of business on Monday 10th May 2021, our Client will assume that you have refused to comply with this demand.”

To top it all off, Khama demands that Peloetletse pay him P1.5 million in damages for defamation. “Furthermore, we hold instructions to demand as we hereby do, that you pay our Client damages for defamation in the sum of P1, 500,000.00 within seven days of receipt of this letter.” In the event that Peloetletse fails to pay the amount of damages demanded by Khama, Tladi says they will institute legal proceedings for the recovery of the aforesaid damages.

In his response letter addressed to Ramalepa Attorneys, Peloetletse said that he requests enlightenment and clarification that he be provided with proof that the allegations and comments which they attribute to him were indeed authored by him and that the platform which the comments were placed was not hacked.

“Please also advise if whether your clients has been endowed with a “special particular privilege status” that restricts the citizens of this country from commenting or responding to public statements made by your client in the course of political discourse especially when made on public forum and relate to matters of general public concern. (I trust that your brilliant legal mind is well informed with respect to the jurisprudence in such matters)”.

Peloetletse also said he would like to share with the attorneys a video which was posted on a public forum. “Please listen carefully to the conversations and discussion herein and advice if possibly such discussions form a reasonable basis for a justifiably rebuttal by any Motswana Citizen to the public pronouncements and defamatory statements made by your client about our government (bearing in mind of course a citizens constitutional right to freedom of speech and freedom of expression).’’

Consulted for further comment on the matter on Thursday after receiving Peloetletse’s response, Khama’s attorney Tebogo Tladi said the letter doesn’t hold any water. “The only way out for him is to prove the truth of the allegations on his comment or deny publication. He does not answer substantively to the defamation and does not respond to the demand of an apology or payment of damages.

So his letter really contains largely matters irrelevant to the substance of the letter of demand. His response in fact presents no legally cognizable defence at all- it would appear he responded without the benefit of legal advice, which would not be prudent for such an important case. So we will proceed to issue summons and wait to see what defences he will plead in court.’’

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Inside the multi-million Dollar Kazungula Bridge business

17th May 2021
kazungula bridge

Botswana and Zambia this week celebrated the opening of a multi-million Dollar infrastructural project, the Kazungula Bridge, projected to contribute around P100 million annually for Botswana. This project comes after the signing of the 2012 Agreement between the two countries to construct a bridge that would ease movement of goods.

President Mokgweetsi Masisi said the Kazungula Bridge will open avenues for improved trade, job creation and economic diversification in both countries. Further, the Bridge will significantly accelerate Southern African Development Committee (SADC) regional integration agenda which Botswana and Zambia are vigorously pursuing.

“By growing our strategic partnerships through this project, we have improved the development and competitiveness of our economies to attract more private sector investment, thereby, supporting our efforts to create employment, especially for the burgeoning youth,” Masisi said at the opening ceremony in Kazungula on Monday.

The Kazungula Bridge comprises a road and rail bridge over the Zambezi River, directly linking Botswana and Zambia. It has One-Stop-Border Post facilities on both sides, which will enhance the operational efficiency at entry points, replicated on both sides of the boarder.

The Bridge was originally conceived as a critical link in the African North-South Corridor under the African Union’s New Partnership (NEPAD) for Africa’s Development programme. It has since evolved to encompass a multimodal transport plan under the Programme for Infrastructure Development in Africa (PIDA).

The PIDA programme, which encompasses liberalisation of air travel, rail links, road, water and all other modes of transport has only one objective: to unite the States of Africa in order to foster trade on the continent

“Connectivity of our nations will in no small measure, promote people to people interactions and uplifts their standard of living. I am pleased to state that the completion of this project is a clear demonstration of our commitment to PIDA.”

The 260 million US Dollar Kazungula Bridge was commissioned by Zambian President, Edgar Lungu and President Masisi. President Lungu said the bridge was a monumental effort linking Zambia internally and externally to ease the movement of goods and services.

“I have held talks with my counterpart in Botswana that this project must run daily up to 22 hours as soon as possible and you the technocrats must not play ping-pong with us after making these public procurements,” Lungu said at the official opening in Kazungula.

For his part, DRC President Felix Tshisekedi said the project was tandem with the Africa Union (AU) goals and priority areas for Agenda 2063 which called for a prosperous Africa, based on inclusive growth and sustainable development.

KAZUNGULA FERRY

The new Kazungula Bridge replaces the Kazungula Ferry, a pontoon ferry across the 400-metre-wide Zambezi River between Botswana and Zambia. It was one of the largest ferries in South-Central Africa, having a capacity of 70 tonnes.

In 2003 the ferry was the site of a disaster when a severely overloaded Zambian truck capsized one of the pontoons and 18 people drowned. The accident was blamed on the lack of weighbridges in Zambia to check the weight of trucks.

In August 2007, the governments of Zambia and Botswana announced a deal to construct a bridge at the site to replace the ferry. The existence of a short boundary of about 150 meters between Zambia and Botswana was apparently agreed to during various meetings involving Heads of State and officials from all four States in the 2006-2010 period.

The route for this new bridge crosses the boundary without entering Zimbabwe and Namibia. Zimbabwe already has a bridge into Zambia at Victoria Falls, 70KM from Kazungula. Namibia on the other hand has a bridge into Zambia at Katima Mulilo about 150KM upriver.

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