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P60 billion of pensioners’ funds up for grabs

Acting on behalf of Capital Management Botswana and Rapula Okaile (a shareholder in CMB), Gabriel Kanjabanga of Kanjabanga and Associates is demanding 10 million pula from Botswana Public Officers Pension Fund (BPOPF) in damages against what they say is falsehoods against CMB and its associates.  

BPOPF is the biggest pension fund for public servants in Botswana, and the third largest in Africa with a monetary value which has now reached a whooping 60 billion pula. According to a damning letter to BPOPF Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Boitumelo Molefhe, which has been passed to Weekend Post, the lawyer of CMB seeks a retraction of the said falsehoods peddled against them.

“We are instructed to hereby institute a damages claim against you in the order of 10 million pula, and to seek a written undertaking from retracting your false allegations, and committing to cease making falsehoods against CMB, its employees, its owners, and related parties,” he stated in the letter. The falsehoods they refer to include that BPOPF CEO “have in various fora, falsely stated that a very senior government figure is engaged in criminal conduct with our clients.”

“Your allegations that CMB officers held meetings with Private Secretary to the President (PSP) Carter Morupisi to discuss your dismissal (as BPOPF CEO) is simply ridiculous in the extreme and smacks either of your desperation to besmirch our client (CMB), or alternatively, that you have extremely low levels of self esteem.”

The CMB attorney said the allegations made by the CEO are serious in nature and have the potential, and have caused significant reputational and other commercial and other commercial damage to our clients (CMB). Further, “you know your statements to be false, as you have access to the share register of CMB, it having been shown to you when you repeated yet another false claim which you alleged was told to you by Rhys Carr, to wit, that Martin M. Mokgatlhe, founder of Motswedi Securities, is a “secret” shareholder in CMB.”

Carr was a former Director of CMB, who left CMB in acrimonious circumstances and was later embroiled in court matter in Botswana between Brian White and 3G Mobile (Botswana) (Pty) Ltd (CMA was previously a 50% shareholder), in which Carr’s questionable dealings with 3G Mobile were laid bare in the court record.

In the instance of the claims against Makgatlhe, Kanjabanga said BPOPF CEO has accepted the evidence of the CMB share register, but in the instance of accusations against PSP Morupisi, she continues to peddle the falsehoods with wanton abandon, despite having access to the self-same standard of evidence, being the shareholder record.

We are aware; he said that your relationship with Carr endures and that you regularly seek to source ‘dirt’ from Carr, including enticing him to elicit ‘dirt’ from the estranged wife of Tim Marsland, a fellow CMB Director. “It is therefore perverse that you base your accusations on such highly questionable sources. We can state unequivocally that Carr has not provided you with any hard evidence to back up his falsehoods, simply because such evidence does not exist. You, therefore, are equally unable to back up your allegations with any hard evidence,” the lawyer warned.

According to the CMB lawyer, BPOPF CEO used the basis of the false accusations, which she knows to be false, to report CMB to DCEC. “We wish to suggest to you that you seek legal advice as to your actions, as the intentional making of a false statement to the authorities in an extremely serious matter. We intend to point this out to DCEC,” the CMB Counsel threatened.

He continued: “It is clear that the falsehoods you are peddling and the reporting of this to DCEC are simply a ruse by you to influence the legal proceedings currently underway as between the BPOPF and CMB. Quite clearly, one must wonder why you need to go to extreme lengths if you are so confident in your case.”

In light of your very obvious action that you have brought the office of the CEO of an important institution like the BPOPF into such obvious disrepute, the lawyer asserted that he again calls for a transparent and public enquiry into the actions and the actions of the BPOPF Secretariat, covering not only CEO very questionable dealings on this matter, but also the reason why, under her watch, virtually every citizen and local asset management company has been largely shut down as a result of actions undertaken by the CEO which includes Fleming, Afena (Kgori) and now CMB.

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Botswana economic recovery depends on successful vaccine rollout – BoB

5th May 2021

Bank of Botswana (BoB) has indicated that the rebounding of domestic economy will depended on successful vaccine roll-out which could help business activity to return to its post pandemic days.

Projections by the Ministry of Finance and Economic Development and the International Monetary Fund (IMF) suggest a rebound in economic growth for Botswana in 2021.

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Inside the UB-BDF fighter Jet tragedy report

5th May 2021

Despite being hailed and still regarded as a hero who saved many lives through his decision to crash the BF5 fighter Jet around the national stadium on the eve of the 2018 BDF day, the deceased Pilot, Major Clifford Manyuni’s actions were treated as a letdown within the army, especially by his master-Commander of the Air Arm, Major General Innocent Phatshwane.

Manyuni’s master says he was utterly disappointed with his Pilot’s failure to perform “simple basics.”

Manyuni was regarded as a hero through social media for his ‘colourful exploits’, but Phatshwane who recently retired as the Air Arm Commander, revealed to WeekendPost in an exclusive interview that while he appreciated Batswana’s outpouring of emotions and love towards his departed Pilot, he strongly felt let down by the Pilot “because there was nothing wrong with that Fighter Jet and Manyuni did not report any problem either.”

The deceased Pilot, Manyuni was known within the army to be an upwardly mobile aviator and in particular an air power proponent.

“I was hurt and very disappointed because nobody knows why he decided to crash a well-functioning aircraft,” stated Phatshwane – a veteran pilot with over 40 years of experience under the Air Arm unit.

Phatshwane went on to express shock at Manyuni’s flagrant disregard for the rules of the game, “they were in a formation if you recall well and the guiding principle in that set-up is that if you have any problem, you immediately report to the formation team leader and signal a break-away from the formation.

Manyuni disregarded all these basic rules, not even to report to anybody-team members or even the barracks,” revealed Phatshwane when engaged on the much-publicised 2018 incident that took the life of a Rakops-born Pilot of BDF Class 27 of 2003/2004.

Phatshwane quickly dismisses the suggestion that perhaps the Fighter Jet could have been faulty, “the reasons why I am saying I was disappointed is that the aircraft was also in good condition and well-functioning. It was in our best interest to know what could have caused the accident and we launched a wholesale post-accident investigation which revealed that everything in the structure was working perfectly well,” he stated.

Phatshwane continued: “we thoroughly assessed the condition of the engine of the aircraft as well as the safety measures-especially the ejection seat which is the Pilot’s best safety companion under any life-threatening situation. All were perfectly functional.”

In aircrafts, an ejection seat or ejector seat is a system designed to rescue the pilot or other crew of an aircraft in an emergency. The seat is propelled out of the aircraft by an explosive charge or rocket motor, carrying the pilot with it.”

Manyuni knew about all these safety measures and had checked their functionality prior to using the Aircraft as is routine practice, according to Phatshwane. Could Manyuni have been going through emotional distress of some sort? Phatshwane says while he may never really know about that, what he can say is that there are laid out procedures in aviation guiding instances of emotional instability which Manyuni also knew about.

“We don’t allow or condone emotionally or physically unfit Pilots to take charge of an aircraft. If a Pilot feels unfit, he reports and requests to be excused. We will subsequently shift the task to another Pilot. We do this because we know the risks of leaving an unfit pilot to fly an aircraft,” says Phatshwane.

Despite having happened a day before the BDF day, Phatshwane says the BDF day mishap did not really affect the BDF day preparations, although it emotionally distracted Manyuni’s flying formation squad a bit, having seen him break away from the formation to the stone-hearted ground. The team soldiered on and immediately reported back to base for advice and way forward, according to Phatshwane.

Sharing the details of the ordeal and his Pilots’ experiences, Phatshwane said: “they (pilots) were in distress, who wouldn’t? They were especially hurt by the deceased‘s lack of communication. I immediately called a chaplain to attend to their emotional needs.

He came and offered them counselling. But soldiers don’t cry, they immediately accepted that a warrior has been called, wiped off their tears and instantly reported back for duty. I am sure you saw them performing miracles the following day at the BDF day as arranged.”

Despite the matter having attracted wide publicity, the BDF kept the crash details a distance away from the public, a move that Phatshwane felt was not in the best interest of the army and public.

“The incident attracted overwhelming public attention. Not only that, there were some misconceptions attached to the incident and I thought it was upon the BDF to come out and address those for the benefit of the public and army’s reputation,” he said.

One disturbing narrative linked to the incident was that Manyuni heroically wrestled the ‘faulty’ aircraft away from the endangered public to die alone, a narrative which Phatshwane disputes as just people’s imaginations. “Like I said the Aircraft was functioning perfectly,” he responded.

A close family member has hinted that the traumatised Manyuni family, at the time of their son’s tragedy, strongly accused the BDF ‘of killing their son’. Phatshwane admits to this development, emphasising that “Manyuni’s mother was visibly and understandably in inconsolable pain when she uttered those words”.

Phatshwane was the one who had to travel to Rakops through the Directorate of Intelligence Services (DIS) aircraft to deliver the sad news to the family but says he found the family already in the know, through social media. At the time of his death, Manyuni was survived by both parents, two brothers, a sister, fiancée and one child. He was buried in Rakops in an emotionally-charged burial. Like his remains, the BDF fighter jets have been permanently rested.

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Uphill battle in Khama’s quest to charge Hubona

5th May 2021

A matter in which former President Lt Gen Ian Khama had brought before Broadhurst Police Station in Gaborone, requesting the State to charge Directorate on Corruption and Economic Crime (DCEC) lead investigator, Jako Hubona and others with perjury has been committed to Headquarters because it involves “elders.” 

Broadhurst Police Station Commander, Obusitswe Lokae, told this publication this week that the case in its nature is high profile so the matter has been allocated to his Officer Commanding No.3 District who then reported to the Divisional Commander who then sort to commit it to Police Headquarters.

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