BCL Provisional Liquidator, Nigel Dixon-Warren says that while significant progress has been made in the winding up of BCL which is in final liquidation, a considerable amount of work still needs to be done.
The KPMG Botswana Senior Partner revealed in his report on BCL Liquidation released recently that the winding up of BCL has proven a complex exercise and is likely to take years to be complete. “The winding up of BCL is complex and will take time to complete, likely years,” he said. The Provisional Liquidator says some of the reasons why the exercise will take time to complete is the status of the records which he says are not up-to-date, the existing and potential legal actions against the company as well as the challenge concerning the disposal of the assets of the company.
The key assets of the company as indicated in the report include the mining s which include the mineral resources, process operations (smelter and concentrator), hospital, residential houses and other properties and equipment which include fabrication workshop and the laboratory. Dixon-Warren states in the report that the BCL also has shareholding in a number of subsidiary Joint Venture companies whose shareholding has been incorrectly allocated to BCL Investment.
“The shareholding needs to be corrected and the financial position revised for both BCL and BCL Investment,” he said. The report further indicates that the majority of these Joint Venture companies were in possession of the prospecting licences which the Minister of Mineral Resources, Green Technology and Energy Security, Advocate Sadique Kebonang has since suspended in accordance with the Mines Act.
Dixon-Warren says in the report that further investigation is required and it is accordingly recommended. He points out that it is still not fully understood what the assets of the company are and how best they can be disposed. He explains that it has not yet been determined what the expected recovery on debtors is and therefore additional work needs to be done to be able to address these outstanding issues.
He says because the records contains inconsistent and unreliable data, considerable effort is required to reconcile the financial position of the BCL Group and to understand the assets and the potential recoverability. Because of the concerns regarding the integrity of the data already reviewed, there is need to source primary data to be reviewed so that informed decisions can be made based on factual information. All these hurdles further compounds the already complex winding up process of the company notwithstanding the complexity of the operations themselves.
“Poor quality of data also impacts the disposal options as considerable work needs to be done to first ascertain what BCL owns,” states the Provisional Liquidator. The report records that disposing of the assets piecemeal has been identified as a possible solution to the benefit of the creditors which the Provisional Liquidator says he is serving their interests. In overall, Dixon-Warren notes that further investigation is required on the reasons for failure of the company and to find out whether there is any potential liability by the directors of the company or other parties. He says consideration should be given to examining whether a formal inquiry into the BCL failure will be needed.
The Provisional Liquidator has highlighted incompetent management, poor governance and financial mismanagement as reasons for failure of BCL among other reasons. He says that the copper and nickel mining giant had been mismanaged for a significant period of time prior to liquidation. He points out that management and board governance was not only poor but largely absent. Without the continued support from the shareholder, BCL would or should have been wound up some time ago.
The board appears to have had neither the capacity nor the commercial expertise to provide appropriate governance and guidance to the management team, Dixon-Warren has said. He says the assessment of the management team by Min Corp in 2014 and 2015 revealed that management was inexperienced within the copper and nickel sector and either unable or unwilling to execute against plan. Dixon-Warren says he confirms this to be true as it is evidenced by sizeable deviations between actual results and approved plans by management.
Four of the main areas identified by Dixon-Warren and his team where management failed to take adequate steps include Labour structure where he described BCL was top-heavy and overstaffed, Budgeting and planning where he posits that there was lack of both proper budgeting and planning which resulted in realistic and achievable targets not being set. He also identifies Oversight, Competence and Accountability as another area where management failed. Supply chain is another critical area which the Provisional Liquidator says it was poorly managed.
“Poor and inadequate management of supply chain has also been identified as an area that likely contributed to the failure of BCL and warrants further investigation. It has already been determined that there were instances of noncompliance with supply chain policies, processes and procedures,” he said.
Botswana Police Service (BPS) has indicated concern about the ongoing trend where the general public falls victim to criminals purporting to be police officers.
According to BPS Assistant Commissioner, Dipheko Motube, the criminals target individuals at shopping malls and Automated Teller Machines (ATMs) where upon approaching the unsuspecting individual the criminals would pretend to have picked a substantial amount of money and they would make a proposal to the victims that the money is counted and shared in an isolated place.
“On the way, as they stop at the isolated place, they would start to count and sharing of the money, a criminal syndicate claiming to be Criminal Investigation Department (CID) officer investigating a case of stolen money will approach them,” said Motube in a statement.
The Commissioner indicated that the fake police officers would instruct the victims to hand over all the cash they have in their possession, including bank cards and Personal Identification Number (PIN), the perpetrators would then proceed to withdraw money from the victim’s bank account.
Motube also revealed that they are also investigating a case in which a 69 year old Motswana woman from Molepolole- who is a victim of the scam- lost over P62 000 last week Friday to the said perpetrators.
“The Criminal syndicate introduced themselves as CID officers investigating a case of robbery where a man accompanying the woman was the suspect.’’
They subsequently went to the woman’s place and took cash amounting to over P12 000 and further swindled amount of P50 000 from the woman’s bank account under the pretext of the further investigations.
In addition, Motube said they are currently investigating the matter and therefore warned the public to be vigilant of such characters and further reminds the public that no police officer would ask for bank cards and PINs during the investigations.
Botswana Congress Party (BCP) leadership walked out of Umbrella for Democratic Change (UDC) National Executive Committee (NEC) meeting this week on account of being targeted by other cooperating partners.
UDC meet for the first time since 2020 after previous futile attempts, but the meeting turned into a circus after other members of the executive pushed for BCP to explain its role in media statements that disparate either UDC and/or contracting parties.
The Director General of the Directorate on Corruption and Economic Crimes (DCEC), Tymon Katlholo’s spirited fight against the contentious transfers of his management team has forced the Office of the President to rescind the controversial decision. However, some insiders suggest that the reversal of the transfers may have left some interested parties with bruised egos and nursing red wounds.
The transfers were seen by observers as a badly calculated move to emasculate the DCEC which is seen as defiant against certain objectionable objectives by certain law enforcement agencies – who are proven decisionists with very little regard for the law and principle.