Following the termination of employment for over 4000 BCL mine workers last month, Nigel Dixon-Warren, the provisional liquidator, tasked with the safe and proper dissolution of BCL Group has this week announced the reinstatement of 400 employees.
Dixon Warren indicated that the retained workers will remain onsite undertaking the care and maintenance of the mine shafts, equipment and the smelter. He further revealed that the 400 workers will remain employed by BCL limited until a conclusion is reached on the future of the two mines, being Tati Nickel and BCL Shafts. The maintenance process involves safe dewatering of the mine underground shafts and high level management of environmental risks.
“Care and maintenance is a pivotal undertaking in the liquidation process of a complex and large scale industrial company like BCL,” noted Dixon-Warren. Information gathered by this publication reveals that a significant portion of the temporarily hired employees will be tasked mainly with maintenance of the smelter, ore processing plant and equipment and most importantly securing the mine assets and the whole site.
According to a source who has been working closely with the liquidator, Dixon-Warren has solicited a support team which includes workers from the human resources department, finance, IT and the BCL Mine Hospital. “The liquidation process is a very complex and tedious engagement that requires full time support staff, thus various workers from a number of departments have been rehired to provide additional support to the dissolution process which involves, valuing of company properties and huge financial paperwork,’’ said a source who preferred anonymity.
The 400 workers received their new offer letters under a totally new contract on Monday immediately after dismissal of thousands of others. It is unclear whether the employees include the mine top brass but WeekendPost has it on good authority that executive management are called from time to time to provide and hand over required company assets and paperwork. The rehiring of the 400 BCL workers comes after 60 support members were re-hired by the liquidator at BCL subsidiary, Tati Nickel weeks ago to provide similar support.
It is understood that the liquidator is dealing with more pressing issues of creditors, debtors and suitors’ as well as financial reconciliation of the Group treasury figures. Sources close to the liquidation process have revealed that the liquidator is having a hard time with the process as mismanagement of funds and unaccounted exit monies are uncovered.
Meanwhile the government has committed P60 million monthly to resource mainly the care and maintenance of the BCL operations. It is believed that the mine will soon be reopened under new ownership. Minister of Minerals, Green Technology and Energy Security, Sadique Kebonang, went on record saying that there are several companies already expressing interest to buy the mine.
Possible attractive assets owned by BCL limited are the Smelter which was recently refurbished at a cost of over P700 million. The BCL copper-nickel smelter is said to be the largest and most complex in the world by capacity. The smelter will be used to process ore from outside Botswana and BCL operations under the new expected ownership, post February, should Dixon-Warren recommend volubility of BCL and any investor interested.
Mining experts have revealed that BCL could still be profitable under Selkirk resource mining and a number of hidden shafts which would require more advanced technology to unearth millions of business sensible proceeds. Dixon-Warren of KPMG has been given a four month mandate to determine and advice the sole shareholder being the Government of Botswana on whether to reopen the mine under restructured business model or sell it to private investors or completely shut down the mine.BCL limited was placed on provisional liquidation through the High Court of Botswana about a month ago after Government announced its inability to pay its P7.8 Billion debt.
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.