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NBFIRA blacklists Tibone as Stock markets battle rages on

The Non-Bank Financial Institution Regulatory Authority (NBFIRA) has taken a tough stance against Stock Brokers Botswana (SBB) and its Managing Director, Titose Tibone following a decision by the latter to request for suspension from the Stock Exchange. This has been a culmination of events which started with the dismissal of an accountant at SBB who was later fined P10 000 by the NBFIRA for practicing as a Controller without permission.

But the grass is still suffering as Titose Tibone and NBFIRA herald a possible showdown as the former refuses to accept possible penalties and a removal from practice by the latter. Titose Tibone assumed the position of Managing Director of Stock Brokers Botswana in June 2012 upon the acquisition of this company by the current shareholders during that period.

In a letter addressed to the Chairman of the Board of Stock Brokers Botswana by NBFIRA CEO, Mr Oaitse Ramasedi, a directive in terms of Section 53(3) and a Civil Penalty in terms of Section 93 of the NBFIRA Act is directed at the Company and Titose Tibone. “ Please be informed that the Capital Markets Department of the NBFIRA has noted several instances of non-compliance by Stock Brokers Botswana Ltd, and to this end, have reffered the same to the Compliance Department for enforcement action. In particular, the Compliance Department has been instructed that through its Managing Director, Mr Titose Tibone, the SBB has:

Appointed a controller to the organization without prior approval of the Authority as required in terms of Section 65 of the NBFIRA Act; Failed, on several occasions and despite numerous requests, to provide the Authority with information regarding the job descriptions of Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer functions, how the two relate to each other, and who is the more superior between the two; And on August 30, 2016 sent an email to the Authority and the Botswana Stock Exchange, indicating that the SBB wishes to wind down its operations due to inability to operate as a going concern, although winding down was never the intention of SBB, and the contents of the email did not present a true reflection of the SBB position. This was thus misleading and false statement made to the Authority, which statement had the potential to disrupt and discredit capital markets of Botswana.”

Ramasedi argues on behalf of NBFIRA that the issues outlined, all precipitated by Mr Titose Tibone as Managing Director, indicate that Mr Titose Tibone conducts himself in a careless manner that breaches his fiduciary duties towards SBB and its clients. “To this end, the Authority has formed the view that he is no longer fit and proper to hold office as a controller, much less a managing director or director, at SBB.”

The NBFIRA Chief indicated that the Authority issues Directive in terms of Section 53(3) that effective from September 6, 2016, Mr Titose Tibone be removed from holding office as a controller, a Director and the Managing Director of SBB. “The Authority further directs that a formal letter be submitted by SBB indicating that it takes note of this directive and has actioned it. Such letter should be submitted to the Authority no later than September 9, 2016.

Ramasedi further pointed out that NBFIRA will impose a civil penalty on SBB in line with Section 93 (a) of the NBFIRA Act for knowingly making a false statement to the Authority. However he has given SBB 21 days to request a hearing, if it wishes for one, to show cause why the proposed penalty should not be imposed. In the meantime SBB has complied with the directive to remove Titose Tibone as Managing Director and Director.

TITOSE TIBONE ON HIS OWN DEFENCE

Although SBB has agreed to comply with the directive, from its rebuttal of the NBFIRA letter, it is clear that the company is not happy with the decision. “ We now refer to your paragraph 4 of the aforesaid letter in which you have issued a directive in terms of Section 53 (3)(b) of the NBFIRA Act to remove our Managing Director, Mr Titose Tibone from holding office as a Controller, as Director and the Managing Director of our company. On a without prejudice basis, we hereby confirm that we will comply with this directive and that we have requested Mr Titose Tibone not to be involved in the management and business affairs of the company,” writes SBB chairman

However SBB says it notes the action of removing Mr Titose Tibone in their view is highly prejudicial to the company in that Mr Titose Tibone has played a major role in the success of this company. They further point out that Mr Titose Tibone is a fit and proper person and without him, they strongly believe that the continued profitability and success of the company will be compromised.

On noting reasons for declaring him, not to be a fit and proper person, SBB tabulated a rebuttal, which we or Mr Titose Tibone, can substantiate and prove, should the opportunity be given to us:-

In relation to the allegations that they appointed a controller before vetting, SBB says Mr Titose Tibone, or the company, did not and has never appointed Ms Rebaone as a controller of the company. “It is for this reason that we had not applied for the prior approval of the Authority. Ms Rebaone was an accounting clerk/officer and not a controller and it was as a result her own self-doing that she gave the impression to the Authority that she was a controller and not by any instructions from Mr Titose Tibone or the company. It is for this reason she was penalized and paid P10 000.00 and was accordingly dismissed. If at all, it was the intention to appoint her as a controller, we would have thereafter applied for her vetting so as to re-instate her. We believe that using this again to penalize Mr Titose Tibone is unfair and not in the spirit of the NBFIRA Act.” 

SBB is of the view that using this as a ground to hold Mr Titose Tibone is unfair and not in the spirit of the NBFIRA Act.

On the charge of disruption capital markets and presenting a false and misleading position of the company (SBB): “In relation to the allegations stated at clause 2.3 of your letter, we confirm that this matter was dealt with and the reasons were given by Mr Titose Tibone for sending such an email. This was done at a meeting held on the 30th day of August 2016, at. At this meeting Mr Titose Tibone explained that as a result of the dismissal of Ms. Rebaone, the accountant and not having a financial manager in place (as the approval process was being pursued), he felt that it would be in the interest of the clients of the company to stop trading until the affairs of the company were sorted out. It is our opinion that this was a responsible move because without a finance manager and without an accountant, the company would not be able to manage the accounts, which would in turn prejudice the clients. It is for this reason that at the meeting, the parties confirmed that instead of using the words “winding down”, which would give an impression that the company is closing down instead of giving the true intention of Mr Titose Tibone, which was to suspend trading until such time that the affairs of the company were sorted out, the company should state that it is suspending trading, thus use the words “suspend trading”.”

SBB Board indicates that they believe that the email was sent out with the client interests and protections at the core of Mr Titose Tibone’s intentions and that same was not made with any bad intentions as correctly stated in Ramasedi’s letter.

“Further to this, it is stated that, you will note that this statement was not published, that is, it had never entered the public domain, it was an email sent to the Authority and the BSE. Therefore we disagree that it had any potential to disrupt and discredit the capital markets of Botswana. It was sent to the Authority and to the BSE to advise them that there is a problem at the company and to let them know that as a result the company wanted to stop trading and await further instructions from the Authority and the BSE.”  

Titose Tibone and his Board are of the view that when joined, the company was not performing well.  In fact it had showed losses in the amount of P8,000,000.00. They state that shortly thereafter the fortunes of the company had reversed. “We are therefore confident that based on market share figures and profitability, the CEO of the BSE, Thapelo Tsheole can attest not only to the successful turnaround strategy implemented by Mr Tibone but also to the extent to which SBB has contributed to the fiscus of the BSE under the tenure of Mr Tibone. The shareholders from a profitability and management side are pleased with Mr Titose Tibone performance.” 

SBB says at this stage there is no threat of the company being insolvent, in fact, “we worry that with the removal of Mr Titose Tibone, the company might end up in such a position. Having said the above, which we felt would be necessary to bring to the attention of the Authority; we do note that the issue of Mr Titose Tibone’s removal will be dealt with separately.” 

SBB has sought clarification on imposition of a civil penalty because they are of the view that it can only be imposed on a person who has committed an act within the purview of that section and that the company cannot be penalized under that section. SBB says the civil penalty on the company will be unlawful.

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Khan: Boko, Masisi are fake politicians

18th January 2021
Masisi & Boko

While there is no hard-and-fast rule in politics, former Molepolole North Member of Parliament, Mohamed Khan says populism acts in the body politic have forced him to quit active partisan politics. He brands this ancient ascription of politics as fake and says it lowers the moral compass of the society.

Khan who finally tasted political victory in the 2014 elections after numerous failed attempts, has decided to leave the ‘dirty game’, and on his way out he characteristically lashed at the current political leaders; including his own party president, Advocate Duma Boko. “I arrived at this decision because I have noticed that there are no genuine politics and politicians. The current leaders, Boko and President Dr Mokgweetsi Masisi are fake politicians who are just practicing populist politics to feed their egos,” he said.

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Ookeditse rejects lobby for BPF top post

18th January 2021
LAWRENCE-OOKEDITSE

Former Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) parliamentary hopeful, Lawrence Ookeditse has rejected the idea of taking up a crucial role in the Botswana Patriotic Front (BPF) Central Committee following his arrival in the party this week. According to sources close to development, BPF power brokers are coaxing Ookeditse to take up the secretary general position, left vacant by death of Roseline Panzirah-Matshome in November 2020.

Ookeditse’s arrival at BPF is projected to cause conflicts, as some believe they are being overlooked, in favour of a new arrival. The former ruling party strategist has however ruled out the possibility of serving in the party central committee as secretary general, and committed that he will turn down the overture if availed to him by party leadership.

Ookeditse, nevertheless, has indicated that if offered another opportunity to serve in a different capacity, he will gladly accept. “I still need to learn the party, how it functions and all its structures; I must be guided, but given any responsibility I will serve the party as long as it is not the SG position.”

“I joined the BPF with a clear conscious, to further advance my voice and the interests of the constituents of Nata/Gweta which I believe the BDP is no longer capable to execute.” Ookeditse speaks of abject poverty in his constituency and prevalent unemployment among the youth, issues he hopes his new home will prioritise.

He dismissed further allegations that he resigned from the BDP because he was not rewarded for his efforts towards the 2019 general elections. After losing in the BDP primaries in 2018, Ookeditse said, he was offered a job in government but declined to take the post due to his political ambitions. Ookeditse stated that he rejected the offer because, working for government clashed with his political journey.

He insists there are many activists who are more deserving than him; he could have chosen to take up the opportunity that was before him but his conscious for the entire populace’s wellbeing held him back. Ookeditse said there many people in the party who also contributed towards party success, asserting that he only left the BDP because he was concerned about the greater good of the majority not individualism purposes.

According to observers, Ookeditse has been enticed by the prospects of contesting Nata/Gweta constituency in the 2024 general election, following the party’s impressive performance in the last general elections. Nata/Gweta which is a traditional BDP stronghold saw its numbers shrinking to a margin of 1568. BDP represented by Polson Majaga garnered 4754, while BPF which had fielded Joe Linga received 3186 with UDC coming a distant with 1442 votes.

There are reports that Linga will pave way for Ookeditse to contest the constituency in 2024 and the latter is upbeat about the prospects of being elected to parliament. Despite Ookeditse dismissing reports that he is eying the secretary general position, insiders argue that the position will be availed to him nevertheless.

Alternative favourite for the position is Vuyo Notha who is the party Deputy Secretary General. Notha has since assumed duties of the secretariat office on the interim basis. BPF politburo is expected to meet on 25th of January 2020, where the vacancy will be filled.

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BDP cancels MPs retreat

18th January 2021
President Masisi

Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) big wigs have decided to cancel a retreat with the party legislators this weekend owing to increasing numbers of Covid-19 cases. The meeting was billed for this weekend at a place that was to be confirmed, however a communique from the party this past Tuesday reversed the highly anticipated meeting.

“We received a communication this week that the meeting will not go as planned because of rapid spread of Covid-19,” one member of the party Central Committee confirmed to this publication.
The gathering was to follow the first of its kind held late last year at party Treasurer Satar Dada’s place.

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