How troubled Boseto mine collapsed
After barely three years of operation, Boseto mine has been closed after being declared insolvent by its Board of Directors. The Discovery Metals Limited’s 100% owned copper mine has had a series of operational difficulties and battled debts since production commenced in the first half of 2012.
The financially troubled mine in its last quarterly report (Q2 FY15) experienced a mass decline by 13% of its copper production compared to Q1 FY15. The Copper Mine which lies in the north-west part of Botswana, about 90KM from Maun had an initial evaluated mine life of 15 years with an expansion plan that was to increase the life of the mine to 25 years.
On the fateful morning of Friday 27 the company was forced to shut down its operations, leaving about 422 miners unemployed. Reports are that this came after the company’s Managing Director and also Chief Executive Officer, Bob Fulker announced to the employees that its Group lenders in Australia submitted a letter of demand for an immediate payment of 103 million US dollars from the company and that they would not be accepting any further proposal from alternative potential investors.
With the help of Botswana Police Service and the Directorate of Intelligence Services and Security workers, the employees were forced to evacuate the mining premises and raided into buses which transported them to Maun.
DML recently published a market release titled “Appointment of Administrators” dated 27 February 2015 which explains how the company came to be declared insolvent. In the statement the company announces that its Board of Directors has appointed Michael Ryan and Stefan Dopking of FTI Consulting as voluntary administrators of the company effective 27 February 2015, pursuant to section 436A of the Corporations Act of 2001.
According to the report, the administrators are working with the company’s management to fully understand the options available to the group, which may potentially include seeking expressions of interest to purchase the business and assets, a restructure or recapitalization of the group.
DML explained that the receipt of the Friday 27 2015 correspondence from its Lender Group who demanded from the company full and immediate repayment of all monies comprising principal repayments, interest and costs was only the beginning.
On the 9th February 2015, DML entered into a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with Castlepines Global Equities Limited (Castlepines). Under the terms of the MOU Castlepines proposed to invest US$110,000,000 into the DML’s wholly owned subsidiary Discovery Copper (Botswana) (Proprietary) Limited (DCB), which would provide Castlepines with a 34% interest in DCB with the company holding the remaining 66% interest in DCB.
According to the report part of the investment was intended to be utilized by the Company and DCB to pay-out the loan from Cupric Canyon Capital LP (Cupric) of US$5,000,000 pursuant to the Facility Agreement dated on 28 November 2014. Also to negotiate the settlement of the existing loan finance facility with the Company’s secured lending syndicate (based on the MOU) and sufficient capital to undertake the required underground development.
However, following provision of the MOU to the Company’s Lender Group DML received a Notice of Event of Default dated 10 February 2015 from the Lender Group advising that the execution of the MOU by the Company was a likely breach of the Amended and Restated Facility Agreement dated 13 July 2014. The Company then disputed the position taken by the Lender Group in this Notice of Event of Default.
The statement further indicated that as a result of the Notice of Event of Default dated 10 February 2015, Cupric also issued a “Notice of Default and Reservation of Rights.” The notice was claiming breach of the Facility Agreement between the DML and Cupric dated 13 February 2015. According to the report Cupric is provided with a right to issue a notice of default via the Priority Deed pursuant to the Cross Default provisions.
It is underscored that members of the DML Board and Executive Team then traveled to London to engage in discussions with the Company’s lending syndicate. The purposes of these discussions were to resolve any issue provided for under the disputed Notice of Event of Default dated 10 February 2015.
It was also meant to discuss the MOU with Castlepines and the actions required by the parties to proceed progressing with the transaction contemplated under the MOU and any other matter relevant to the Amended and Restated Facility Agreement dated 13 July 2014 which either party considered necessary to resolve.
Following these discussions and at the express request and encouragement of the Lenders, DML reports to have then formally wrote to the Lenders requesting written agreement of retracting the Notice of Event of Default dated 10 February 2015. It also demanded implementation of a Standstill Period of no less than six months pertaining to all obligations and requirements pursuant to the Amended and Restated Facility Agreement and whereby no enforcement action would be taken by the lending syndicate.
In addition it also requested for the lending syndicate to accept the proposal of Castlepines to settle all amounts owing by DML in accordance with the terms provided for in the MOU with Castlepines. Also to complete a Share Purchase Plan or Rights Issue allowing for interim funding to be raised to provide the Company with some working capital and to pay part or all of the Loan payable to Cupric pursuant to the Facility Agreement dated 28 November 2014.
In response DML is reported to have received a notice that the Lender Group will not provide the written agreement requested by the company. The statement reveals that DML remains in default of the Restated and Amended Facility Agreement with the lending syndicate dated 13 July 2014 and the Facility Agreement with Cupric dated 28 November 2014. It adds that the Company is unable to remedy these defaults.
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The curtain came down at the PAP session with pomp and FUNFAIR
It was pomp and funfair at the Pan-African Parliament (PAP) on March 18 as the African Cultural Music and Dance Association (ACUMDA) brought the curtains down on the PAP session with a musical performance.
The occasion was the celebration of the Pan-African Parliament Day (PAP Day) which commemorated the inauguration of the first Parliament of the PAP on 18 March 2004 at the African Union Headquarters in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.
The celebrations took place at the seat of the Parliament in Midrand to “reflect on the journey” as the institution turns 19. The event sought to retrace the origin and context of the establishment of the PAP.
The celebrations included musical performances by ACUMDA and a presentation by Prof. Motshekga Mathole of the Kara Heritage Institute on “Whither Pan-Africanism, African Culture, and Heritage.”
The PAP Day was officially launched in 2021 to educate citizens about the Continental Parliament and ignite conversations about its future in line with its mandate.
The establishment of the PAP among the AU organs signalled a historical milestone and the most important development in the strengthening of the AU institutional architecture. It laid solid groundwork for democratic governance and oversight within the African Union system and provided a formal “platform for the peoples of Africa to get involved in discussions and decision-making on issues affecting the continent.”
The genesis of the PAP can be legally traced back to 1991 with the adoption of the Treaty Establishing the African Economic Community, adopted on June 3, 1991, in Abuja (also known as the Abuja Treaty). This treaty defined the pillars and grounds for realizing economic development and integration in Africa and called for the creation of a continental parliament, among a set of other organs, as tools for the realization of African integration and economic development. This call was reemphasized in the Sirte Declaration of 1999, which called for the accelerated implementation of the provisions of the Abuja Treaty.
PAP celebrated its ten years of existence in March 2014, a year which coincided with the adoption, on June 27, 2014, in Malabo, Equatorial Guinea, of the Protocol to the Constitutive Act of the African Union relating to the Pan-African Parliament (PAP Malabo Protocol), which, once in force, will transform the PAP into a legislative body of the AU. It requires a minimum of 28 countries to ratify it before it comes into force.
Therefore, the commemoration of PAP Day serves as a reminder to the decision-makers around the continent to fulfil their commitment to the PAP by ratifying its Protocol, 19 years after sanctioning its establishment. 14 AU member states have so far ratified the Malabo Protocol.
The celebrations of PAP Day coincided with the closing ceremony of the sitting of the PAP Permanent Committees and other organs. The Sitting took place in Midrand, South Africa under the AU theme for 2023, “Accelerating the implementation of African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA)” from 6 to 17 March 2023.
PAP President, H.E. Chief Fortune Charumbira, expressed appreciation to members for their commitment during the two-week engagement.
“We have come to the end of our program, and it is appropriate that we end on a high note with the PAP Day celebrations.
“We will, upon your return to your respective countries, ensure that the work achieved over the past two weeks is transmitted to the national level for the benefit of our citizens,” concluded H.E. Chief Charumbira.
PAP needs to priorities land issues-Prof Mathole
Prof Motshekga Mathole of the Kara Heritage Institute has advised the Pan-African Parliament (PAP) to prioritise the land issue in the continent if they are to remain relevant.
He said this while addressing the Plenary during the commemoration of PAP Day held at the PAP Chambers in Midrand, South Africa
The PAP Day was officially launched in 2021 to commemorate the inauguration of the first Parliament on 18 March 2004 in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. Intended as a platform for people of all African states to be involved in discussions and decision-making on problems and challenges facing the continent.
In a speech titled “Whither Pan-Africanism, African Culture, and Heritage,” Prof Mathole stated that for PAP to remain relevant, it must address the continent’s key land dilemma, which he feels is the core cause of all problems plaguing the continent
“If this Parliament is to be taken seriously, ownership of land and natural resources must be prioritized at the national and continental levels. Africans are not poor; they are impoverished by imperialist nations that continue to hold African land and natural resources,” said Prof Mathole.
“When African leaders took power from colonialists, they had to cope with poverty, unemployment, and other issues, but they ignored land issues. That is why Africa as a whole is poor today. Because our land and minerals are still in the hands of colonizers, Africa must rely on Ukraine for food and Europe for medical.”
Prof Mathole believes that the organization of the masses is critical as cultural revolution is the only solution to Africa’s most problems.
“We need a cultural revolution for Africa, and that revolution can only occur if the masses and people are organized. First, we need a council of African monarchs since they are the keepers of African arts, culture, and heritage. We need an African traditional health practitioners council because there is no ailment on the planet that cannot be healed by Africans; the only problem is that Africans do not harvest and process their own herbs,” he said.
Meanwhile, PAP President, H.E. Hon Chief Fortune Charumbira expressed satisfaction with the commitment displayed throughout the two-week period and said the PAP Day celebrations were befitting curtains down to the august event.
“On this high note of our two-week engagement, it is appropriate that we close our program on a high note with PAP celebrations, and I would like to thank everyone for your commitment, and please continue to be committed,” said H.E Hon Chief Charumbira.
PAP’s purpose as set out in Article 17 of the African Union Constitutive Act, is “to ensure the full participation of African people in the development and economic integration of the continent”. As it stands, the mandate of the Parliament extends to consultation and playing an advisory and oversight role for all AU organs pending the ratification protocol.
Also known as the Malabo Protocol, the Protocol to the consultative act of the AU relating to the PAP was adopted at the Assembly of Heads of State and Government summit in June 2014 and is intended to extend the powers of the PAP into a fully-fledged legislative organ. It requires a minimum of 28 countries to ratify it before it comes into force.
The commemoration of the PAP Day, therefore, serves as a reminder to the decision-makers around the continent to fulfil their commitment to the PAP by ratifying its Protocol, 17 years after sanctioning its establishment. 14 AU member states have so far ratified the Malabo Protocol.
The PAP Day commemoration also aims to educate citizens about the PAP and ignite conversations about the future of the continental Parliament in line with its mandate.
DPP drops Kably threat to kill case
The Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) Chief Whip and Member of Parliament for Letlhakeng/Lephephe Liakat Kably has welcomed the Directorate of Public Prosecution (DPP)’s decision not to prosecute BDP councillor, Meshack Tshenyego who allegedly threatened to kill him. However, the legislator has warned that should anything happen to his life, the state and the courts will have to account.
In an interview with this publication, Kablay said he has heard that the DPP has declined to prosecute Tshenyego in a case in which he threatened to kill him adding that the reasons he received are that there was not enough evidence to prosecute. “I am fine and at peace with the decision not to prosecute over evidential deficits but I must warn that should anything happen to my life both the DPP and the Magistrate will have to account,” Kablay said.
Connectedly, Kably said he has made peace with Tshenyego, “we have made peace and he even called me where upon we agreed to work for the party and bury the hatchet”.
The DPP reportedly entered into a Nolle Prosequi in the matter, meaning that no action would be taken against the former Letlhakeng Sub-district council chairperson and currently councillor for Matshwabisi.
According to the charge sheet before the Court, councilor Tshenyego on July 8th, 2022 allegedly threatened MP Kably by indirectly uttering the following words to nominatedcouncilor Anderson Molebogi Mathibe, “Mosadi wa ga Liakat le ban aba gagwe ba tsile go lela, Mosadi wame le banake le bone ba tsile go lela. E tla re re mo meeting, ka re tsena meeting mmogo, ke tla mo tlolela a bo ke mmolaya.”
Loosely translated this means, Liakat’s wife and children are going to shed tears and my wife and kids will shed tears too. I will jump on him and kill him during a meeting.
Mathibe is said to have recorded the meeting and forwarded it to Kably who reported the matter to the police.
In a notice to the Magistrate Court to have the case against Tshenyego, acting director of Public Prosecutions, Wesson Manchwe cited the nolle prosequi by the director of public prosecution in terms of section 51 A (30) of the Constitution and section 10 of the criminal procedure and evidence act (CAP 08:02) laws of Botswana as reasons for dropping the charges.
A nolle prosequi is a formal notice of abandonment by a plaintiff or prosecutor of all or part of a suit or action.
“In pursuance of my powers under section 51 A (300 of the Constitution and section 10 of the criminal procedure and evidence act (CAP 08:02) laws of Botswana, I do hereby stop and discontinue criminal proceedings against the accused Meshack Tshenyego in the Kweneng Administrative District, CR.No.1077/07/2022 being the case of the State vs Tshenyego,” said Manchwe. The acting director had drafted the notice dropping the charges on 13th day of March 2023.
The case then resumed before the Molepolole Magistrate Solomon Setshedi on the 14th of March 2023. The Magistrate issued an order directing “that matters be withdrawn with prejudice to the State, accused is acquitted and discharged.”