Connect with us

WUC in P8million fraud scandal over HQ building payments

The Water Utilities Corporation (WUC) finds itself in a messy financial scandal following a misappropriated and misused P8 million payment relating to the construction of their headquarters building in Gaborone Central Business District-CBD- which has led to an intense quarrel and lawsuits between consultants.

Around 2013, WUC engaged consultants under a consortium model to construct and fund a head office in the CBD. The project entailed the formation of a special purpose vehicle, a company, the transfer of land in the Gaborone new CBD to the company, the raising of funds with which to finance the cost of the building, which will be guaranteed by WUC, setting the nature of security for payment of finance, the negotiation and settlement of a long term lease between WUC and the company in terms of which WUC will occupy the building as well as the potential of long-term lets by the company of undeveloped portions of the land to developers for development, which meets the criteria of WUC and the company.

The contract was awarded to Oil Refineries Botswana, which later engaged several consultants and grouped them under Belshane Property Group to ease dealing with WUC as a single body.

An engaged sub-consultant, Systems and Services Engineers owned by Alex Monchusi, was hired to provide a range of services to structure and secure private equity funding for the WUC headquarters office, which was done with ABSA bank. Oil Refineries Botswana and Belshane owner as team leader and other consultants later co-opted Monchusi, another subcontractor, as a member of Belshane Property Group consortium in good faith to lead the consortium up to the completion stage of the project.

The winner of the tender, Oil Refineries and Belshane owner, Olebeng Ngwakwena, in court papers say the appointment “sent a wrong message to Systems and Services Engineers owner, Monchusi” and gave him the impression that “he had taken over my brainchild and started bullying members of the team including sub-consultants.”

“The addition of Monchusi was done in good faith with the hope that there would be value add. Never intended that he would be a Leader of the House; Chief Whip; Class Monitor/Head Prefect,” says Ngwakwena in his affidavit, adding that “it was never intended that appointing Monchusi the leader gave him ownership of his company.”

The dispute and fallouts…

When the work was done, the consortium issued a fee note for payment to WUC. However, Ngwakwena says Monchusi and two employees of a local commercial bank which was also a member of the consortium, then following that letter wrote another letter under the letterhead of the consortium, without the consent and knowledge of others, instructing WUC to make the payment for the project to Monchusi’s company knowing that it was improper and that a process has already been triggered.

Ngwakwena and other consultants were not privy to the above arrangements to pay the applicant’s money to a third party. “It only became clearer from the Tax Invoice and bank statement that an initial payment of P1 million had already been paid to Monchusi,” said Ngwakwena. He added that while sub-contractors are looking for payments from them, Monchusi is merrymaking “in the comfort zone enjoying the money which does not belong to him”.

Ngwakwena says Monchusi is engaging in delay tactics in either returning the money or paying the consultants directly and tends to engage in long senseless letters under the letterhead of the consortium questioning their claims as a delaying tactic without the authority of Consortium members.

According to Ngwakwena, Monchusi has admitted to using the entire WUC payment for personal use. “Representatives from the bank – Badly and Sekwakwa who were co-authors of the letter that authorized WUC to pay the Consortium money to Monchusi were all out to try and protect Monchusi by withholding the information from their principal – the bank. Applicants have on several occasions requested Monchusi to return the money and approached the commercial bank to assist with the return of the money, but in vain.

Ngwakwena wants the court to order Monchusi to immediately deposit the P7 million in his possession that they irregularly obtained from WUC to the Registrar of the High Court for safekeeping to avert any risk or undue enrichment pending the finalization of the matter. They further demand the money with a 10 percent per interest per annum from when they took it.

WUC, which is also being sued for misdirecting a payment to a third party, is watching helplessly on the sidelines. The applicants say should the Monchusi return the money, the WUC suit will automatically fall.

Monchusi admits misappropriating WUC payment

Monchusi later admitted to using their money for personal use after attempts to avoid the matter in his many correspondences to all the sub-contractors. In an email, he promised fellow consultants that he was selling his properties to recover the money. “Parallel to the above, I have been speaking to the bank leadership to discuss ways that the bank can assist me,” he wrote.


BTC launches the 3rd Francistown Marathon 2024 and handover proceeds to the 2nd Francistown Marathon beneficiaries

8th December 2023

Botswana Telecommunications Corporation Limited (BTC) has announced that its 3rd Francistown Marathon will be held on Saturday 20th April 2024 at Obed Itani Chilume Stadium in Francistown. The BTC Francistown Marathon is officially recognised by World Athletics and a Comrades Marathon Qualifier will offer race categories ranging from 42.2km, 21.1 km, 10km, 5km fun run, 5km peace run for children and has introduced a 5km and 10km categories for wheelchairs athletics.

BTC also used this opportunity to announce beneficiaries who received donations from proceeds made from the 2nd BTC Francistown Marathon that was held on April 23rd 203.  BTC donated a play area, plastic chairs and wooden tables for pupils worth a total of thirty eight thousand, one hundred and three pula, fifty thebe each (P38, 103.50) to Monarch Primary School, Tatitown Primary School, Mahube Primary School and Gulubane Primary School. Ditladi and Boikhutso clinics each received a donation of benches, television sets and 10, 000 litre water tanks worth thirty seven thousan, eight hundred and ninety eight pula (P 37, 898.00). Additionally, BTC also donated seventy thousand pula (P70,000.00) to their marathon technical partner, Francistown Athletics Club (FAC) which will be used for daily operations as well as to purchase equipment for the club.

The BTC Francistown Marathon aligns seamlessly with BTC’s corporate social investment programme, administered through the BTC Foundation. This programme is a testament to BTC’s dedication to community development, focusing on key areas such as health promotion. The marathon, now in its third year, not only promotes a healthy lifestyle but also channels all proceeds to carefully chosen charities as part of BTC’s commitment to impactful and sustainable projects.

Speaking at the launch, the BTC Managing Director Mr Anthony Masunga stated that the marathon underscores BTC’s commitment to community upliftment and corporate social investment. He stated that “the annual event which has been in existence since 2016, having taken a break due to the covid and other logistical issues, is instrumental to the economic upliftment of the city of Francistown”. He congratulated all the beneficiaries for having been nominated to receive the donations, adding that “the donation of proceeds from the 2023 marathon aims to highlight BTC’s commitment and heart for Batswana and our continued impact in the different industries”.

He further stated that through this marathon, “we demonstrate our steadfast commitment to having a good influence on our communities, this event is a manifestation of our dedication to promoting education and a healthier, more active society”.  He concluded by stating that “BTC looks forward to another successful marathon that will leave a lasting positive influence on the greater Francistown community and the country at large” he said.

Giving welcome remarks, the Councillor for Donga, Honourable Morulaganyi Mothowabarwa stated that “he is ecstatic that BTC is collaborating with the City of Francistown on yet another installment of the Marathon”. He continued to offer his support to BTC to enable this marathon to continue over the coming years, stating that the “CSI element is a welcome development that helps empower our communities”, he said.

The 3rd BTC Francistown Marathon is officially open for registrations and athletes may use the following platforms to register and pay; through Smega by dialling *173# and choosing opton 5, then choose Option 3 for the Francistown marathon, at any BTC store or by visiting the BTC website and clicking on the BTC Francistown Marathon and choosing the relevant options.


Continue Reading


Letsholo lauds President Masisi’s digitization in fight against corruption

8th December 2023

Thapelo Letsholo, Member of Parliament for Kanye North, delivered a moving speech at the United Nations International Anti-Corruption Day commemoration, praising President Dr. Mokgweetsi Eric Keabetswe Masisi’s digitalization initiative in the fight against corruption. Letsholo highlighted the importance of embracing digitalization in governance as a crucial step in curbing corrupt practices.

According to Letsholo, the implementation of digital systems in government services can significantly reduce direct interactions between citizens and officials, which often serve as fertile grounds for corruption. By minimizing these opportunities for illicit activities, the efficiency and transparency of public services can be enhanced. Letsholo pointed to Estonia’s success in digital governance as an example, where public services have become more transparent, accessible, and efficient.

The MP commended President Masisi’s commitment to digitalization and E-Governance, emphasizing that it aligns with global anti-corruption standards. He called for full support and active participation from all sectors to ensure the success of this initiative.

Letsholo also stressed the importance of improving detection methods and refining whistleblower laws to effectively combat corruption. He highlighted the unseen and unspoken facets of corruption as its lifelines, emphasizing the need for robust detection mechanisms and a system that encourages and protects whistleblowers.

Addressing the societal role in fighting corruption, Letsholo focused on the crucial role of everyday citizens and civil servants who often witness corrupt practices firsthand. He acknowledged the existing reluctance to report corruption due to the perceived risks of repercussions. To change this narrative, Letsholo advocated for creating an environment where staying silent is deemed more detrimental than speaking out. He called for a cultural shift where the potential benefits of exposing corruption outweigh the risks, ensuring that whistleblowers are protected and feel secure in coming forward.

Letsholo called for collective responsibility and action in creating a system that not only detects and reports corruption but also supports those who stand against it. He expressed hope that under President Masisi’s digitalization initiatives, the future of governance in Botswana will be characterized by integrity, transparency, and accountability. Letsholo’s speech resonated with the sentiments of hope and determination that permeated the commemoration, emphasizing the need for unity in the fight against corruption.

In summary, Letsholo lauded President Masisi’s digitalization initiative in the fight against corruption, highlighting its potential to curb corrupt practices, enhance efficiency and transparency in public services, and align with global anti-corruption standards. He emphasized the importance of improving detection methods, refining whistleblower laws, and creating an environment where speaking out against corruption is encouraged and protected. Letsholo called for collective responsibility and action in creating a future characterized by integrity, transparency, and accountability in governance.


Continue Reading


FaR property assets value clock P1.47 billion

6th December 2023

FaR Property Company (FPC) Limited, a property investment company listed on the Botswana Stock Exchange, has recently announced its exceptional financial results for the year 2023. The company’s property asset value has risen to P1.47 billion, up from P1.42 billion in the previous year.

FPC has a diverse portfolio of properties, including retail, commercial, industrial, and residential properties in Botswana, South Africa, and Zambia. The company owns a total of 186 properties, generating rental revenues from various sectors. In 2023, the company recorded rental revenues of P11 million from residential properties, P62 million from industrial properties, and P89 million from commercial properties. Overall, the company’s total revenues increased by 9% to P153 million, while profit before tax increased by 22% to P136 million, and operating profit increased by 11% to P139 million.

One notable achievement for FPC is the low vacancy rate across its properties, which stands at only 6%. This is particularly impressive considering the challenging trading environment. The company attributes this success to effective lease management and the leasing of previously vacant properties in South Africa. FPC’s management expressed satisfaction with the results, highlighting the resilience of the company in the face of ongoing macroeconomic challenges.

The increase in profit before tax can be attributed to both an increase in income and effective control of operating expenses. FPC managed to achieve these results with fewer employees, demonstrating the company’s efficiency. The headline earnings per linked unit also saw an improvement, reaching 26.92 thebe, higher than the previous year.

Looking ahead, FPC remains confident in its competitiveness and growth prospects. The company possesses a substantial land bank, which it plans to develop strategically as opportunities arise. FPC aims for managed growth, focusing on consumer-driven developments and ensuring the presence of supportive tenants. By maintaining this approach, the company believes it can sustainably grow its property portfolio and remain competitive in the market.

In terms of the macroeconomic environment, FPC noted that inflation rates are decreasing towards the 3% to 6% range approved by the Bank of Botswana. This is positive news for the company, as it hopes for further decreases in interest rates. However, the fluctuating fuel prices, influenced by global events such as the war in Ukraine and oil output reductions by Russia and other Middle Eastern countries, continue to impact businesses, including some of FPC’s tenants.

FPC’s property portfolio includes notable assets such as a shopping mall in Francistown with Choppies Hyper as the anchor tenant, Borogo Mall located on the A33 main road near the Kazungula ferry crossing, and various industrial and commercial properties in Gaborone leased to Choppies, Senn Foods, and Clover Botswana. The company also owns a shopping mall in Mafikeng and Rustenburg in South Africa.

The majority of FPC’s properties, 85%, are located in Botswana, followed by 12% in South Africa and 3% in Zambia. With its strong financial performance, competitive position, and strategic land bank, FPC is well-positioned for continued growth and success in the property market.









Continue Reading