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Judge deliver final blow to Okaile, CMB

The High Court on 27 January 2022 confirmed a rule nisi issued against properties connected to Rapula Okaile and dispensed a Restraining Order under section 35 (3) of the Proceeds and Instruments of Crime Act. Judge O.M. Motumise has agreed with the Directorate of Public Prosecutions (DPP) that there is enough evidence to suggest that there is reasonable suspicion that the property could be proceeds of crime, and should be ceded to the Office of the Receiver.

The order relates to Lot No. 311, Extension 5, Gaborone, Lot No. 312, Extension 5, Gaborone, Lot No. 2839, Extension 10, Gaborone, Lot No. 22022, Gaborone West, Extension 13, Gaborone, Lot No. 57266, Block 10, Gaborone, Lot No. 3277, Extension 12, Gaborone, Ploughing field at Madiabatho, Pitseng, Scania Truck registered B 925 AUO, Toyota Land Cruiser registered B 925 BBU, Toyota Hilux registered B 675 AYU, Toyota Corrolla registered B 974 BBP, Toyota Corrolla, registered B 679 AZN, JCB Backhoe loader registered B603 APT, JCB Front end registered B 288 AKY, Massey Ferguson Tractor registered B 993 APJ, Tipper Truck registered B 737 ACE, Fuel tank trailer registered B479 BGB, Link Trailer registered B712 AJK, Link Trailer registered B 714 AJK, Link Trailer registered B 498 BGF, Link Trailer registered B 492 BGF, 18 Hydraulic Disc Plough serial number 4302, Row Planter serial number NB75-1272, Farrow Mould Board, serial number ARPG47110, Toyota Land Cruiser registered B587 BEW.

The main issue in the proceedings was to establish whether the various properties cited as respondents should be placed under restraint in terms of the proceeds and Instruments of Crime Act (PICA) on account of a reasonable suspicion that they are proceeds of crime and were acquired in furtherance of the offence of money laundering contrary to section 47 of PICA.

On 19 November 2019, the Director of Public Prosecutions brought an ex parte application in terms of sections 35 and 39 of PICA, for a rule nisi to secure and restrain the respondents pending confirmation of the rule nisi and the subsequent institution and finalisation of the civil forfeiture or civil penalty proceedings against the said respondents.

The DPP alleged in its ex parte application that the respondents (properties) were proceeds of crime in that they were bought with funds obtained by false pretences from the Botswana Public Officers Pension Fund (BPOPF) by Mr Rapula Okaile and or companies associated with him, amongst them; Capital Management Botswana (CMB), CMB Fund 1, and others.

The court had granted the rule nisi, placing the respondents (properties) under restraint and in the control of the Receiver pending confirmation of, or the discharge of the rule nisi. Judge Motumise confirmed the rule nisi on 25 February 2021, following a lengthy hearing. Okaile had filed extensive answering and supplementary affidavits contesting the rule nisi and seeking its discharge. The crux of his contention was that the properties were lawfully acquired from innocently derived income, Judge Motumise observed.

The Directorate on Corruption and Economic Crime (DCEC) received a report on the possible misappropriation of BPOPF funds by one of the directors of CMB, Rapula Okaile in November 2017. The allegations were of a serious nature, involving an amount in the region of P500 million. The DCECs Finance Investigation Unit set up a team of investigators to investigate the allegations. The investigations took about two years to complete. The investigations set out a detailed trail of funds which the BPOPF had intended to invest in private equity funds.

The relationship between Okailes CMB and the BPOPF was set in motion on 11 November 2014 when the two parties entered into an En Commandite Partnership Agreement whose object was the establishment of a partnership called (the BOP, or the Fund), a Botswana private equity fund established for the investment of BPOPF funds in portfolio companies to be approved by BPOPF. Under the agreement, the BOP would accept capital commitments; acquire, hold, and dispose investments in accordance with the Investment Policy of the BPOPF.

Judge Motumise observed that Okaile bought personal assets for himself with some of the BPOPF money. What Mr Okaile did not dispute that much of the money went into his company, CMBF1 whicjh was contrary to the En Commandite. It is more probable than not that the money was thus obtained under the false pretence that it was going to be invested on behalf of the BPOPF when that was not true. The purchase and registration of the properties (respondents) in Okailes name was not an investment on behalf of the BPOPF, the judge surmised.

The judge found that it was inconceivable for Okaile to have bought so many properties from his earnings and dividends. First, his monthly salary of P120 000.00 for the period 2016 and 2017 would have been less than P3, 000 000.00. If the dividends of P4, 000 000.0 arte added, the total would still havwe been less than P10 000 000. 00. Allowing living expenses, other household expenditure and tax obligations just to mention a few obvious expenses, Okailes disposable income would have been far less than the above total, Judge Motumise observed.

The judge agreed with the DPP, I have accordingly come to the conclusion that a case has been made in that it is more likely than not that the funds were obtained by false pretences from the BPOPF by Okaile. It is equally more likely than not that the purchase of the respondents was money laundering contrary to section 47 of PICA. By so doing Judge Motumise confirmed the rule nisi, subject to the exclusion of Lot 226, Extension 5 Gaborone, against which the DPP has abandoned its prayer for restraint.


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.


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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.


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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.









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