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Bluthorn milked Councils, Unions of millions of pula

It is not raining but pouring for Bluthorn Fund Managers (BFM) as the latest revelations from the liquidator paints a picture of a non-compliant company that deviated from its core mandate to swindle various entities money and enrich its shareholders.

A report by the company liquidator Thekiso Kopanang says following the appointment of Peter Collins in April 2020 as the Statutory Manager who was appointed by NBFIRA as the statutory manager of BFM in terms of Section 46 (4) of the Securities Act. This was on the basis that it appeared to NBFIRA that BFM: was not complying with a financial services law; was or is likely to be in an unsound financial position; or was or may be involved in a financial crime, reads the report.

According to the document, WeekendPost is on possession of, the findings of the affairs of BFM by the Statutory Manager in the Report can be summarized as follows:

BFM was engaged in a banking business unlawfully as it was taking deposits and lending on the proceeds for a margin even though it did not have a banking license; BFM was engaged in asset management activity even though it held no license for that activity; Despite BFM being licenced as a collective investment undertaking, there was no collectivized units capable of liquid disposal, and therefore nothing was collectivized, reads the report.

It goes on to say BFM was unable to meet its maturity obligations to certain clients who had invested funds in the amount of BWP96, 000,000.00 with BFM with the purpose of the funds accruing interest which ought to have been disbursed by BFM at the maturity date; BFM had no funds to meet its payment obligations to its clients whose investments have not yet matured, wherein such investments amount to BWP114 452 549.70. BFM was therefore liable to its investors in the total amount of BWP250, 000,000.00.

BFMs assets as set out in its balance sheet are overstated and not accounted for in the region of at least BWP120, 000,000.00; and BFM was the recipient of all client/investor funds but instead of taking on the responsibility of abiding the terms of its license as a collective investment undertaking, it invested the funds in its own unlicensed family companies. The Statutory Manager described relationship in the Group as equivalent of brother and sister sitting at a family lunch table and passing money between themselves.

According to documents availed by the liquidator, Gaborone City Council invested P20 million, Mogoditshane Sub District Council, P40 million, Ghanzi District Council, P40 million, Kgalagadi District Council P50 million, South East Sub District, P45 million, Southern District Council, P10 million, Tlokweng Sub District Council, P23 million, Hukuntsi Sub District Council, P2 million.

Tonota Sub District Council, P10 million and Kanye District Council (sic), P6 million. The most affected district councils are Letlhakeng Sub District Council which had deposited P15 million, South East District had deposited P10 million, Mahalapye Sub District Council, deposited P10 million. Land boards across the country were also not spared from losing millions in the investment scheme.

The investment transactions are said to have been between 2018 and 2019 with individuals and trade unions also in the list of the owed entities. Reports suggests that BFM has four minority shareholders holding 10 percent each of shares with the majority shareholding (60 percent) held by Blu Thorn Procurement Solutions which is 100 percent owned by B Thorn .

B Thorn being held by Eune Engelbrecht (40 percent) Kelebogile Sibisibi (40 percent) and Henk J van der Merwe (20 percent). From a shareholding perspective, it emerged the same Engelbrecht, Sibisibi and van der Merwe jointly own all the shares in the real holding company ,B Thorn, which owns the majority of shares in BFM.

The company according the NBFIRA was engaged in banking business unlawfully as it was not collectively investing investors funds but rather managed them individually and charged each investor individually.

When the convinced Kweneng District Council to invest their P15 million with envisaged returns of P300, 296, 72 after three months, Bluthorn offered a mouthwatering 8.25% interest rate while others bidders offered less than 5% interest rate.

The interest rate however is not fixed as the Fund Managers also negotiated different rates with other investors looking at what their competitors offer. The Report recommended that BFM be immediately wound up in terms of Section 47(4) of the Securities Act.


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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