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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.

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Fighting vulture poisoning in KAZA region.

3rd February 2023
As a response to avert vulture poisoning currently going on in Botswana and KAZA region, Birdlife Botswana has collaborated with three other partners (BirdWatch Zambia, BirdLife International & Birdlife Zimbabwe) to tackle wildlife poisoning which by extension negatively affect vulture populations.

The Director of Birdlife Botswana, Motshereganyi Virat Kootshositse has revealed in an interview that the project which is funded by European Union’s main goal is to reduce poisoning related vultures’ death and consequently other wildlife species death within the KAZA region.

He highlighted that Chobe district in Botswana has been selected as a pilot site as it has experienced rampant incidents of vulture poisoning for the past few months. In August this year at least 50 endangered white backed vultures were reported dead at Chobe National Park, Botswana after feeding on a buffalo carcass laced with poison.  In November this year again 43 white backed vultures were found dead and two alive after feeding on a zebra suspected to have poisoned.  Other selected pilots’ sites are Kafue in Zambia and Hwange in Zimbabwe.

Kootshositse further explained they have established a national and regional Wildlife Poisoning Committee. He added that as for the national committee they have engaged various departments such as Crop Productions, Agro Chemicals, Department of Veterinary Services, Department of Wildlife and National Parks and other NGOs such as Raptors Botswana to come together and find a long-lasting solution to address wildlife poisoning in Botswana. ‘Let’s have a strategy or a plan together to tackle wildlife poisoning,’ he stated

He also decried that there is gap in the availability of data about vulture poisoning or wildlife in general. ‘If we have a central point for data, it will help in terms of reporting and advocacy’, he stated

He added that the regional committee comprises of law enforcement officers such as BDF and Botswana police, village leadership such as Village Development Committee and Kgosi. ‘We need to join hand together and protect the wildlife we have as this will increase our profile for conservation and this alone enhances our visitation and boost our local economy,’ he noted

Kootshositse noted that Birdlife together with DWNP also addressed series of meeting in some villages in the Chobe region recently. The purpose of kgotla meetings was to raise awareness on the conservation and protection of vultures in Chobe West communities.

‘After realizing that vulture poisoning in the Chobe areas become frequent, we realise that we need to do something about it.  ‘We did a public awareness by addressing several kgotla meetings in some villages in the Chobe west,’ he stated

He noted that next year they are going to have another round of consultations around the Chobe areas and the approach is to engage the community into planning process. ‘Residents should be part of the plan of actions and we are working with farmers committee in the areas to address vulture poisoning in the area, ‘he added

He added that they have found out that some common reasons for poisoning wildlife are farmers targeting predators such as lions in retaliation to killing of their livestock. Another common incident cross border poaching in the Chobe area as poachers will kills an elephant and poison its carcass targeting vultures because of their aerial circling alerting authorities about poaching activities.

Kootshositse noted that in the last cases it was disheartening the incidents occurred three months apart. He added that for the first time they found that some of the body parts of some vultures were missing. He added harvesting of body parts of vultures is not a common practice in Botswana, although it is used in some parts of Africa. ‘We suspect that someone took advantage of the availability of carcasses and started harvesting their body parts,’

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Giant in the making: Everton Mlalazi

3rd February 2023

The music industry is at a point where artists are jostling for space because there are so many aspirants trying to get their big break, thus creating stiff competition.

In the music business it’s about talent and positioning. You need to be at the right place at the right time with the right people around you to propel you forward.
Against all odds, Everton Mlalazi has managed to takeover the gospel scene effortlessly.
To him, it’s more than just a breakthrough to stardom, but a passion as well as mission directly appointed by the Lord.

Within a short space of 2 years after having decided to persue a solo career, Mlalazi has already made it into international music scene, with his music receiving considerable play on several gospel television and radio stations in Botswana including other regional stations like Trace Africa, One Gospel, Metro FM in South Africa, Hope FM in Kenya and literally all broadcast stations in Zimbabwe.

It doesn’t only stop there, as the musician has already been nominated 2 times and 2 awards which are Bulawayo Arts Awards (BAA) best Male artists 2022, StarFM listerners Choice Award, Best Newcomer 2021 and ZIMA Best Contemporary Gospel 2022, MLA awards Best Male artist & Best Gospel Artist 2022.

Everton’s inspiration stems from his ultimate passion and desire to lead people into Godly ways and it seems it’s only getting started.
The man is a gospel artist to put on your radar.

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African countries call on WHO to increase funding

2nd February 2023

Minister of Health Dr Edwin Dikoloti says Africa member states call on World Health Organization (WHO) to ensure equitable resource allocation for 2024-2025. Dr Dikoloti was speaking this week at the WHO Executive Board Meeting in Geneva, Switzerland.

He said countries agreed that there is need to address the budget and funding imbalances by increasing the programme budget share of countries and regions to 75% for the next year.

“The proposed budget for 2024-2025 marks an important milestone as it is the first in Programme Budget in which country offices will be allocated more than half of the total budget for the biennium. We highly welcome this approach which will enable the organization to deliver on its mandate while fulfilling the expectations for transparency, efficiency and accountability.”

The Botswana Health Minister commended member states on the extension of the General Programme of Work (GPD 13) and the Secretariat work to monitor the progress towards the triple billion targets, and the health-related SDGs.

“We welcome the Director’s general proposed five priorities which have crystalized into the “five Ps” that are aligned with the GPW 13 extension. Impact can only be achieved through close coordination with, and support to national health authorities. As such, the strengthening of country offices is instrumental, with particular focus on strengthening national health systems and on promoting more equitable access to health services.”

According to Dr Dikoloti, the majority of countries with UHC index that is below the global median are in the WHO Africa region. “For that, we call on the WHO to enhance capacity at the regional and national levels in order to accelerate progress. Currently, the regional office needs both technical and financial support in order to effectively address and support country needs.”

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