CMB scandals emerge as witnesses give evidence

Embattled private equity company, Capital Management Botswana (CMB)’s shoddy dealings have come to the fore this week during the creditors meeting.

This week, various witnesses took a stand to give their evidence before the Master of the High Court during the creditors meeting of CMB, which has been placed under liquidation.

As the struggle to trace the missing P400 million belonging to pensioners through Botswana Public Officers Pension Fund (BPOPF) starts, the court learned this week how directors of CMB’s allegedly squandered millions that currently remain unaccounted for.

CMB, together with BPOPF were in partnership through an investment vehicle called Botswana Opportunities Partnership (BOP), of which CMB was a fund manager.

Corporate lawyer, Rizwan Desai this week Wednesday admitted to knowledge of some of the dealings by CMB directors, including the bid to attempted removal of BPOPF Chief Executive Officer, Boitumelo Molefe from her position.

Rizwan was giving evidence in court during the creditors meeting.

Desai told court that one director of CMB, Tim Marsland, who is also the director of Capital Management Africa (CMA), which in turn holds a significant stake in CMB, was confident that once Molefe was removed from position, CMB will be able to get more funds from the pension fund to finance more investments in Lobatse Clay Works, Wilderness Safaris and Yarona Media Holdings (YMH).

The matter of contention is that BPOPF had made a commitment to contribute P500 million to BOP, and as its appointed manager, CMB was to use this capital to invest in private equity investments.

A total of P470 million is said to have been disbursed by BPOPF to CMB to invest, but later CMB is said to have requested P70 million, as opposed to the remaining P30 million of the initial half a million.

At some stage, it was reported that CMB claimed to have sold BPOPF stake in BOP for a paltry P50 million, though the pension fund’s interests in the Partnership was valued at over P400 million.

Deswai claimed that at some point, funds meant for the BOP account were diverted into the CMB account by the CMB directors.

As the liquidation process for CMB sets in motion, more prominent figures are expected to give evidence the High Court, and already former minister of minerals, Sadique Kebonang has appeared to give his account.

In September last year, Lobatse High Court Judge, Justice Mercy Garekwe placed CMB under liquidation and appointed John Little of Corporate Services as the liquidator.

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