Once the darling of the financial services sector embattled businessman Bakang Seretse is on the radar of South African police investigating the murder of his business partner Vusi Mhlanzi, who was killed on August 31, 2017. Seretse has confirmed to South Africa's Mail & Guardian that he has been in contact with the police. A Gauteng police spokesperson told the publication that "should a need arise at any stage of the investigations for collaboration between the SAPS and law enforcement authorities in another country, the appropriate process will be followed." M&G reports that Mhlanzi was shot dead while driving home on the corner of Grayston and Katherine streets just after 6:30pm when gunmen in a silver car pulled up next to his convertible Mercedes Benz and opened fire seven times. He was hit six times. Seretse and Mhlanzi were business partners at Basis Points Capital, a company formed by the latter in South Africa and later expanded into Botswana. Mhlanzi was the Managing Director of Basis Points and even signed a three-year contract with Department of Energy Affairs and his company for the management of the National Petroleum Fund (NPF). According to fresh information published by Mail & Guardian on Friday, email correspondence between the business partners shows that before his killing Mhlanzi had been concerned after finding out that a suspicious bank account opened under his company without his knowledge. M&G reports that the controversial bank account could be linked to the financial scandal Seretse is currently facing with his co-accused former Director of Department of Energy Affairs Kenneth Kerekang and Botho Leburu.
Mhlanzi is said to have found out about the suspicious bank account three weeks before he was shot and contacted his partner Seretse and Basis Points Capital Financial Director Hope Tawengwa to investigate how the suspicious account was opened and by whom. Mhlanzi, who was the authorised signatory of Basis Points at National Petroleum Fund, is said to have asked Seretse through email to investigate how the unauthorised bank account was opened and suggested that auditors be engaged or independent investigators. According to M&G, Seretse is said to have responded via email saying it appeared to have been a misunderstanding about shelf companies. Seretse is said to have informed Tawengwa that he will meet with Mhlanzi to discuss the issue, a message relayed to the latter just two days before he was shot dead in what is suspected to be a hit. M&G reports that, according Mhlanzi's family, he was planning to come to Botswana to discuss the suspicious account with Seretse who had requested that it be treated internally rather than involving auditors. M&G also reports that a day before he was killed, an amount of P2 million was paid into an unspecified FNB account from the suspicious bank account. According to court papers in the on-going money laundering case against Seretse, between August 07, 2017 and November, 27, 2017 in Gaborone, he received over P320 million from the National Petroleum Fund (NPF). It was during the three weeks before Mhlanzi was shot dead in a drive by shooting that Kerekang on the 7th of August 2017 approved the disbursement of P250 million to an account held by a company known as Khulaco.
An affidavit filed by the State says P230 million was disbursed from the NPF by the fund managers to Khulaco (Pty) Ltd, a company not concerned with the business of Government. The fund disbursed into the Khulaco account, according to the court papers was used to purchase properties. It was also established through investigations by Directorate of Corruption and Economic Crime (DCEC) that Kenneth Kerekang as the Director of DEA had no authority to approve the disbursement of funds as the authority to approve lay with the Fund Management Committee. “It was further averred that the management of the National Petroleum Fund vested in Basis Points Capital (Pty) Ltd in terms of management contract signed with the Department of Energy on the 16th of December 2015 for 3 years. It was averred that Kgori Capital (Pty) Ltd was appointed by a letter signed by Kenneth Kerekang to be Fund Managers despite the existence of the contract signed with Basis Points Capital (Pty) Ltd,” reads answering affidavit from the state.
Role of Mhlanzi in NPF
On Tuesday 15th December 2015 in a meeting held in Gaborone Board of Directors of Basis Points Capital resolved that Vusi Mhlanzi in his capacity as Managing Director of the company was authorised to sign the agreement between the Department of Energy and Basis Point Capital. The resolution of the Board of Directors reads thus, “that Vusi Mhlanzi be and is hereby authorised , from time to time, to review this Agreement, renegotiate it with the Department of Energy and sign for any amendments and/or adjustments as may be agreed by the parties in accordance with the provisions hereof.” It further stated that, “that in his or her sole and absolute discretion the said Vusi Mhlanzi be and is hereby authorised to appoint and mandate any representative(s) as may be necessary in consequence thereof.” Basis Points, which was paid P15 million by Department of Energy Affairs, was also mandated to invest funds of NPF in investments as directed by the National Petroleum Committee to ensure that the funds are kept fully invested at maximum rates available in the market at all times. After Mhlanzi's death Botho Leburu was appointed as Managing Director of Basis Points Capital. She is also facing money laundering charges alongside Seretse and Kerekang.