Tim Marsland strikes again
flexes muscle as CMB Director, majority shareholder
Vaka blames closure on Marsland
Embattled local insurance company, Bona Life, finally succumbed to boardroom brawls and closed shop on Thursday as shareholders failed to agree on the proposed names that were to compose the company board of directors.
Founder and Bona Life CEO Regina Sikalesele-Vaka said on Thursday in an interview that the company closed shop following disagreements over the composition of the board of directors which are expected to correct the situation at the company where they will be a board of directors that the executive management of Bona Life will report to.
Vaka hold percent in Bona Life says Bona Life has been caught in a fight which is between Botswana Public Officers Pension Fund (BPOPF) and CMB, both of which are also investors in Bona Life through company called Botswana Opportunities Partnership (BOP).
“It is CMB versus BPOPF, CMB versus NBFIRA, CMB versus the CEO,” Vaka said. By the CEO she was referring to herself. Vaka has recently herself survived a coup sponsored by CMB directors.
This she said, meant that with the Bona Life Company, peace no longer existed among the shareholders, saying she was also accused of mismanaging the company as its chief executive.
“Decisions that we could take that affect the company, there is no way we can make them because the participant and the shareholder are in dispute’” she said, adding that CMB ended up wanting to buy out BPOPF out of the investment.
Vaka says the company which at inception was a citizen owned company has now seen that disappearing as CMB now holds 40 percent while Vaka holds 25 percent and 10 percent held by the company staff, meaning that citizen ownership has now been reduced 35 percent.
The two parties, BPOPF and CMB have now gone for arbitration as they fight over the ownership of BOP.
With all these fights between shareholders, this meant decisions that could be made in relation to the running of the company could no longer be made. Vaka explained that they received a directive as Bona Life from the regulator informing them that part of the reasons that the company finds itself in this situation is composition of the board of directors which was said to be weak and were advised to appoint new members to the board.
“We met with CMB and met with BOP and I was tasked with the search for directors. I went to look for directors and submitted their names to the regulator for vetting,” she explained, adding that it was agreed that the company could no longer trade without the board in place as this exposed the company and its clients.
Vaka said the two names that she came up with were submitted to NBFIRA and then on the 27th of June, all changed as Tim Marsland who is a director in CMB reneged and proposed his name to be submitted along with that of another individual who is his associate. “I asked him where is this coming from because we have already agreed on the names as directors and I made him realize that CMB already has case with NBFIRA which is before the court of law.”
As CMB is already being investigated by different authorities, including DCEC, Vaka said there is no how a director in a company which is being investigated can be vetted through by the regulator and therefore this meant he was disqualified. “I asked him to nominate himself and not involve me, but it became a stalemate,” said Vaka, who was once the chief executive officer of Botswana Insurance Holdings Limited (BIHL).
Vaka says Marsland believes the only way the company can be successful is only when he is around but says the reason why the company find itself in this situation is because of his involvement as CMB in dispute with everyone. Vaka believes that if CMB was not involved, Bona Life would not be where it is right now.
Despite numerous attempts by Vaka to draw Marsland's attention to the rules and regulations of vetting, he is said to have maintained that was either his way or highway, something which has now led to the closure of the Bona Life, until a competent board has been constituted. Vaka says as soon as the board is appointed, the office will be re-opened and she says if the company could run as it is, it is putting its clients at risk. “What we have said in all our letters is that we want to protect the annuity, especially for pensioners,” she said.
Vaka says it important to note that customers should not be confused, saying the only reason the company is closed is that it has no board of directors, and nothing else. On how soon will the board be composed, Vaka says she is confident the issue will be dealt with soon because Marsland has approached here, saying he wants the matter to be resolved in an amicable way and does not want it to end before the court of law.
Efforts to reach CMB directors, including its CEO Rapula Okaile and Marsland proved futile as their mobile phones did not go through late Friday.