DCEC closes in on ex BCL bosses

SHARE   |   Wednesday, 03 July 2019   |   By Phillimon Mmeso
Mathambo Mathambo

Graft busters from the Directorate on Corruption and Economic Crime (DCEC) are closing in on former executive management team and Board of Directors of the now closed BCL Limited over allegations of looting the company through the POLARIS II Strategy.

BCL Ltd wholly owns BCL Mine and BCL Investments, as well as an 85% stake in Tati Nickel Mining Company. Highly placed sources have revealed that investigations by the corruption bursting agency with the assistance of Directorate of Intelligence Services (DIS) have unearthed crucial information, which proves that there have been some looting and money laundering during the ambitious project by the mine's executive management.

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A recently released status report by the BCL liquidator Dixon-Warren reveals that Directors refused to be investigated under oath over their role in the collapse of BCL Limited company. Information gathered by this publication has shown that during the POLARIS II Strategy  implementation  some top managers and directors found a loophole to loot money from the company through unscrupulous transactions and investing in companies  where due diligence was not done. Things took a downward spiral after the approval of the ambitious POLARIS II Strategy in 2015 which was meant transform the company into a diversified enterprise.

Properties

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Now, some Directors are being investigated for buying properties in the upmarket leafy suburbs of Johannesburg and Cape Town. It is suspected the properties and farms are proceeds of kickbacks from the controversial ill-fated US$ 271 million deal by BCL Limited to acquire 50% shares in Nkomati Nickel from Norilsk Nickel.

It has emerged that the BCL board negotiated the deal with Norilsk Nickel who were also part of the same board. Two ex-executive managers of the defunct BCL Ltd are said to have bought properties in South Africa during the negotiations to buy 50% of Norilsk Nickel Shares at Nkomati Mine in South Africa as part of POLARIS II.

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According to sources, some senior managers who were spearheading the POLARIS II strategy ensured that they use some of the money paid as commission to procure properties. In one instance one manager called the finance manager while on a working trip in Johannesburg and requested that P30 000 be deposited into his account as he still had more work to do. The manager didn’t account for the money after the working trip.

Although information is still sketchy regarding the properties in South Africa, highly placed sources within the security apparatus have revealed that some have already been identified. “Some of the properties were bought through their spouses or their children to try and hide the track but the paper trail is leading us to them,” the source revealed.

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Between 2014/15 three EXCO members were on ambitious personal projects of getting into farming and bought farms, two in Gantsi while the other one is in the Borolong area, this publication has learnt. DCEC officers are said to have visited the farms and the properties in South Africa for investigations.

Some of the possible conflicts being investigated

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Recycled Energy and Fuels

This is the company that was formed by the Vermas who were technical partners with BCL at Pula Steel Casting and Manufacturers, and had a key man’s agreement which prohibited technical partners from getting into another business that will compromise the casting and manufacturing plant.

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What raises eyebrows about Recycled Energy and Fuels Company for the investigators is the involvement of the BCL Managing Director Dan Mahupela’s wife as director in the company that had business relations with BCL.

Sarah Mahupela was appointed as one of the directors of the company on the 7th of July 2014 in the company that was to be based in Sefhope dealing with recycling waste resources.

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It is suspected the company which never operated was used to launder money from Pula Steel. The suspicion was fuelled by information indicating that for the month of July 2015, Pula Steel had gobbled P38 million.

DCEC confirms

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DCEC has confirmed that they have opened investigations regarding corruption allegations against BCL management team and members of the Board of Directors.

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In his maiden press briefing DCEC Director General Brigadier Joseph Mathambo confirmed that they reopened 13 cases of corruption which were closed in the past on allegations of insufficient information. Mathambo admitted that some of his officers might have colluded with perpetrators to ensure the investigations collapse.



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