Gaolathe in CMB scandal

SHARE   |   Wednesday, 16 October 2019   |   By Ditiro Motlhabane
Gaolathe Gaolathe

President of Alliance for Progressives (AP), Ndaba Gaolathe could find himself in the dock to explain his relationship and dealings with controversial asset management firm Capital Management Botswana (CMB) when the trial of its Directors Rapula Okaile and Timothy Marsland gets underway.

The duo are facing serious criminal charges. Okaile, who has already appeared before court, his partner Marsland who is fighting extradition to Botswana in South African courts and their company CMB are facing numerous charges ranging from fraud, money laundering, bribery and racketeering over the embezzlement of P440 million obtained under suspicious circumstances from Botswana Public Officers Pension Fund (BPOPF).

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In total Gaolathe was paid P1, 333, 338 from a CMB Call Account for the period between 29 May 2017 until 10 January 2018. The funds were paid in batches of P166, 666 each at regular intervals for the nine months. The CMB connection with Gaolathe, who is contesting the parliamentary seat in Gaborone Bonnington South under the AP ticket, was uncovered by a forensic audit on CMB financial transactions for the purposes of a liquidation court process emanating from the operations of Botswana Opportunities Partnership (BOP)- a P500 million private equity fund set up by BPOPF to promote and grow local investment. CMB had been awarded an asset management contract to operate the BOP and identify investment opportunities for the funds in different sectors according to a contract entered into with BPOPF. Through another investment holding company for private equity management, known as Capital Management Botswana Fund One (CMBF1), which appears in transactions with Gaolathe (see picture), CMB invested in Bona Life - a local medical aid provider led by Regina Vaka Sikalesele. Bona Life have had their own share of drama with CMB.

Gaolathe became entangled in CMB through its parent company Capital Management Africa (CMA)-wholly owned by Marsland- after the latter bought all the shareholding at Fleming Asset Management Botswana from Robert Fleming Botswana Holdings and Starfish. Fleming, who had a 'technical partnership agreement' with Gaolathe, fell into hard times after its Executive was exposed in a scandal involving a banker at Stanbic Bank Botswana. Ironically, BPOPF funds were at the centre of the scandal at Fleming who were an asset manager appointed by the Fund. CMA acquired 100 per cent issued shares in Fleming.

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From the onset the award of the BOP portfolio to CMB raised eyebrows because Okaile resigned from public service -where he was a subordinate to the then Director of Public Service Management (DPSM) Carter Morupisi- a day before he was appointed the Chief Executive Officer of the company. Moreover, shortly before then Okaile had left the Chairmanship of BPOPF to pave the way for Morupisi to take reigns.

Despite a spirited attempt to have him impeached, Morupisi stood his ground and served out a tumultuous term as BPOPF Chairman, even ascending the public service ladder at government enclave to Permanent Secretary to the President (PSP). He was recently suspended after being charged alongside his wife for their dubious relationship with Okaile, Marsland and CMB. Morupisi's name had been repeatedly mentioned by prominent figures like Bakang Seretse of Kgori Capital and Lekalake in relation to the CMB scandal. On Friday 30th August 2019 Morupisi was charged with three counts of money laundering, abuse of office and bribery. His wife, Pinny Morupisi in her capacity as the Director of G7 Group (Pty) Ltd is charged with laundering R630 9888.99 which was proceeds of crime, to buy a double cab Toyota Land Cruiser from a South African dealership on May 15, 2017. 

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The case will be heard in November.

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In an effort to reach Gaolathe for a comment The Patriot on Sunday contacted AP spokesperson Boniface Bashi Mabeo, himself a parliamentary candidate for Ramotswa Constituency, who explained that Ndaba currently does not have a cell phone. He, however, agreed to receive a copy of an excerpt from the BOP forensic audit via WhatsApp together with a set of questions and bring them to the attention of Gaolathe.  At the time of going to print none of them had responded to our enquiry.



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