Willie Mokgatlhe, Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of state oil company, Botswana Oil Limited (BOL) said that his company does not, in any way, have an influence on how the National Petroleum Fund (NPF) money is distributed.
According to Mokgatlhe, many confuse the role of BOL and the control of the NPF. The NPF was established under the NPF Order which is under the Finance Act. The role of the NPF was to provide funding for the construction and management of fuel storage facilities, procure petroleum products as well as to stabilize fuel pricing.
The important distinction according to Mokgatlhe is that the management of the NPF is the responsibility of the Ministry of Mineral Resources, Green Technology and Energy Security. It is the Ministry that issues directives as to which projects should be undertaken from the NPF. BOL, on other hand is mandated to manage fuel storage reserves and is also responsible for the procurement of petroleum products. While it does so using funds from the NPF, Mokgatlhe said BOl does not control or have influence in the NPF, but it gets a specific amount which also services its purpose as per agreement with government.
He emphasised that BOL does not sit on the NPF Management Committee which takes decisions on the NPF spending. When the fund decides on any investment or project, BOL is then told by the Ministry of a project it has to undertake and is funded accordingly.
Mokgatlhe was responding to an article in the Botswana Gazette which he believes gave the impressions that he may have used his influence as BOL CEO to persuade the NPF to invest in property firm, Far Properties Limited (a publicly listed company) in which he is director.
Mokgatlhe said investment decisions on the NPF are taken solely by companies contracted to issue investment services to the NPF, which he said are made after the investment company alone, assesses and establishes the viability of such an investment. He added that while he is director at FAR, he is not a shareholder which means he does not gain any direct financial benefit from his position.
A recent audit report on the NPF by the Auditor General has shown that an amount of P4 469 744 had been invested in FAR from the NPF.