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CHARGED: THE P500M CMB SLUSH FUND

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  • DPP slaps Okaile, Marsland with civil forfeiture proceedings
  • DCEC completes investigation, Court date looms
  • Docket handed to DPP
  • Directors obtained P120m from BPOPF under false pretenses
  • Millions moved to Channel Islands tax haven

LAWRENCE SERETSE & KABO MORITI

After private equity firm, Capital Management Botswana (CMB) Pty Ltd was awarded P880 million to invest on behalf of the Botswana Public Officers Pension Fund (BPOPF), directors Tim Marsland and Rapula Okaile created a separate bank account in the name of CMB Fund 1 (CMBF1), which was reportedly used to channel funds to purchase personal assets for Marsland, Okaile and their associates from Botswana, Zimbabwe, Zambia and South Africa, while cash was also stashed in various personal accounts in tax havens.

On the 27th of March 2019, The Department of Public Prosecutions (DPP) slapped Okaile as first respondent, Marsland as second respondent as well as CMB as third respondent with a civil forfeiture application alleging underlying offenses of money laundering and obtaining hundreds of millions from the Botswana Public Officers Pension Fund (BPOPF) under false pretenses, as a result of utilising the money to be invested for the public officers pensions for their own personal benefit.

The DPP acting on an investigation docket, recently submitted to them by the DCEC, after completing criminal investigations into a money trail amounting P477 million,has initiated criminal proceedings to recover the lost funds which they allege the CMB directors have squandered.

CMB was awarded a total of P880 million to manage on behalf of BPOPF, in two tranches, P500 million and subsequently an additional P380 million. The money was supposed to be managed from a special purpose vehicle called the Botswana Opportunities Partnership (BOP), in which CMB was General Partner while BPOPF was Limited Partner.

In court papers, the Director of DPP claims that affidavits by DCEC lead investigators Jako Hubona and Betty Leburu contain strong evidence against the respondents and that consequently; his office prepared the charges and verily believe there is substantive evidence to sustain the allegations against those being brought to court.

Court documents reveal that Okaile and Marsland have been charged with obtaining by false pretenses, contrary to Section 308 of Penal Code of Laws of the Republic of Botswana. According to the DPP, the charge is supported by the fact that CMB requested money from BPOPF under the pretext that they would invest the money for the benefit of BPOPF, but in the end the money was not used for the intended purpose. The DPP says that Okaile and Marsland made a false representation that the money will be used for investment whereas they knew that the money was going to be used for their own personal interests.

The DPP has also slapped the duo with Money Laundering charges contrary to Section 47 (b) of Proceeds and Instruments of Crime Act of 2014 of Laws of the Republic of Botswana. The charges according to court papers seen by this publication are supported by the fact that funds were diverted from partnership account and were either transferred to different persons or used to purchase personal property.

Documents held by Botswana Gazette reveal that P477.5 million was drawn down from the BPOPF in six tranches.

The first was P7.5 million, which was drawn down on the 5th of December 2014.
The second draw down of P57.5million was made on the 26th June 2015.
A further P12.5 million was taken on the 3rd of March 2016.

On the same month on the 31st, P150 million was drawn down by CMB, followed by another P150 million on the 13th of June in 2016. Further, on the 22nd June 2016, CMB also cashed another P100 million. Cumulatively, the money bulked up to a staggering P447.5 million.

According to investigations by the DCEC, CMB allegedly obtained the money from BPOF under false pretenses such that a separate account, CMBF1 of First National Bank (FNB) Call Account Number 62100023358, in which Okaile and Marsland were the only signatories.

The account was used to move funds for their personal benefit according to court documents filed by DPP. The funds were approved by the BPOPF and were transferred from BPOPF FNBB account number 62486246260 to Botswana Opportunities Partnership (BOP) FNBB account number 62506256602 on various dates corresponding to dates of authorisation of the investments, however CMB the documents reveal and CMB directors would later divert funds for their personal use. The DCEC docket reveals that money was spent on purchasing of property and to make payments for activities not related to the BPOPF investments, which expenditure has now become the basis for criminal charges preferred against Okaile and Marsland.

The DCEC found that on the 13th June 2016, Okaile made a request to BPOPF for a drawdown of P150 million, which he said was for the purchase of Shereto Investment, as an investment on behalf of the BPOPF. It emerges the BPOPF paid the P150 million into the Botswana Opportunities Partnership (BOP) FNBB account number 62506256602 on 16 June. Instead of buying Shereto Investments as per Okaile’s request on the drawdown, P24 908 424 was transferred on the 17th of June from the BOP account to Standard Bank of South Africa, account number 200897462 in the names of Sherewa Investment.

According to DCEC findings, this was a loan and documented as such in a loan agreement also appears in the documents seen by this publication. The loan was not mentioned to BPOPF in the draw down, which made reference only to the purchase of Shereto Investment.

Further, on the 14th of September 2016, an amount of P124 866 575 was transferred from the BOP account into FNBB account number 62100023358 in the names of Capital management Botswana Fund 1 (CMBF1). It is through this account that money was allegedly squandered.

On the 4th of October 2016, the CMBF1, through its Managing Director (MD) Marsland, transferred P33 554 687 to a First Rand Bank Ltd account number 57110016146 in the names of Manor Squad Services in South Africa. DCEC also found that the balance of P225 000 was not accounted for and was used to make other unrelated payments.

On 22 June 2016 Okaile, then MD at CMB submitted to BPOPF the draw down for P100 million for the purchase of 50 percent shares in Cell City and 75 percent of African Graduate Institute of Leadership and Enterprises referred to as AGILE. BPOPF then paid the amount to the BOP account on 26th September 2016, yet the court documents allege that only P50 million was used to buy 1500 shares from Goldwing (Pty)Ltd trading as Cell City on 11th October 2016.

DCEC officers found that the P50 million meant for investment in AGILE was diverted from the BOP account into the CMBF1 account on the 5th October 2016. It emerges that thereafter, an unsecured and undocumented loan of P20 million was given to Cell City in three installments of P5 million, P10 million and then another P5 million. DCEC investigating officers established that CMBF1 was created solely for the purpose of diverting funds from the BOP account, where BPOPF could not access transaction history. It is from CMF F1 that it is revealed that Okaile and Marsland made various personal transactions.

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