NBFIRA probes possible money laundering at ZCC
- ZCC petitions NBFIRA over Kganya insurance scheme
- NBFIRA probes maladministration, possible money laundering at ZCC
- Opponents of the Gaborone churches’ merger denied subscription books by proponents of the merger.
- Over ten thousand merger opponents demand return of their subscriptions, since 1990
The two conflicting Gaborone-based branches of Barnabas Lekganyane’s Zion Christian Church (ZCC)have dragged the Non -Bank Financial Institutions Regulatory Authority (NBFIRA) into their merger dispute.
NBFIRA’s involvement arose after the proponents of the merger demanded that the non-compliant branches accede to their demands or face exclusion from the Kganya Botswana Insurance scheme. Proponents of the merger threatened to deny their rivals, in the bitter dispute, subscription documentation saying they can only access them at the newly established Gaborone City ZCC.
A five-paged petition has been addressed to the NBFIRA’s manager for insurance Ogona Tshoswane, who confirmed receiving the letter to this publication. Tshoswane declined to comment on the correspondence but directed all questions relating to it to the organisation’s communications unit.
“Yes, I know about the letter, please direct your enquiry to our communications department,” he said in a brief interview with this publication.
In the letter, members of ZCC Gaborone West Phase II who are the petitioners say the dispute was orchestrated by a committee called the Consensus Building and Mediation Team headed by former board members.
They say in the same letter that their members who do not want to be part of the Gaborone City ZCC merger are now being threatened with the collapse of the Kganya Botswana Insurance Company scheme which is underwritten by Botswana life.
“Gaborone West Phase II ZCC boasts of more than 10 000 members, the majority of whom have been subscribing to Kganya insurance Scheme, which is currently P75.00 Per month. Our church members have been contributing towards this scheme religiously since inception in 1990 and subsequently its roll out to Botswana, until 30th September 2017 when our contributions were suspended under dubious circumstances by Kganya Botswana at the instigation of a grouping called the Consensus Building and Mediation Team,” reads the letter to NBFIRA.
The Phase II branch claims that as a result, many subscribing members have defaulted on their October 2017 premium. According to the letter to NBFIRA, the mandate of Consensus Building and Mediation Team’s (CBMT) had long lapsed and they are now pursuing their own agendas. The Phase II branch alleges that they “act in a meddlesome and reckless manner so as to harass some segments of the bonafide ZCC branches in Botswana”.
The letter alleges that the group has sought to exert its authority over Kganya officer, Paradise Lemogang who claims to be taking instructions solely at the CBMT despite the fact that the group is not an administrative structure provided for by the ZCC constitution.
In their petition to NBFIRA the pro-merger group say “the purported Gaborone city ZCC has not dully registered with the Registrar of Societies nor does it have a place of abode let alone followers. It is this pseudo-branch where this overbearing and authoritarian eight-member grouping wishes to relocate our church members by hook or crook.”
The petitioners allege that there are signs of money laundering at the church’s biggest insurance scheme: “We gather that monthly collections towards Kganya Insurance Scheme from some of our unsuspecting and gullible members are being diverted and put for personal use, with some deposited into some illicit accounts with one local bank.”
Opponents of the merger are so angry that they now want their subscriptions from the day of the scheme’s inception. “Given the view that Kganya group was never intended to be a pyramid scheme, we contend that our members, whose regular monthly premiums have been curtailed, ought to and must be reimbursed, with compound interests, for all their contributions that they made toward the scheme, where we have been members since its inception in 1990 until 30 September 2017, when our subscriptions were suspended haphazardly and without formal notice,” charged the G- west Phase II church.
The Kganya insurance scheme covers burials, accident cover, permanent disability, dreaded disease cover and subsidised fares at half price called ‘Leeto la Moria’, on three pilgrimages to Moria.
The petitioners warn that “with the abrupt, illegal and callous stoppage of the regular payment of Kganya monthly premiums, our members’ good standing has been prejudiced such that they may lose out on burial cover and other associated benefits. With this stand-off, no new members can register for this insurance scheme. The petitioners further requested that NBFIRA investigate their allegations and act against the suspected perpetrators.
The copy of the letter has been received by the permanent secretary in the Ministry of Finance and Economic Development and the Ministry responsible for societies.
Contacted for comment on the allegations against CBMT and the church Louis Malikongwa, chairperson of CBMT declined to comment and referred this publication to Bishop Barnabas Lekganyane as the only person with authority to speak on behalf of the church.