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Court denies CMB time in mega-money battle

The Court of Appeal has denied local asset manager, Capital Management Botswana (CMB) time to put their house in order. The CMB who are facing the Non-Bank Financial Institutions Regulatory Authority (NBFIRA) and Botswana Public Officers Pension Fund (BPOPF) for a case in which the regulator is fighting to place it under statutory management, were hoping not to proceed with the case yesterday.

However, the three-men bench of Justices Ian Kirby, Singh Walia and David Brand declined to postpone the matter on reasons that there was no proper application before them, and that there was no valid reason raised for a postponement.

They ordered that the matter continue as scheduled, more so that all relevant papers have been filed by both parties.

Earlier on, the asset manager through its attorney Gabriel Kanjabanga, had wanted the court to grant a postponement of the matter due to the unavailability of an advocate on their side. He had told court that the attorney that they had engaged was not available, as they had failed to agree on certain things, therefore it was only fair if given a chance to seek out another attorney.

“We request that the matter be postponed at least for two weeks as it will be impossible for us to proceed looking at that we had already engaged someone and we parted ways,” he reasoned. Meanwhile,

CMB have been entangled in a nasty court battle with NBFIRA, which has been seeking to place it under management.

NBFIRA actions were prompted by complaints by the BPOPF, which is attempting to recover more than P400 million at one time under CMB’s management.

Citizen-owned insurer, Bona Life also reported CMB to NBFIRA over P133 million in assets under management.

The pension fund and the insurer are unhappy about the manner in which the funds were managed. On one hand, the asset manager says BPOPF has no valid claim to the funds in dispute. CMB and BPOPF are partners in Botswana Opportunities Fund, which in turn holds 40% of Bona Life.  At the time of going to print, NBFIRA who lost the suit at the High Court in April when Judge Omphemetse Motumise dismissed their application seeking confirmation of the appointment of Peter Collins as statutory manager for CMB, were arguing their appeal.

The case is also scheduled for continuation today.




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