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SA's Hawks nab CMB's Tim Marsland for BPOPF 'heist'

MBONGENI MGUNI
Tim Marsland, the majority owner of Capital Management Botswana (CMB) was reportedly arrested by the South African Hawks late last night in connection with the alleged misappropriation of about P500 million from the Botswana Public Officers Pension Fund (BPOPF). 

This morning, multiple sources told Mmegi that Marsland was taken into custody at his home by members of the Hawks in connection with a complaint laid by the pension fund and the local Directorate on Public Prosecutions (DPP). 

He is scheduled to appear in a Pretoria court on Monday for an extradition hearing which will determine whether he will be handed over to Botswana authorities. 

“The outcome of the hearing will determine whether he will be extradited to Botswana to be interviewed by law enforcement regarding the alleged misappropriation of BPOPF assets,” an insider told Mmegi. 

It is understood Marsland’s arrest comes after months of investigation by the Hawks, South African police and South Africa’s Asset Forfeiture Unit which has allegedly frozen his bank accounts and begun the process of locking in his assets for possible seizure. 

The Office of the Receiver in Gaborone, which is the local asset forfeiture unit, has reportedly also begun the process of identifying assets belonging to CMB’s directors which could be seized as part of the prosecution. 

Hawks officials pledged to verify the case for Mmegi but had not done so by the time of going to print. 

Mmegi is informed that of the missing millions, more than 90% is believed traceable to South Africa which is Marsland’s primary residence. 

CMB, an asset management firm now under liquidation, was contracted by the BPOPF in 2014 to manage an initial P500 million investment mandate in private, unlisted equity. The asset manager and the pension fund fell out in late 2017 with allegations of misappropriation, at which point CMB had reportedly being given P477 million to manage. The asset manager triggered

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a clause in the contract which it said allowed it to boot the BPOPF out of the deal, giving the pension fund only P50 million back for it (the BPOPF’s) interest in the deal. 

The pension fund sued and lost, before the Non-Bank Financial Institutions Regulatory Authority, acting on BPOPF complaints, successfully placed CMB under statutory management via a Court of Appeal judgement last year. 

In his report placed before court, the statutory manager, Peter Collins, laid out evidence of large scale misappropriation and a complex web of transactions where investments of the pension fund millions were made to obscure entities and interests. 

Collins recommended that CMB go into liquidation, while the BPOPF filed a complaint with the Directorate on Corruption and Economic Crime. 

Marsland’s local partner in CMB, Rapula Okaile has been interviewed several times by the DCEC, most recently two weeks ago, and maintains that the assets in question are accounted for. CMB says not only are the assets accounted for, but their seizure from the pension fund was correct in terms of the 2014 contract agreed upon. 

It is understood Marsland has already indicated that his defence against extradition on Monday will be that the assets can be accounted for and there is no case to answer in Botswana. 

The statutory manager, NBFIRA and the BPOPF have disputed CMB’s claims however. 

An affiliate of CMB, CMB Fund 1 is being pursued by Bona Life which claims a P133 million investment went missing as well.

If Marsland loses his extradition defence, it is expected that he could appear in a local court very soon to answer the complaint filed with the DPP.



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