Although the permanent secretary to the President (PSP), Carter Morupisi denies any conflict of interest in the beleaguered Capital Management Botswana's (CMB) ongoing troubles, Mmegi investigations have found evidence that links the two.
It has become apparent that at least one of the cars impounded recently by the Directorate on Corruption and Economic Crime (DCEC) links a close family member of the PSP to the directors of CMB.
CMB, an asset management firm, is currently embroiled in a legal battle over a disputed P427 million of public pension fund assets. The row stems back to a 2014 deal with the Botswana Public Officers Pension Fund (BPOPF) which has been roundly criticised by legal eagles as being biased against the pension fund. Critics of the deal have described as mind-boggling the BPOPF’s decision to sign the lopsided contract under which it invested P477 million and was paid back P50 million.
CMB, which is fighting to clear its name of stinging accusations from the BPOPF and regulator, NBFIRA concerning numerous alleged acts of maladministration and possible crimes, is being investigated by the DCEC. In the course of the DCEC investigation, eight CMB vehicles were seized, crippling the firm’s operations, something its director, Rapula Okaile and the company challenged in vain at the High Court.
Sometime in March 2018, the DCEC confiscated a double cab Land Cruiser with registration number B 587 BEW belonging to PSP Carter Morupisi’s wife, Pinny. Morupisi had in previous media interviews even confirmed the vehicle belonged to his wife and was purchased from a company in South Africa.
Mmegi investigations indicate that the said company, Manor Squad Services of 16 Aster Street, Brackenhurst, Durban, South Africa, bought the Land Cruiser. Manor Squad Services is a company with links to some CMB directors. Mmegi can also reveal that the seized car model is 162111353, with chassis number C794 SVB D S/C and the engine number is TELV73007011353.
It was bought for a total R630,388.99 from CMH Group dealership on December 14, 2016. It is important to note that Pinny gave Okaile’s home address in Block 6, Gaborone when she registered the car. The vehicle has been registered as belonging to R7 Group (PTY) Ltd, with a plot number (withheld) in Block 6 Gaborone. Companies and Intellectual Property Authority (CIPA) cheques revealed that R7 Group belongs to Pinny and was registered in Serowe.
The investigation at Department of Deeds also revealed that the Block 6 house number is Okaile’s address and has been attached under one of the cases in which the DCEC is investigating Okaile for alleged corruption. Those close to the case say it is very strange to have Morupisi’s wife register a car and provide Okaile’s residential address. This, they say, demonstrates the strong ties between the Okailes and Morupisis.
An attempt to reach Pinny on a mobile number attached to the impounded car, revealed a surprise
Contacted for comment on Tuesday morning, Morupisi also denied any business dealings with Okaile. “There is no truth in that the contact details used by R7 Group belong to Okaile. I have the documents here for you to see that. We do not have any business dealings with Okaile,” he said.
He however admitted they were close.
“I first met him in 2007 when we worked for the secretariat of a committee which was set up to discuss public sector salaries. We got closer when we were reunited in 2012 when I was Director. He was my Personal Assistant. We still visit one another but
have never done any business together,” he said.
Morupisi said the agreement between CMB and BPOPF was entered into in 2014 before Rapula joined CMB in 2015 and there is no way he could have know about Okaile joining the company. He also said BPOPF board decisions could only be accepted when they were unanimous, hence he
could not single-handedly influence them to take any decision.
Morupisi then invited the Mmegi team to his office to see the documents for themselves in the afternoon. But during the meeting, he refused to disclose the documents in his possession claiming that he wanted the DCEC to investigate him in peace. Likewise, Morupisi’s wife also denied any business dealings with Okaile. “I have no business deals with Rapula. If anyhow Okaile’s contacts are linked to my company, it will have been technologically manipulated by you,” Pinny said.
The DCEC refused to discuss any details pertaining to their investigations.
Critics are questioning how President Mokgweetsi Masisi continues to retain the services of an “executioner” in Morupisi who has links with a subject in an alleged corruption case. Morupisi’s reputation as the hangman stems from his recent role in delivering termination letters to senior public servants, including Isaac Kgosi, who were allegedly corrupt or close to former President Ian Khama.
In a previous life, however, Morupisi was involved in a suspicious sting operation where two Chinese officials offered him a P100,000 bribe for favourable treatment in the Shakawe Senior Secondary School project.
The Chinese nationals were arrested, but managed to flee the country thereafter. Observers in the incident queried how the Chinese suspects were able to approach him in the first place, a question that lingers unanswered to this day.