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NBFIRA blocks CMB’s 11th hour escape bid

Embattled local asset management firm, Capital Management Botswana (CBM), this week allegedly attempted to surrender its licence to the Non-Bank Financial Institutions Regulatory Authority (NBFIRA) ahead of a high-stakes Court of Appeal (CoA) judgement due today.

The move was a stark about-turn as CMB, since the beginning of the year, has fought off NBFIRA’s attempts to place it under statutory management. The regulator wanted the statutory management as part of a probe into the now famous P422 million saga involving monies invested by Botswana Public Officers Pension Fund (BPOPF).

Yesterday, several high level industry insiders told Mmegi that CMB had attempted to surrender its licence with NBFIRA, while promising to drop its other battles with BPOPF and Bona Life, the latter now a closed firm, which is demanding the return of P133 million from CMB.

The sources said NBFIRA had rejected the move, insisting CMB would have to first account for client’s funds, investments and other questions around audited financials and policies before being allowed to exit the market.

“It was a tactical move perhaps so that if the CoA ruling is adverse, the response could be that there’s no licence and nothing to investigate,” a source close to the latest developments told Mmegi.

“The Act is clear that you can apply to surrender your licence but that has to be approved. You

don’t just send it back and say you quit. You have to account for your clients’ interests.

“Money has been taken here and not accounted for. Audits have not been done and the licence cannot just be surrendered.

“From what we hear, NBFIRA wrote back to say they must not only motivate for the surrender but account for their holdings. There’s a process to follow.”

Other sources said the asset firm was possibly playing a “long game” hoping an act of surrender would help it escape possible blacklisting by NBFIRA’s statutory manager, should the CoA rule in the regulator’s favour today.

“There’s panic and the ropes are tightening, so this is a gimmick to appear cooperative and even secure a position like one has been hounded out of the market and forced to stop trading.

“NBFIRA, however cannot take that licence back until the entire process of accounting and recovering funds is finalised,” another insider told Mmegi.

CMB directors, Rapula Okaila and Tim Marsland were unreachable yesterday afternoon, while NBFIRA CEO, Oaitse Ramasedi’s mobile phone was unavailable. The regulator’s deputy CEO, Sriram Gade was equally unreachable.




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