Rapula Okaile and Timothy Marsland, the directors of Capital Management Botswana (CMB), have been charged with one count of attempting to obtain by false pretence in a matter involving about P80.5 million from Botswana Insurance Fund Management (BIFM).
The offence was allegedly committed in January 2018. Okaile appeared before the Village Magistrate Court on Friday, while Marsland last week lost a bail attempt in a Johannesburg court where he is fighting against being extradited to Botswana.
CMB, a fund manager currently under liquidation, is also embroiled in a criminal case involving about P500 million in Botswana Public Officers Pension Fund (BPOPF) assets that were allegedly misappropriated while under management.
The entity 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. In a report before court, CMB’s 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.
But Okaile and Marsland said all the investments can be accounted for and deny that BPOPF is entitled to any funds, owing to clauses in the 2014 contract.
According to the charge sheet, Okaile and Marsland are accused of acting together in an attempt to defraud the BIFM.
“(The two) acted together and in concert with intend to defraud BIFM on or about January 25, attempted to obtain a sum of P80.46 million by issuing an instruction to First National Bank to transfer the said amount from a bank account belonging
Prosecutors noted that while Marsland has been charged, he was not before the court.
The funds in question were allegedly being held by BIFM on behalf of its sister company, Botswana Life. Marsland, the majority equity holder in CMB, previously was the principal of Bifm Capital that managed two of Botswana Life’s major investment funds. At the time, the funds Marsland was overseeing from Botswana Life reached a value of P890 million.
The arrangement collapsed in 2013 with CMB taking the lead to look for its own opportunities, which in 2014 led to the agreement with the pension fund. Botswana Life’s funds were returned to BIFM, a majority owned Botswana Insurance Holdings Limited (BIHL) entity.
BIHL owns 100% of Botswana Life and BIFM Holdings, with the latter holding the majority equity in BIFM Limited, the asset management firm.
Meanwhile, Marsland continues his battle against extradition. The Monitor is informed that local prosecutors have finalised a charge sheet against Marsland and Okaile in connection with the BPOPF millions allegedly misappropriated.
Should Marsland lose his case against extradition, his final relief will lie in the hands of the justice minister who has the final say and is required to sign the extradition documents.