Former Permanent Secretary to the President (PSP), Carter Morupisi and spouse, Pinny, go on trial on Monday on charges of misappropriation of public funds. Staff Writer, MPHO MOKWAPE takes a look at who could be the prosecution’s key witnesses
Carter Morupisi, the disgraced PSP and spouse, Pinny, are set to go on trial on Monday in a case in which the State has 30 key witnesses lined up for the eight-day affair. Morupisi is charged with three counts being abuse of office, acceptance of a bribe by a public officer and money laundering, while Pinny is charged with one count of money laundering.
The offences are alleged to be in connection with the misappropriation of funds from the Botswana Public Officers Pension Fund (BPOPF), the biggest pension fund in the country, which had handed an investment mandate to Capital Management Botswana (CMB). At the time of the offences, Morupisi was the BPOPF board chairperson.
Here are some of the key witnesses and their take on the allegations against the couple.
Gorata Thandy Seboko - Head of Forensic - FNBB
A First National Bank Botswana (FNBB) forensic report stated that the bank held about nine accounts, one of which belonged to BPOPF, one to Botswana Opportunities Partnership (BOP), four belonging to CMB, one belonging to Morupisi, one belonging to a company called Tops Operations and one that belonged to CMB Fund 1, which were all governed by mandates.
FNBB described mandates as, “a written agreement between the customer and the bank as how his/her account will operate. It is a legal document that gives the bank the authority to perform a task or certain duties on behalf of the customer”. According to Seboko, there were major transactions that were made between BPOPF and CMB Fund 1 proceeds, which were transferred into BOP under directorship of Rapula Okaile and Timothy Marsland who were at the time directors of CMB.
In her statement, major transactions transpired between the many accounts that were held by FNBB including the one held by Morupisi himself. What could be noted in the statement are the many transactions that happened between an account held by Morupisi and a company called Manor Squad Services.
According to the description of the company, which received considerable amounts from BPOPF and CMB, Manor Squad is registered in South Africa, which at the time of the alleged offences had Okaile as one of its directors.It is alleged that the company developed properties called Manor Gardens in Durban some time in 2016 and the company, according to the forensic report, received several transfers of money in millions from CMB.
There were also many transactions that transpired between Morupisi’s account and Manor Squad between May 17, 2017 and July 19, 2019. Manor Squad received about seven transactions on different occasions from Morupisi’s account, which totalled about P211,520.64 one of which was to pay towards a Toyota Land Cruiser that appears in court papers as part of investigations.
The Cruiser was purchased for a total of R630,988.99, which is alleged to be proceeds of crime, as the State believes funds from BPOPF and CMB were used in the purchase.
In all the many transactions carried out between all the accounts, including those of BPOPF and CMB, it is alleged that, while employed as the PSP, Morupisi authorised CMB to administer the BPOPF funds as private equity managers and obtained valuable consideration for himself and his wife’s company.
He is accused of acting together with Pinny in
Lesedi Moakofhi - former BPOPF CEO
Moakofhi, who at the time of the alleged offences was the acting chief executive officer/principal officer for BPOPF, is alleged to have signed a contract together with Morupisi on behalf of BPOPF and CMB when such was suspended by an order of court.
As such, Morupisi is charged with abuse of office as it is alleged that following the signing of the contract between CMB and BPOPF despite the court order, he authorised CMB to administer the BPOPF funds as private equity managers and obtained valuable consideration for himself and his wife’s company R7 Group.
Trudy Suzanne Marsland- Former wife to Tim Marsland
One of the charges against Morupisi is acceptance of a bribe, in which he is accused of acting together with his wife in her personal capacity and as the director of R7 Group to receive valuable consideration to wit a Toyota Land Cruiser for himself and his wife’s company.
In light of this, Suzanne Marsland said as far as she knew, the vehicle was bought for Morupisi as a ‘thank you’ gift, which was purchased through CMB.
She noted that she became aware of transactions relating to a vehicle, a Land Cruiser that Marsland and Okaile purchased and she came to know that the car was purchased for the then PSP, who was also the board chair of BPOPF.
“I came to know about the vehicle because Tim kept talking to me about it.
As far as I know, this is the vehicle that was bought for PSP as a ‘thank you’ for having had an influence in CMB being awarded a further amount of money,” she said.
Suzanne explained that the vehicle was purchased through Manor Squad for about R630,000 (total value being R630,988.99).
In more detail about the vehicle, she said the car had some extra features installed and Morupisi was accused of “demanding too much” and “never satisfied” by Tim.
“A week or so later, Rapula flew to South Africa and he and Tim drove the vehicle from our home and delivered it straight to Botswana to the PSP’s house late on Sunday afternoon in December 2016,” she said.
Boitumelo Molefe – Former BPOPF CEO
Molefe explained that following the appointment of Morupisi as BPOPF board chairperson, allegations of conflict of interest surfaced when CMB was appointed as equity manager.
According to her record of events, on December 11, 2017, Kgori Capital’s Bakang Seretse had written to BPOPF CEO alleging that he had received information of a certain man informing him that the chairperson of BPOPF board being Morupisi may have beneficial interest in CMB.
She said during a BPOPF meeting that was held on December 19, 2017, which Morupisi had attempted to chair, it was decided that he should recuse himself on the strength of Seretse’s letter.
Morupisi did recuse himself, albeit protesting that he did not have any actual, perceived or potential interest in CMB.
“The board discussed the matter further on February 22, 2018 and resolved to treat the matter as a whistle-blowing incident whose seriousness warranted an investigation by the DCEC on February 29, 2018,” she said.