Dirty cash crackdown seizes P132m in cash, assets

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The Office of the Receiver has frozen P132.6 million in cash, luxurious vehicles and properties across the country, as part of a crackdown on money laundering and similar suspected activities, Mmegi has learnt.

Of this figure, P112.9 million in cash is in an interest-bearing account at BancABC pending court battles, while the balance of the value is in assets that have been taken over. Documents seen by Mmegi this week show that in the 24 months since the Office’s establishment, the pile of suspected dirty money has been growing rapidly.

The documents show that during that period, an amount of P11.1 million in cash was forfeited to the State, while the balance remains in the BancABC account. The forfeited cash is separate from the P112.9 million.

The Receiver, Bafi Nlanda recently told the Parliamentary Committee on Foreign Affairs, Defence, Justice and Security that his office manages and preserves the value of property in its possession until the court decides how the property should be dealt with.

“Currently, the office has received 20 court orders directing the Receiver to take over the management of both immovable and movable property including residential/industrial plots and houses, vehicles, furniture and cash as follows: 33 plots and house in Francistown, eight of which are commercial ones while 25 are residential plots valued at P14, 405, 000.00 forfeited to the State. However, the respondents have appealed the decision of the High Court to the Court of Appeal whose decision is awaited,” Nlanda said.

He also mentioned five plots in Gaborone, two of which are commercial while three are residential, one residential plot in Mmokolodi, one plot in Lobatse and one residential plot in Palapye. This property is restrained and is valued at P8, 299, 800.00. Thirty-nine vehicles restrained valued at P8, 053, 672.14.

Nlanda also mentioned P112, 018, 538.63 in cash restrained and kept in an interest-bearing account opened through Accountant General with BancABC pending a decision by court. These are funds launder3ed through law firms, private companies and individuals.

“11, 047, 060.53 cash has been forfeited to the State, but most of the amount is still being held in the interest bearing account following appeals filed with the Court of Appeal. Once the Court of Appeal confirms the High Court orders in respect of those amounts, the money will be transferred to the confiscated Asset Trust Fund. However, P121, 123.70 has been paid into the Confiscated Asset Trust Fund. These were funds forfeited through administrative forfeiture by law enforcement agencies, particularly the Botswana Police Service, in terms of Section 30 of the Proceeds and Instruments of Crime Act.”

“Once the funds have been forfeited to the State and the courts have confirmed the forfeiture, they may be used to compensate and rehabilitate victims of crime and for such other purposes as the minister responsible for finance may approve in writing on the advice of the Receiver.

“With respect to immovable property, arrangements are being made to outsource the management of the property such that the office receives rentals on a monthly basis. However, some tenants have started paying rentals into the interest bearing account pending the decision of the court in respect of that property. Most of the immovable property is undeveloped or partially developed while only are fully developed. In respect of the developed which does not have tenants, we have engaged the services of security guards to guard them while the process of outsourcing continues.”

With respect to vehicles, he said arrangements were being made to dispose of them by public auction in order to preserve their value and deposit the money in the interest bearing account pending the decision by the court.

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