A day after flamboyant asset manager, Bakang Seretse was arrested for making payment to an Israeli security firm, Dignia Systems for Directorate of Intelligence and Security (DIS) spying equipment, now suspended Permanent Secretary to the President (PSP) Carter Morupisi allegedly instructed Botswana Public Officers Pensions Fund (BPOPF) to terminate Khulaco contract.
The DIS, through Khulaco owned by Seretse, paid Dignia Systems $11.2 million on November 9, 2017. The instructions came even before the BPOPF Board could properly be convened to consider the matter.
Those close to the deal say the authorisation was notwithstanding the presumption of innocence that the Constitution accorded Seretse and the fact that the Israel transaction was properly agreed and known to the Office of the President.
The argument is that whilst the action by Morupisi appeared innocent on the face of it, the PSP might have conveniently omitted to disclose his close relationship with Capital Management Botswana (CMB), Khulaco’s competitors.
As the court papers show, Morupisi had signed a contract whilst still BPOPF chairperson appointing CMB to manage funds belonging to the pension fund without a necessary board resolution. At the time the contract was signed, Rapula Okaile was his private secretary. Soon after the signing, Rapula left to take up an employment with CMB as its managing director.
Those who know Okaile say he did not have the experience, let alone the necessary academic background, to be at the helm of CMB.
In the critics’ minds, Okaile’s appointment was strategic on two fronts: it gave CMB director Tim Marshall access to one senior minister (known to this publication) and also ensured that Morupisi’s interests were protected by somebody he could trust.
Okaile was to that front and conduit for Morupisi, said those close to the developments. According to the charge sheet, CMB bought Carter’s wife, Pinny, a vehicle whose purchase was facilitated through Okaile.
Therefore, critics are asking whether Morupisi’s insistence on the termination of Khulaco’s contract was motivated by much more than the need to mitigate an imagined risk.
As the saga unfolds, in explosive messages sent by a deep throat to the Directorate on Corruption and Economic Crime (DCEC) and seen by Mmegi, the rot at CMB may be much bigger than anticipated.
According to a whistleblower, the vehicle bought for Morupisi and fully-kitted as per his instructions, was given to him to ensure that CMB operated without any hindrance either from BPOPF or Non-Bank Financial Institutions Regulatory Authority (NBFIRA).
The source also says that one of the current Ministers was paid over P60 million to secure power and water pipe deals in Botswana. The money was paid through Hong Kong bank accounts.
She [the whistleblower] alleges that Marsland would fly the said Minister to Durban for banga banga (parties named after the former Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi) parties with young women.
Accompanying the Minister to those would be the CEO of one of the local commercial banks and one head of a stock brokering firms.
Thousands of rands would be spent by Marsland on accommodation and women in Sandton and Kwa-Zulu Natal, goes the report. The whistle blower also alleges that bribes to politicians would be disguised as political campaign donations. Apparently, the power and water pipe deals were to be secured through a front French company.
It also turns out that some of the BPOPF members were involved in overlooking breaches pertaining to the asset management contract, and the creative accounts submitted by CMB, sources allege. The turn of events raises questions about how much of the wrong Morupisi did know about and whether he is right in saying he is a victim of politics.