Bona Life gets back to life

17 Dec 2018

BY VICTOR BAATWENG

Botswana’s indigenous life insurance company – Bona Life will soon re-open its doors for business, Sunday Standard can confirm.

Bona Life – which is led by Regina Vaka shut its doors in July 2018 owing to an impasse between its shareholders that led to the company operating without a board.

Sunday Standard can however confirm that following a series of legal battles and board room wars between and amongst some of the shareholders, the company is readying to give another shot at the market.

Already the Non Banking Financial Institutions Regulatory Authority (NBFIRA) is said to have given Bona Life the green light to reopen its offices both in Gaborone and Francistown. The company is expected to hold a press conference during the cause of next week to shed further light with the market.

“Bona Life offices have been closed for some time due to issue that the company has been dealing with. Ms Regina Vaka has thus seen the need to brief the media journalists pertaining this and the way forward for the company”, reads part of a presser invite from local PR agency – The Pr Practice.

ACRIMONIOUS RELATIONSHIPS 

Just a few weeks after Bona Life closure in July 2018, a report compiled by NBFIRA revealed that the acrimonious relationship between Bona Life Chief Executive Officer Vaka and the now on liquidation Capital Management Botswana CEO (CMB) Rapula Okaile played a major role in the collapse of a near-collapse of Bona Life.

It is the bickering that saw Bona Life registering a legal victory against one of its shareholders - Capital Management Botswana in late November 2018. At the time, Gaborone High Court Judge, Christopher Gabanagae ruled in favour of Bona life and appointed Sifelani Thapelo as provisional liquidator as prescribed by section 38(2) of the companies Act.

At the same time, the Gaborone High Court placed Capital Management Botswana under provisional liquidation.

Bona Life shut its doors in July 2018 owing to an impasse between its shareholders that led to the company operating without a board.  Until recently, the company has been engaged in a legal battle with CMB directors since the beginning of the year.

The troubled insurance company then took a decision to shut its doors following the refusal by some CMB directors to endorse names that were suggested by other shareholders as possible candidates for Bona Life board membership.

It also emerged – in July 2018 that one of the BOP and CMB directors, Tim Marsland wanted his name to be put through as part of the list that will be vetted by the regulator for possible inclusion on the board.

“Tim is insisting that he should, together with one of his associates be part of the Bona Life board. But the problem is that he might not even pass the “fit and proper” test that the regulator subject all the candidates to”, said one source who is close to the matter.

[Bona Life Time Line]

2013: Registered as Bramer Life Insurance with Mauritanian majority shareholder.

July 2015: CMB, BOP replaces Mauritanian shareholders.

Sept 2015: Rebrands to Bona Life

March 2017: P133 million annuity funds invested through CMB.

Oct 2017: BPOPF-CMB dispute ownership of BOP

Dec 2017: BPOPF-CMB fight over ownership of BOP reaches High Court.

Jan 2018: DCEC investigate CMB, placed under statutory management.

April 2018: High Court dismisses CMB Statutory manager appointed by NBFIRA.

May 2018: CMB makes attempt to oust Vaka, fails.

July 2018: Bona Life temporarily shuts its doors, sending home 20 employees.

November 2018: Bona Life wins legal battle to get CMB liquidated.