Friday, December 13, 2019

Botswana based liquidators shun BCL job?

BY KABELO SEITSHIRO

Whilst the Master of the High Court in Botswana is said to have preferred to give the job of liquidating the BCL Limited and its subsidiaries to a local firm, a sizeable number of them are reported to have turned down the offer.

The need to appoint a new liquidator for the Selebi Phikwe based company follows the unceremonious departure of the former liquidator – Nigel Dixon-Warren under two months ago.

This week, the Master of the High Court appointed South African based firm – Sanek Trust Services Limited led by Tervor Glaum as the new liquidator. Sanek is regarded as one of the leading insolvency practices in South Africa.

A source close to the matter told the Sunday Standard that atleast four liquidators, regarded amongst the top leaders in the industry shunned the multi-million job for undisclosed reasons.

It is not yet clear whether their decline is linked to the alleged pushing away of the former liquidator ÔÇô Dixon-Warren. Dixon-Warren was first appointed the BCL Limited group liquidator in 2016 after the mine together with other subsidiaries of the BCL group were put under liquidation more than two years back resulting in loss of thousands of jobs.

The liquidation process has however been marred by what appears to be a fallout between Minerals minister Eric Molale and Dixon-Warren.

Relations were strained last year when both parties clashed on the duration of the liquidation process, with the government piling pressure on Dixon-Warren to come up with a definite date on the winding up of BCL assets. However, the liquidator said it was a complicated process that could take up to seven years to conclude.

Fast forward to March 2019 the government confirmed the termination of Dixon-Warren’s contract with his last day in office set for 30 June 2019.

THE FOLLOW UP

The new liquidators – Sanek Trust Services Limited are therefore expected to further investigate issues raised by Dixon-Warren in his last report released mid June. Amongst other things Dixon-Warren pointed out that the brokers of both BCL and Tati did not act in the interest of the insured and as a result the estates have been significantly over-charged for the premiums for the years 2017-2018 and 2018-2019.

At the same, the report stated that a local bank – Barclays has also been receiving funds in to the pre-liquidation account in the post-liquidation period amounting to P1, 4 million to date.

“This is despite a number of written requests to Barclays to freeze the accounts (including on the date of liquidation). Two written requests have been made to Barclays to transfer the funds. There has been no response. I have briefed the estate’s attorneys on the matter”, read part of the report.

Before his departure, Dixon-Warren had also commenced recovery proceedings against RioZim in Zimbabwe for $35 million owed to BCL. The case is before a High Court in Zimbabwe and is expected to be amongst those that the new liquidators will have to keenly follow.

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