Molefe dodges Morupisi’s axe…for now

04 Mar 2018

The Botswana Public Officers Pension Fund (BPOPF) Principal Officer, Boitumelo Molefe is said to have survived plans to send her packing.

Whilst recent media reports indicated that some board members of the fund, led by its current chairperson Carter Morupisi wanted Molefe out of her plum job as soon as yesterday, Molefe was this week still paraded as the Principal Officer of the multi billion fund.

“Mr Morupisi has never refused to step down as BPOPF board chairperson or attempted to have the CEO fired”, said Solomon Mantswe – the chairperson of the Communications Committee at the BPOPF board on Friday at the Fund’s board room. Mantswe was addressing journalists at a press conference in the capital Gaborone where he also confirmed the Fund’s legal battle with Capital Management Botswana (CBM).

Despite the Friday rebuttal by Mantswe, sources close to the matter insist that Molefe was only saved by the “division” within the board of trustees.

“There are those who want her out led by the chairperson, and those who feel her job should be protected since she has saved public monies from vultures by refusing some under the table deals”, the source said late Friday night.

Molefe has been absent from her job for a few months and was during that time replaced by Moemedi Malindah - a substantive investment and portfolio director within the fund.

The attempts to sack Molefe by some fund board members are strongly linked to a bitter battle between her and Morupisi.

“It should also be noted that the hiring and firing of the CEO is the prerogative of the Board and not of one trustee”, continued Mantswe.

Sunday Standard was this week able to source information that details how some key industry players – linked to Morupisi wanted to “get rid” of Molefe and replace her with “one of theirs”.

In a leaked communication that was held between two captains of the industry, one of the players alleges that a replacement plan was already drawn.

“I advised you not to fight with BPOPF because it is an essential partner in…****. Instead, you took the BPOPF head-on in order to ‘teach BJ’ and to get her fired so that you could appoint someone who was more aligned to the Chairman and yourselves, thus losing sight of all your obligations to …**** and the public with whose funds you have been entrusted”, reads part of the email thread exchanged between the two business partners who are close associates of BPOPF.

Molefe joined BPOPF from Bokamoso Private Hospital, where she was employed as Chief Finance Officer (CFO). She is also a former Managing Director of Debswana Pension Fund. The Sunday Standard was unable to solicit comments on the matter from Morupisi who was absent from the Friday press.

“The chairperson cannot do all things by himself”, remarked Mantswe when one journalist enquired about Morupisi’s whereabouts.

BPOPF remains the largest pension fund in the country with more than 150, 000 members and close to P60 million assets under its arm. It primarily invests members’ funds in assets such as equity and property in the local market, emerging markets and developing markets.