Yarona Fm, Echo newspaper, Horizon advertising caught up in CMB mess

30 Jul 2018

Mystery surrounds Capital Management Botswana’s (CMB) investment in Lobatse Clay Works and Yarona Media Group, the holding company that owns Yarona FM, Horizon Advertising and the Echo newspaper.

Although the Court of Appeal stated this week that Botswana Public Officers Pension Fund refused to meet its drawdown notice for funds to fulfil its contractual obligations to Lobatse Clay Works and Yarona FM, Sunday Standard investigations have turned up information that CMB transferred close to P 20 million to the two entities.

Documents passed to the Sunday Standard reveal that P13 million was transferred from the CMB account held with FNBB Gaborone 62100023358 to Yarona Media Holding account 62267979668 and P 5miilion to Lobatse Clay Works account number 62008252819.

The Sunday Standard, however could not establish if the drawdown that BPOPF turned down for Yarona Media Holdings and Lobatse Clay Works was additional funding to the P18 million that had already been disbursed to the two companies.

The mystery in the ownership structure of Yarona Media Holdings has further deepened following an announcement by CMB that it has sold BPOPF assets to an unidentified buyer.

In December last year CMB claimed to have sold 100% of BPOPF’s stake in the fund (representing 99% of the total partnership in the fund) for a paltry P50 million to an undisclosed party. These assets, only weeks previously, had been valued by CMB at P447 million Pula. In other words P 400 million, roughly 90% of the money invested by BPOPF has not been accounted for by CMB.

Investigators have not been able to establish the identity of the investor who bought the BPOPF stake and the transactions detailing CMB credits does not reflect the P 50 million payment.

At the time of going to press, the Sunday Standard had not established the identity of the mystery investor who has bought the BPOPF state in Yarona Media Group.