Thursday, August 5, 2021

BCL Liquidation: Govt puts its head on the block

The Botswana government continues to pay the BCL liquidator as the liquidation process has so far not yielded any proceeds that could be used to pay for the process.

Eric Molale, minister of Mineral Resources, Green Technology and Energy Security, told parliament on Monday that the government is paying the BCL liquidator in the form of advances, of which the government will be paid back after the liquidation process wounds up.

BCL was placed under liquidation in October 2016, with Nigel Dixon-Warren, partner at KPMG, appointed the provisional liquidator. Almost two years since the liquidation, government has spent over a billion pula towards costs for the liquidation.

While the government did not have to pay for the liquidation process, Molale said the government as the main shareholder of BCL mines had to step up to protect its interests. Chiefly amongst these was to ensure that assets are safely secured and that the mines be put under care and maintenance so they remain attractive to potential buyers.

The understanding is after the liquidation process wounds up, the Botswana government will be paid back what has been spent on the process and also the monies that were already owed to the government by BCL.

Sadique Kebonang, the immediate ex-minister of Mineral Resources, Green Technology and Energy Security, pressed his successor on why the government decided to be the sacrificial lamb in handling the liquidation costs, Molale retorted that other BCL creditors were not willing to step up. Molale further said the liquidation has so far not yielded any proceeds that could be used to pay for the liquidation process.

In 2017, it was revealed during the Public Accounts Committee hearings that the government has spent as much as P27 million to pay for the services of the BCL liquidator. Furthermore it was also brought to light that government has parted with about P980 million for the care and maintenance of the mines while liquidation process unfolds.

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