Wednesday, April 24, 2024

BDC taken to task over Talana Farms

Whilst the Botswana Development Corporation (BDC) might have classified the “Talana Farms” as a closed matter and chapter, it seems it is not yet game – over for Jan Willemse. Willemse is the former managing Director of Botalana Venture which was a joint venture between him and the government investment arm, BDC.

In early 2017, thousands of famers and creditors were left in the lurch after the BDC rejected a muliti-million Pula bid from muliti international investors and instead went ahead with the liquidation of Botalana Ventures.

In his founding affidavit, BDC, Managing Director Bashi Gaetsaloe said the corporation approached the court to have Botalana Ventures liquidated because despite demand for the payment of Botalana Ventures’ indebtedness to BDC in the sum of more than P11 million, the latter failed to pay the full amount it owes or any portion thereof.

In his replying affidavit, Willemse however opposed the idea of placing Botalana Ventures under liquidation saying there was no need to because he had secured an investor called Hermes Financial Group International (HFGI).

Fast forward to January 2018, details have emerged indicating that Willemse has taken up the matter to a special committee of Parliament.

This week, the chairman of Parliament Committee on Statutory Bodies Guma Moyo confirmed that his office has received a file containing queries on the way BDC dealt with the liquidation of Talana farms and now renamed to Kwenantle Farms.

“Yes I can confirm receiving a file of complaints from the above mention gentleman sometimes ago”, he said. Guma however declined to shed further light on the queries and demands made by Willemse.

“I can not disclose such details you better ask the author of the file”.

Moyo however confirmed that his committee will study the file and its contents and decide what to do next.

For his part Willemse told Sunday Standard that his complaints are amongst others that, BDC had not given him enough time to improve the financial standings of the company despite the request to be given such.

He also said that it seems that all the time they were engaged in negotiations on how to resolve their problem BDC had already identified Kwenantle Farms as a company that was going to take over.

Willemse alleged that immediately after the joint venture company was liquidated Kwenantle Farms took over without tendering process.

“The norm is that such a business should be tendered for and citizens are given a priority. This was not done in the current   leasing of Kwenantle to a company   whose majority share holders are foreigners”, he said.

BDC has refused to give comment on its dealings regarding Kwenantle.


Read this week's paper