Sunday, June 16, 2024

Bluthorn liquidator’s search for missing millions hits a blank

Bluthorn Fund Managers (BFM) creditors may have to dig dipper into their pockets in order for liquidator Kopanang Thekiso to explore all available options to salvage something from the consolidated estate.

The creditors, who include district councils, trade unions, and individuals have collectively lost at least P250 million worth of investments. Attempts by Thekiso to liquidate the consolidated companies under BFM have proved futile with most of the businesses found to be insolvent.

“The business of Consolidated Estate orchestrated through Mr. Eune Engelbrecht and various role players were inherently a Ponzi scheme which ultimately ran its course to the detriment of the Creditors,” the liquidator says in his report to the creditors, delivered before the Master of the High Court Chipo Gaobatwe last week.

Consequently the liquidator wants directors of BFM to pay back the P250 million owed to the creditors with interest.

“I propose that we claim in the amount of BWP250, 000,000.00 (Two Hundred and Fifty Million Pula) with interest, against Eune Engelbrecht, Joseph Mosimane, Tiyedze Kamodi, Motlamedi Matome and Jeffery Sibisibi in terms of Section 481 of the Companies Act, on the basis that the companies in the Group were being carried out in a reckless manner with the intent to defraud the Creditors of the Group and therefore be personally responsible for all the liabilities of the Group.”

Thekiso proposes that the creditors (in the alternative or additionally) apply to the Court in terms of  Section 478 of the Companies Act to compel the directors to repay or  restore the funds lost on the basis that they have misapplied  themselves, are accountable and are liable for the missing funds in the Group.

“It has become evident to me that Eune Engelbrecht was the controlling mind behind the formation and the running of the business of the Consolidated Estate.  However, Mr. Engelbrecht did not do this alone.  He was assisted by Jeffrey Sibisibi, who was instrumental in introducing a number of key players in the group, for instance, the appointment Joseph Mosimane as the Chief Executive Officer of the group of companies in the Consolidated Estate and the appointment of an independent director being Alfred Mokone,” the liquidator says in his report.

He says when the companies in the Consolidated Estate went into financial difficulties, Sibisibi’s shareholding “which he claimed he had acquired through ‘sweat capital’” was then “transferred” to his daughter, Kelebogile Sibisibi, which transfer was made without any value.

“I believe that this transfer was a simulated process intended to deflect and create an impression that Mr. Sibisibi was no longer involved in the business of the Consolidated Estate. In reality, Mr Sibisibi continued to benefit both in terms of monthly payments to his account and was provided a house to live in.”

Thekiso also wants the directors to pay back all the funds paid to them personally by BFM and its group of companies. “I intend to set aside the following transactions below which were made prior to the  liquidation of the Group and claim repayment therein, in terms of Section 435 of the  Companies Act as read with Section 25 of the Insolvency Act, on the basis that the  transactions were made without value.”

He says Sibisibi should pay back the P2 million he received from the company. “ Sibisibi benefited from use of a house in the Phakalane Golf  Estate (the lease agreement specifically refers to him and his wife as the occupants) and  received consistent payments of BWP50,000.00 through this period, even though he  ceased being a shareholder and director of BFM and there were no supporting  documents of him having been an employee of any of the companies in the Group.”

The report also says between the period of April 26,  to November 29, 2019, former minister Vincent Seretse received a total amount of BWP175,000.00 through his company Galeleo (Proprietary) Limited.

“Mr Vincent Seretse alleges that these payments made to him in respect of consultancy services he provided for Practical Housing (Proprietary) Limited. He further alleges that he did not know that the funds he received were coming from the Group. However, he has failed to produce any supporting documents or contracts that he was acting as a consultant for Practical Housing or evidence of any work done for them.” The liquidator wants Seretse to pay back the money.

“Between the period of 27th April 2019 to 29th November 2019, Ms. Molale received a total amount of BWP283, 500.00 (Two Hundred and Eighty-Three Thousand and Five Hundred Pula). It is not clear what the basis of these payments were for, however, I am  of the view that these payments are connected to the investment made by PEB into the local companies of De Beef (Proprietary) Limited and Greensmart (Proprietary) Limited.” The liquidator also wants founder  Engelbrecht to pay back  BWP6,994,455 (Six Million Nine Hundred and Ninety-Four Thousand Four Hundred and Fifty-Five Pula) in the form of salaries and other “unexplainable” payments that were either  paid to him or used for his personal benefit.

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