Wednesday, October 20, 2021

BNF boss threatens to sue BOFEPUSU for P15m in unpaid commission

A dispute in which Botswana National Front Secretary General and Umbrella for Democratic Change (UDC) Head of Communications Moeti Mohwasa is threatening to take Botswana Public Employees union (BOPEU) to court over a failed deal between the union and BONA Life worth P300 million is expected to open a can of worms.  

Sunday Standard has turned up information showing that Mohwasa has instructed his lawyers Kambai Attorneys to demand P15 million which he says he is entitled to as a commission fee.

This comes amid reports of alleged financial mismanagement at BOPEU investment wing, Babereki Investments.

This also comes in the wake of reports that Chief Financial Officer, Victor Leoketsa tendered his resignation while Executive Director Andrew Motsamai has been slapped with a leave of absence by the Board of Directors.

Sunday Standard has also learnt that BOPEU is rejecting Mohwasa’s demands insisting that the deal didn’t only close but they were also not aware of his involvement in the negotiations between Babereki Investments and Bona Life.

BOPEU President Masego Mogwera confirmed in an interview that they have been served with papers by Mohwasa’ lawyers and they are still consulting their lawyers.

“The proposal from Bona Life was rejected at a board meeting that was convened on 29 August. It was unanimously rejected by the Board of Directors,” she said.

Mogwera said the proposal included among others a P300 million loan and a 49 percent stake in Babereki Ka Lorato Services (funeral scheme) by Bona Life.

“We rejected them on the basis that they do not have the capacity to provide services to our members who are based in different areas across the country. We made it clear to them that even if the proposal was going to benefit our union; we have to consider the interests of our members first. We don’t want them to suffer,” she said.

According to Mogwera, during the presentation of the proposal from Bona Life there was no mention of a deal broker or a middleman.

“I was shocked the following day when someone came to me and told me how I played a major role in ensuring that the proposal was rejected. He informed me that our Chief Financial Officer had informed him that I was the one who was instrumental in ensuring that the proposal fell through,” she said.

Mogwera added that “so he wanted to find out why I played a major role in rejecting the deal and I asked him on what capacity was he asking me those questions and that was when he disclosed to me that he was the middleman.”

Mogwera said “the man said that he was entitled to 5 percent (of the P300 million) which is P15 million. But the deal fell through and we have no knowledge of the middleman,” she said.

She confirmed that Leoketsa resigned on Thursday while Motsamai has been slapped with a leave of absence.

“He is on leave as we are still conducing due process and I appeal to our members to remain calm as we try to bring things to normal,” she said. Mogwera said currently auditing of financial books of Babereki Investments and its subsidiaries is underway.

Leoketsa confirmed that he has resigned from Babereki Investments. He denied claims that he is responsible for the suspension of one of the employees who was allegedly caught red handed stealing files at a request of the former. 

“I resigned because I got an offer somewhere. It has nothing to do with the recent developments at BOPEU,” said Leoketsa who had initially denied that he had resigned.

Bona Life Chief Executive Officer, Reginah Sikalesele-Vaka confirmed that her company had made a proposal to BOPEU but declined to be drawn into discussing details.
“Yes I can confirm that since Babereki Investments is 100 percent citizen owned company it is a perfect entity to do business with since we are also a 100 percent citizen owned company instead of supporting companies from other countries,” she said.

She added that the idea was that “let’s grow citizen owned companies so that they can compete with foreign entities.”

She declined to discuss the alleged involvement of the middleman.  Motsamai said he was in a meeting at the time of going to press while Mohwasa also referred this publication to Babereki Investments. 

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