Wednesday, October 20, 2021

Bona Life, CMB Capital directors at each other’s throats

While the details and root-cause of a heavy fall-out between Regina Vaka and Tim Marsland are yet to reach the public domain, Sunday Standard can confirm that the two captains of the industry are embattled in a bitter battle that could see an end to their business relationship soon.

The bad blood between the high profile capital markets players – Vaka of Bona Life and Marsland of Capital Management Africa (CMA) is said to have reached a no-turning point with Marsland already threatening to end the business relationship that his company has with Bona Life. Marsland is director at Capital Management Africa which owns CMB while Vaka is the founding Chief Executive Officer and owner of Bona Life. CMB is also a fund manager and General Partner (GP) in the private equity company called Botswana Opportunity Partnership which has, until recently also listed the Botswana Public Officers Pension Fund (BPOPF) as its Limited Partner (LP). 

The two companies have over the years been made to share a dinner table through a private equity company known as Botswana Opportunity Partnership (BOP) which is owned by CMB. BOP in turn has shareholding in Bona Life which is an insurance life company.

This week, details emerged that the fight between Vaka and Marsland started even before CMB was appointed Bona Life’s asset manager. It is said that from the beginning Marsland insisted that Bona Life’s business model would lead to insolvency.

In one of the letters that is alleged to have been written to Vaka by Marsland and seen by Sunday Standard, the CMB boss accused the Bona Life boss lady of “placing obstacle after obstacle in the way of closing some transactions”.

“Bona cannot sell a long date liability at six (6) percent and offset it with cash earning one (1) percent. That is a business model that leads to insolvency and to be blunt is reckless”, reads part of the Marsland to Vaka letter written on 17 May 2017.

On the other hand, Vaka is alleged to have accused Marsland to have attempted to push her out and appoint a new Chief Executive at Bona Life, “who will give you full control over the Bona Life monies so that you may invest them as you please and ultimately transfer them to CMA as you have tried to do with the BPOPF equity fund”.

“I advised you not to fight with BPOPF because it is an essential partner in Bona Life. Instead, you took the BPOPF head-on in order to ‘teach BJ’ and to get her fired so that you could appoint someone who was more aligned to the Chairman and yourselves, thus losing sight of all your obligations to Bona Life and the public with whose funds you have been entrusted,” Vaka stated to Marsland.

Sunday Standard was unable to reach Marsland for a comment whilst Vaka remained cagey about the details of the matter.  “The matter is before the courts, the return date is Friday 09 March 2018,” she said.

Meanwhile through its lawyers, Kanjabanga and Associates, CBM is said to have issued a letter of demand to Bona Life of about P650 million which the law firm has since confirmed.

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