The country’s multi-billion Pula pension fund, Botswana Public Officers Pension Fund (BPOPF) has cut ties with Fleming Asset Management Botswana again. The latest separation involves the development of BPOPF’s multimillion Pula Hilton hotel project located in the Central Business District in Gaborone.
The P300 million project is a mixed-use development offering leisure and commercial sectors co-developed and integrated in one scheme.
The latest contract termination comes hardly a few months after the fund announced a huge step of terminating all its contracts with Fleming Asset Management Botswana. The termination in 2016 was allegedly linked to corporate governance issues linked to Fleming Asset Management Botswana.
This week, the BPOPF Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Boitumelo Molefe said that the fund has been working with Fleming on transitioning the development of the Hilton to the new property manager Messidor.
“The project team currently in place will not change; the only change will be the transition from Fleming to Messidor as a result of our termination of the Fleming mandate,” said Molefe.
“Usually when we have contracts we look for local supplier guided by economic citizen empowerment policy and it is usually contained in the agreement itself,” she said.
Previously, BPOPF stated that where possible, every effort will be made to ensure that local firms, both citizens owned and Botswana based, with the necessary capacity, capability and experience will be afforded an opportunity to participate in the specialist sub-contract works of this development.
“Currently the project is within time and on budget but obviously there was a bit of disturbance from the recent rains,” said Molefe.
Before cutting ties, Fleming’s main contractor was Group 5 Botswana, where a decision was made to invite a nominated list of contractors, instead of a public tendering process, was informed by the specificity of the contract under consideration. It is reportedly that the selection of the main contractor was critical that the development team identify firms, both local and regional, with brand specific leisure development experience, with projects of this size or larger and delivered within the time frames expected of this development.
Meanwhile, Molefe confirmed that the Novare South Africa firm which has been engaged by BPOPF in 2013 to provide asset consulting services, which ended on the 31st January 2017, is currently at the moment on a month- by- month extension while BPOPF undergo a formal tendering process. Molefe added that the new contract is expected to be awarded by the 31st May 2017.
“Novare has so far worked well with the Fund on developing robust investment strategies that we are currently implementing. It is our belief that there will be no risk to the operations of the Fund in the event of change,” she stated.