Thursday, October 22, 2020

Controversy surrounds Fengyue Glass Plant auction

Controversy continues to dog the controversial Fengyue Glass Manufacturing Plant that cost Botswana Development Corporation (BDC) over P500 million even after the plant has been sold off under the hammer.

Local auctioneers are up in arms claiming that the appointment of the plan auctioneer was irregular.

Fengyue Glass Manufacturing was placed in to provisional liquidation by order of the High Court of Botswana on November 13 2013 and the final winding up order was issued on 29 November 2013.

Clear Asset- a South African Auctioneering company was appointed by the liquidator, Nijel Dixon-Warren to facilitate the auction. Clear Asset was working in conjunction with Fletcher Auctioneers- a local company which local auctioneers claim was used as a front to circumvent local businesses protection and citizen empowerment restrictions.

Local auctioneers told Sunday Standard that the whole auction was conducted from South Africa closing out interested Batswana from participating.

The auction which was conducted online was closed on February 25th and the process took place in South Africa.

Some of the assets on auction included mobile cranes, fels, trucks, vehicles, forklifts, containers, Rock Dumpers, various Equipment and large Lot of Miscellaneous items.

A letter dated 30 July 2015 indicates that Auctioneers Botswana (Pty) Ltd the country’s biggest auctioneer led by Graham Philips was one of the local companies that were requested by the Liquidator to submit proposals for the sale of the plant.

Sunday Standard has in its possession another letter revealing that it was only in January 28, 2016 after the liquidator had appointed a South African company that he wrote to Auctioneers Botswana apologising for not replying sooner. In the letter, the liquidator revealed that an auctioneer had already been appointed and that the Auctioneers Botswana proposal had been declined.

Another local auctioneer, Kgale Auctioneers on 27th April, 2016 wrote to the Minister of Investment, Trade and industry requesting the Ministry to protect local auctioneering companies against foreign auctioneers who connive with local and use money to buy appointments as auctioneers.

“These foreign companies are literally driving local companies out of business, we are therefore, asking your honourable office to intervene on this matter to protect the survival of the local auctioneering businesses…. our understanding is that the legislation clearly stipulates that certain trading businesses are strictly reserved only for Batswana companies, and auctioning is one of this businesses…” the letter was signed by Director of Kgale Auctioneers Rebagamang Sekgekge.

The Minister of Investment, Trade and Industry is yet to intervene on the matter.

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