Saturday, May 30, 2020

Ex-BDF commando implicated in Bakang Seretse’s business partner’s murder

A former Botswana Defence Force (BDF) commando has been linked to the killing of South African businessman and Bakang Seretse’s former business associate Vusi Mhlanzi.

Mhlanzi was gunned down in Sandton, South Africa in 2017 by a hitman. 

According to a new report in the Sunday World newspaper, the former Business Point Capital (BPC) chief executive officer was gunned down by the hit man and the former BDF soldier after he had questioned a fraudulent bank account that was opened in his name by his business partners in Botswana.

The paper quotes the deceased’s  wife Fikile Mhlanzi as saying that the law enforcement agencies were reluctant or refusing to arrest the former BDF member and the hitman despite overwhelming documented evidence linking them to the murder.

She has reportedly filed a report with South Africa’s President Cyril Ramaphosa’s office about the police and the National Prosecuting Authority’s (NPA’s) refusal to arrest the suspects despite overwhelming evidence unearthed by private investigators she had hired to probe the murder.

The bank account was used to transfer the P250 million that was allegedly stolen from the Petroleum Fund, according to the report, an illegal activity that Mhlanzi was concerned about.

The report alleges that the hit man’s phone records show that he was in the vicinity of the scene of the murder. It further states that on Mhlanzi’s fateful day, one of his co-workers phoned him before he left his office using a Vodacom line.  The co-worker also phoned the hit man using an MTN number immediately after Mhlanzi had left the office. After the assassination, the hit man phoned one of Mhlanzi’s business partners in Botswana.

“During the time of the murder Mr…’s (name withheld) cell phone and the deceased’s cell phone were picked up on e same signal tower in Sandton. After the shooting, his cell phone was being picked up at the Fourways signal tower,” reads the report quoted by the paper. The report also states that the there was no evidence linking

The report in the Sunday World states that after Fikile complained, the chief director in the office of the presidency, Bongani Majola, wrote an email to Advocate Andrew Chauke of the NPA in the South Gauteng region for the clarity as the case falls under his jurisdiction.

In his reply, Chauke reportedly agreed that Mhlanzi’s murder could be linked to the Botswana matter.

“The allegations extend to a narrative that 250 million pula was stolen from Botswana Petroleum Fund and transferred to Capital Bank account of Business Point Capital. Subsequently, large amounts of money were transferred from the account to Mercedes Dealers in South Africa and Nedbank Account (name withheld) company,” the letter reads. Chauke reportedly added that the said Nedbank Account belongs to the wife of the alleged hitman.

Fikile is quoted by the paper as saying that she complained to the office of the presidency about the stalled investigations.

“I did so because we gave everything to the police but they did nothing about the matter. Just yesterday the suspect, Botswana resident who frequents South Africa was seen dining at Melrose Arch. Where does that leave me and my kids? But I don’t care what happens to me. I want justice for my husband because I loved him so much,” she was quoted as saying.

Seretse and Mhlanzi were partners in Basis Points Capital, one of the companies facing NPF money laundering charges at the Gaborone Broadhurst Magistrates Court.

Mhlanzi and Bakang Seretse went into business in Botswana together five years ago. Mhlanzi had started Basis Points Capital in South Africa and partnered with Seretse to expand the company into Botswana.

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Sunday Standard May 24 – 30

Digital copy of Sunday Standard issue of May 24 - 30, 2020.