Thursday, July 18, 2024

Inside BOTUFF’s attempt to violate Botswana’s Financial laws

The Botswana Teachers Union Fund Trust or BOTUFF is said to be caught between rock and hard place in its attempt to sweep under the carpet some of the alleged ‘dirt’ by key members of its managerial team. The alleged acts violates the country’s financial services law amongst them the Insurance Industry Act section 107 and 96.

Sunday Standard has laid hands on a tip-off document addressed to the Botswana Institute of Chartered Accountants (BICA) and also copied to an international professional accounting body ÔÇô Association of Chartered Certified Accountants – ACCA which details how the Trust Fund has been ‘captured’ by a small group of managers who in the process continue to violate the Financial Services Laws of Botswana.

Section 107 states that, “no company or individual not a party to any contract of insurance, except an agent or broker licensed under this Act or an employee of an insurer, shall be paid any commission or consideration or thing of value by any Botswana insurer, agent or broker for the effecting or renewing of any policy of insurance subject to the provisions of subsection (3) and subsection (5) of section 96”.

On the other hand, Section 96 stipulates that a person who is not an insurer, broker, agent or the employee of such insurer, broker or agent shall not, directly or indirectly, pay or allow, agree to pay or allow, or attempt to pay or allow, compensation or anything of any value to any person for- (a) placing or negotiating insurance on any life, property or interest in Botswana; or (b) negotiating the continuance or renewal of insurance on any life, property or interest in Botswana.

In the document, the anonymous whistle blower informed both BICA and ACCA that notwithstanding the fact that BOTUFF does not have Insurance license its Finance Head ÔÇô Ishmael Akuje records and continues to receive income into the books of More Power Investments. More Power Investment was established by the Botswana Teachers Union in accordance with the Companies Act and started operating in 2012. The company has two shareholders Botswana Teachers Union (40%) and BOTUFF Trust (60%).

According to the tip-off document, Akuje continue to receive income into the books of More Power Investments and BOTUFF Funeral Fund scheme as commission from selling insurance services. At the time of going to press, this publication was not able to establish whether the two entities has insurance license as required by the law. This newspaper however has learnt that the Trust auditors ÔÇô known only as Precision were paid by Akuje to rubber stamp the financials without raising the anomaly that has been going on for quite some time now.

“The auditors are paid to rubber stamp and ignore the entire maladmistration including the failure to properly administer the assets of the BOTUFF Trust as per the Trust Property Control Act/. They just decide to sweep the illegal issues under the rug”, reads part of the document that was furnished to the accounting bodies – BICA and ACCA.

Given the stringent legislation that governs Trusts in Botswana, Sunday Standard has been informed that a grand plan has been drawn to shut down BOTUFF Trust.

“They just want to sweep under the carpet their dirty work. Their intention is to convince the membership that Trusts are not good enough and too stringent thus need to convert to a society. That is just part of the ploy to cover up the maladministration that has been going on at the Trusts”, a source close to the matter said this past week.

Meanwhile at the Special Annual General Meeting scheduled for June 29th the architects of the plan are expected to make the first attempt to dissolve the Trust.

“If they can successfully dissolve the Trust it would then mean they are now free to run away from their impropriety”, another source close to the matter said.


Read this week's paper