Sunday, December 3, 2023

Inside how CBM attempted to swindle P70 million from BIFM

In an unusual and extreme capital markets case, one of the local companies, Capital Management Botswana (CMB) is at the centre of investigations after it allegedly attempted to defraud atleast P70 million from the Botswana Insurance Fund Management (BIFM).

BIFM is listed at the Botswana Stock Exchange and it’s a subsidiary of the Botswana Insurance Holdings Limited (BIHL) group which also trades its shares at the local bourse.

On the other hand, Capital Management Botswana (CBM) is a subsidiary of Capital Management Africa which a few years back held close to 50 percent shareholding in BIFM Capital.

Details emerged late Friday afternoon this week that CBM hit a snag in its attempt to cash-up atleast P70 million from BIFM’s corporate account at RMB Bank. It is not clear whether who, amongst the officials of CBM has access to the BIFM corporate bank accounts.

Sources close to the matter tipped Sunday Standard that BIFM immediately reported the matter with the country Serious Crime Squad (SCS) after a “failure notification”.

The SCS is currently led by Senior Superintendent Officer Commanding Phenyoetsile Nnanaakoko who confirmed the matter to the Sunday Standard.

“This is a fairly newly reported case and we are kick-starting intensive investigations. It was reported this week and we will follow processes and procedures,” said Nnanaakoko.

On the other hand, whilst the BIFM Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Neo Bogatsu confirmed the alleged fraud attempt, she was reluctant to share shed further light on the matter.

Although she confirmed that the matter has been reported to the police, Bogatsu could not be drawn into discussing details including names of the suspect company.

“The BIHL Group can confirm that we are investigating a matter that involves one of our investments. Given the nature of the incident, we have notified the relevant authorities to investigate accordingly, as this is in line with our own governance policy. As this matter is with the authorities, we are unable to comment on it in the public domain,” said Bogatsu.

Historical, CBM’s mother company, Capital Management Africa (CMA) and BIFM jointly owned BIFM Capital with BIFM holding 51 percent. The two entities separated in 2012 when BIFM bought CMA.

Bifm is one of the country’s leading asset management and companies with access to over P23.9 billion in assets across equity, fixed income, real estate, liquidity and alternative investments. The company has also invested in non-traditional assets like in the healthcare industry, tourism sector through KYS Investments, and property development activities.

Attempts to contact RMB bank where BIFM corporate account is held failed. The bank did not respond to equerries sent by Sunday Standard at the time of going to press on Saturday morning.

Meanwhile further details emerged this week that CMB was recently, for a few days placed under statutory management.

The capital markets companies regulator, NBFIRA acted in terms of Section 46 (4) (a) of the Securities Act No. 26 of 2014 and appointed Peter Collins as Statutory Manager of CMB several days ago.

It has however emerged that the company, which faces possibility of liquidation notification successfully reversed the NBFIRA decision. By Thursday this week, the CMB’s statutory management is said to have been withdrawn by the court.


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