Tuesday, October 19, 2021

Justice Zein Kebonang’s name in NFP shady deals

Minister of Minerals and Energy Sadique Kebonang’s twin brother, Justice Zein Kebonang a judge at the Lobatse High Court was a director at Basis Points at the time the company was irregularly appointed as fund managers of the National Petroleum Fund (NPF).

Minister Kebonang’s portfolio responsibilities cover the NPF. Basis Points was also engaged as consultants for the energy sector under Kebonang’s ministry and was improperly paid from the NPF.

It has further emerged that Basis Points had inside information when it submitted the bid to the ministry.

The Auditor General has revealed that the appointment of Basis Point Capital and Afena both companies owned by businessman Bakang Seretse as fund managers for the NPF was irregular.

In its reported dated 28 March 2018, the Auditor General found that Basis Points Capital had submitted an incomplete bid and should have been disqualified.

Kebonang’s ministry conceded that “on hindsight, following a review and analysis made, the ministry concurs that the company should have been disqualified at the financial evaluation stage.”

The Public Accounts Committee (PAC) was told this week that directors of Basis Point Capital at the time were Bakang Seretse, Zein Kebonang and murdered South African citizen Vusi Mhlanzi. 

On change in the Basis Points Capital deliverables, the Auditor General states that “Even though the contract deliverables had changed, the contract price had remained the same.”

With regard to the fund management services agreement, The Auditor General said “that despite the provisions of the agreement in reference to the services, the price of P15 680 045 9 in contrast to the Stanlib price of P1 800 000) does not relate to the affairs of the fund but other issues of the energy sector as a whole and should not have been charged to the fund.”

The ministry said the prices for Stanlib and basis point varied because Stanlib was engaged to provide financial and investment management services exclusively for the fund while Basis Points was engaged to provide consultancy which incorporated issues of energy sector.

On appointment of Afena Capital as Investment Manger, the Auditor General said that “on signing the interim mandate, the former director indicated that he was duly authorized to execute this interim mandate and the audit was unable to obtain evidence of him being authorized to execute the mandate.” 

Replying, the Ministry insisted that it never authorized the former director for the department of energy to sign the interim mandate.

Concerning the acceptance of appointment by Afena Capital, the Audit General couldn’t find the existence of an offer.

The Ministry said Afena Capital was introduced to the ministry as a sub contractor to the Basis Point Capital from the bidding stage up to the management committee level and financial proposal.

“As a result there was never a need to have a contract between the Ministry and Afena Capital since to our knowledge they were a subcontract to Basis Point Capital.”

On Basis Points Capital project variation, the Auditor General said “It is surprising that Basis Points Capital mentioned capital raising fees even though they were never a part of the contract scope which suggest that at the time of submission of their financial proposal they had prior and privileged knowledge of the funding challenges of the three water supply projects and the need to source additional funding to complete the project, hence their statement on capital raising.” 

 With regard to the completeness of levy collection, the Auditor General said “There was no evidence of authority for the engagement of Kgori Capital for this facility no indication of the procedures that had been followed for its procurement at this amount.”

Replying, the Ministry agreed “that proper procurement process was not followed to engage the fund manager to undertake this task.”

According to the Ministry, “This anomaly came to our knowledge on February 2018 before commencement of the audit and the ministry is in the process of investigating this.”

Currently, Seretse, Botho Leburu and Kenneth Kerekang (former Director of Department of Energy) are accused of money laundering.

According to the particulars of the offence, the accused persons Seretse, Khulaco (Pty) Ltd, herein represented by Seretse, Leburu and Kerekang are said to have on a date unknown to the prosecution, but between September 5, 2017 and November 27, 2017 in Gaborone acting jointly and with common purpose received, possessed, disguised and disposed P250 000 000 knowing or suspecting or having reasonable grounds to know or suspect that the money was derived or realised in whole or in part, directly or indirectly from the commission of a confiscation offense to wit theft.

The Auditor General states “that a perusal of fund statements submitted to audit revealed that a sum of P230 000 000 was transferred from Fund Stanbic current account to a payee named Khulaco. I have not been able to ascertain the purpose of these investments nor its proposal because of lack of access to the Khulaco books of accounts.”

Replying, the Ministry said the DIS Director General (Isaac Kgosi) made a request for funds to the Director of the Department of Energy (Kenneth Kerekang) amount P250 million for the construction of DIS petroleum storage facilities. The Ministry added that the former Director of Department of Energy wrote back to DIS Director General agreeing to his request and advised DIS to access funds from National Petroleum Fund directly through the Fund Manager (Bakang Seretse).

In response, the Ministry stated that “The Fund Manager wrote to the Director of Energy under the Khulaco letterhead acknowledging his instruction to disinvest funds for DIS construction of the DIS storage facilities. Henceforth, P230 million was transferred from the NPF into Khulaco account. The Ministry of not privy to the disbursement from the Khulaco account. This is a matter that is currently subject to the investigation by the law enforcement agencies and also before the courts.”


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