In a space of less than one year, two official cars belonging to Barclays Bank Botswana Managing Director Reinette van der Merwe have disappeared under curious circumstances. On Wednesday afternoon, information surfaced that van der Merwe’s car disappeared under mysterious circumstances after it was taken to a car wash just next to the bank’s head office in the Central Business District (CBD).
The white Mercedes Benz E300 had been taken for a wash by van der Merwe’s driver, whose name is known to this publication. It is reported that an unknown man later went to the car wash claiming that he had been sent to collect the executive car. The unsuspecting car wash attendants surrendered the car to the man and he disappeared into thin air.
Sunday Standard can reveal that a similar incident happened just a few months back, when van der Merwe’s other official car, a silver Toyota Land Cruiser VX was ‘hijacked’ in Johannesburg, South Africa. The MD was behind the wheel at the time. To date, nothing concrete has come out in terms of investigations or information leading to the car’s whereabouts. The bank has remained tight lipped on the disappearance of the high priced cars. It is not clear whether the high jacking of the Land Cruiser VX was reported to the South African police.
The E 300 Mercedes Benz was purchased in 2011 and its current value was estimated at around P250, 000, while the Toyota Land Cruiser VX was bought in 2009 for P1.1 million.
Borakanelo Police Station Commander Superintendent Modise Gabatshwane confirmed the incident adding that it was reported on Wednesday evening.
“We are still investigating the matter of the reported stolen white Benz and we have not yet recovered,” said Gabatshwane on Thursday.
Barclays Bank Public and Media Relations Manager, Spencer Moreri also confirmed the incident adding that the matter has been reported to the police.
“We are cooperating fully with police investigations,” Moreri stated.
He however did not comment on the high jacking of the Land Cruiser VX. Recently, van der Merwe was embroiled in a conflict of interest row after a company in which her husband Dr Hein van der Merwe is a shareholder was hired by the bank to provide services such as mentoring of executive managers. She was also accused of purging pretenders to the throne after it emerged that she had fired at least four Batswana executive managers who were in line to ascend to the post of Barclays Managing Director. Van der Merwe also fired her Personal Assistant a few months after employing her. The latest purge involved the bank’s former Chief Operations Officer (COO) Pele Moleta who was head hunted by the bank’s Dubai based recruitment agency. However, hardly three months after he ascended to the top post, Moleta found himself without a job after a change of heart by Barclays Bank Botswana.