Monday, June 1, 2020

Morupisi faces corruption charges

Permanent Secretary to the President Carter Morupisi faces possible prosecution and arrest for his role in the Capital Management Botswana (CMB) corruption scandal which has robbed the Public Officers Pension Fund of more than P200 million

It emerged during proceedings at the Auckland Park Magistrates Court (Johannesburg) this week that Morupisi was a “central figure” in the BPOPF heist.

The lawyer acting for CMB majority shareholder Timothy Marsland in his extradition bail hearing, Advocate Charles Thompson on Friday queried why “two role players” in the scandal, CMB Managing Director Rapula Okaile and Permanent secretary to the President Carter Morupisi had not been arrested and charged.

Marsland was arrested at OR Tambo airport last week while trying to fly out to Germany and has since been remanded in custody while awaiting the outcome of his extradition hearing.

Marsland’s lawyer, advocate Thompson argued that his client was being made the scapegoat because he is a foreigner. He pointed out that according to section 11 sub section 6 of the South African Extradition Act, the Minister can turn down an extradition request if the subject of the request is being prejudiced for reasons of nationality “and that is the case here, blame the foreigner.”

He further argued that when Marsland was arrested at OR Tambo airport, he was not fleeing the country, but was on a business engagement.

The lawyer acting for Botswana in the extradition bail proceedings, Advocate Pieter Schutte however argued that whether Morupisi is arrested and charged or not was not material to the extradition application. “Whether the authourities decide to prosecute or not to prosecute Morupisi is up to them.” He argued that it was clear that there was a diversion of BPOPF money for purposes not related to the stated draw down and that a prosecutable offence had been committed by Marsland and that this was not related to the arrest or not of Morupisi and Okaile.

He further revealed that Marsland’s extradition was currently being processed through diplomatic channels.

The proceedings which are due to continue on August 2nd however did not go into the details of Morupisi’s involvement in the corruption scandal.

Morupisi is currently suing the Sunday Standard following a story in which the paper reported that the trail of the BPOPF missing P 200 million has gone cold, safe for a few hundred thousand pula that lead to Carter Morupisi’s wife.

Directorate on Corruption and Economic Crime investigating officers who have been chasing the trail of the BPOPF funds managed by Capital Management Botswana (CMB) have only been able to track down P 2, 306,627.10 of the total P 447 million invested by CMB on behalf of BPOPF.

The DCEC sleuths could only trace slightly over P200 million transactions from the P447 million leaving the balance unaccounted for.

From the more than P200 million that has not been accounted for slightly more than R 600 000 was spent on a Gold Land Cruiser for Morupisi’s wife, Piny.

Investigations have revealed that CMB conducted its business through a complex web of associated companies, one of which was used to buy the diesel double cab pickup for Morupisi’s wife.

Sunday Standard investigations have revealed that the Land Cruiser was bought for R630, 388.99 from CMH Toyota in Alberton through a CMB related company called Manor Squad. One of three Manor Squad directors is CMB Chief Executive Officer, Rapula Okaile. The other directors are Robert Neill and Scott Reardon Macintyre of South Africa. The new Land Cruiser which was first registered by the garage in South Africa on 15th May 2017 was delivered to the Manor Squad business premises at 16 Aster Street, Brackenhurst, and Alberton South Africa. It was later driven to Botswana by CMB Chief Executive Officer Rapula Okaile and months later registered under a R 7 Group a company owned by Morupisi’s wife with the registration number B 587 BEW.

Sunday Standard investigations have revealed that P36, 5 million from the BPOPF P447 million was transferred to Manor Squad. Following the investigation by DCEC, a agreement between Morupisi’s wife and CMB turned up in which Piny Morupisi detailed how she was going to pay back the money spent by CMB to buy her the Land Cruiser. Carter Morupisi has signed as a witness in the agreement. DCEC investigators have also turned up bank transfer document from Morupisi’s account to CMB allegedly being the first instalment as per the agreement.

The DCEC launched an investigation against Morupisi following a report by the BPOPF that the PSP who was also BPOPF chairman may be having an interest in CMB. This was after a whistle blower, former Kgori Capital Managing Director Bakang Seretse wrote a letter to BPOPF alleging that “We have been advised by (name withheld) that   that chairman of the Fund has a beneficial interest through CEO Okaile Rapula in CMB and that he has held several meetings with them. While we cannot independently vouch for this, we thought it was important to bring it to your attention to avoid issues of potential conflict of interest.” Okaile was Chairperson of BPOPF and Morupisi’s Executive assistant at the Directorate of Public Service Management (DPSM) before he joined CMB. Morupisi took over the BPOPF chair after Okaile stepped down join CMB. The BPOPF partnership with CMB was concluded under Morupisi’s watch as Chairperson.

Allegations of Morupisi’s questionable relationship with CMB capital have also been made by BPOPF Chief Executive Officer, Boitumelo Molefhe. In a letter to the Chairperson of the BPOPF Human Resources and Remuneration Committee Topias Marenga late last year, Molefhe accused Morupisi of colluding with CMB Capital to expel her from BPOPF. She wrote: Further, I have been made aware of meetings between the Chairman (Morupisi) and CMB Capital officers in which my dismissal was discussed. Apparently the meetings emanate from concerns regarding the current investigations related to CMB Capital.”

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