Monday, October 26, 2020

NBFIRA chief in corruption claims

The process of setting up Non-Banking Financial Institutions Regulatory Authority suffered a setback this week when one of the key officials at the new parastatal was cited as unfit for the position.

A Namibian citizen, Mercelina !Gaoses was recently appointed Director of Licensing at NBFIRA, but her fellow citizens in Namibia have already started warning the Botswana Government that she is a high risk individual who should not be given such a sensitive position.

Citing !Gaoses’ past problems with the law back in Namibia, her compatriots have warned the Botswana government on the follies of appointing her Director in a sensitive institution such as the Non-Banking Financial Institutions Regulatory Authority (NBFIRA), an institution whose only stock in trade is integrity.

It is said !Gaoses resigned her position of General Manager at the Namibia Financial Institutions Authority (Namfisa) amid allegations of corruption.

With !Gaoses already having taken up her appointment as Director of Licensing at NBFIRA, indications are that there was not sufficient vetting and “due diligence” at NBFIRA to check on her past record before she was offered the position ÔÇô an appointment her Namibian compatriots insists Botswana Government will live to regret.

Botswana’s High Commissioner to Namibia, Norman Moleboge, has received a letter, copied to the Botswana Public Officers Pension Fund (BPOPF) and other leading Asset Managers in Botswana warning them against the dangers of a recent appointment of !Gaoses as director of NBFIRA.

Botswana Government has been warned that the appointment could bring difficulties between the two countries which could easily deteriorate into a diplomatic fracas.
In the same letter Botswana Government is warned to exercise extra caution with !Gaoses.

The online version of Namibia’s Zero Tolerance for Corruption Campaign reported that !Gaoses resigned from Namfisa, Namibia’s equivalent of NBFIRA “with immediate effect” and that “it was reported that she was about to be the subject of an internal Namfisa investigation into possible conflict of interest”.

It is alleged that at the time !Gaoses resigned, she was about to be suspended from her post and to be investigated for financial irregularities.

It would seem like !Gaoses was reeling from a deep financial crisis by the time she was appointed to Botswana’s NBFIRA. At some stage, a Namibian furniture shop, Furnitures Nictus, offered a reward of N$ 5,000 for information about !Gaoses and her lover after the furniture store failed to trace the pair to recover N$ 30, 000 in unpaid furniture bills. The duo also lost their expensive house after it was auctioned off to recover a housing loan debt totaling over N$1.5 million that the couple owed to Nedbank Namibia Limited.

The Windhoek High Court allegedly issued a warrant of execution for their Hochland Park house after Koep & Partners law firm issued summons for the recovery of the debt on behalf of the bank.

The Non-Banking Financial Institutions Regulatory Authority (NBFIRA) is the regulatory authority responsible for the regulation and orderly market conduct of all non-bank financial institutions, registered within the Republic of Botswana, principally these include pension fun managers, whose portfolio run into billions of Pula.
The NBFIRA Board of Directors, chaired by former Managing Director of Botswana Development Corporation is scheduled to meet this week and it is expected that the issue of !Gaoses’ appointed will feature prominently in the agenda.

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