Tuesday, September 22, 2020

Non Banks watchdog appointment raises eyes brows

The appointment of former Registrar of Insurances, Mrs. Gonsalves, as acting Chief Executive Officer of the newly established Non Bank Financial Institutions Regulatory Authority has raised suspicions that the recruitment process was stage managed and choreographed to cover up a possible conflict of interest.

In what latter posed conflict of interest difficulties, Mrs. Gonsalves, whose husband works for the Botswana Insurance Company Limited was for many years allowed to be Registrar of Insurance despite provisions of the Insurance Industry Act which bars anyone with an associate in the insurance industry from being Registrar of Insurance.

The issue of Mrs. Gonsalves’ questionable appointment as Registrar of Insurance and conflict of interest was raised recently in a case in which Botswana Insurance Company Limited had filed a case against Mosele Legal services.

In their affidavit, Mosele Legal Services pointed out that it was in a very difficult position because “the Registrar of Insurance is Mrs. Gonsalves, the wife of the Applicant’s claims auditor. It was apparent to us from the statements made by Mr. Gonsalves that the Applicant could at any time enlist the assistance of the Registrar to deal with the first respondent (Mosele Legal Services). We had no doubt that the Registrar of Insurance was fully in the picture of what was transpiring between the Applicant and the 1st respondent.”
The decision to sweep Mrs. Gonsalves’ conflict of interest under the carpet has, however, been legitimized under the Act setting up the newly established Non Bank Financial Institutions Regulatory Authority.

The Fourth Schedule of the new Non Bank Financial Institutions Regulatory Authority repeals totally Part 2 of the old Insurance Industry Act. The latter Act made it clear that the Registrar should not be associated with anyone in the industry. If the provision had not been repealed, it would have disqualified Mrs. Gonsalves from taking up her new appointment as acting CEO of the Non Bank Financial Institutions Regulatory Authority.

Sunday Standard investigations have turned up information that Mrs. Gonsalves was part of the government reference group that helped draft the act for the Non Bank Financial Institutions regulatory Authority and also took part in the recruitment process.

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The Telegraph September 23

Digital edition of The Telegraph, September 23, 2020.