Thursday, May 28, 2020

NPF RECEIVES P500M FINANCIAL INJECTION

The controversy marred National Petroleum Fund (NPF) has gotten a lifeline after the Finance and Economic Development agency took a decision to withdraw P500 million from the Road Levy Collection Fund to augment the ailing fund.

The NPF is currently shrouded in controversy after more than P250 million was illegally siphoned off from the fund.

A number of high profile persons are facing corruption charges for looting the NPF. Among those who are facing corruption charges are Bakang Seretse, Judge Zein Kebonang, his twin brother and former Trade Minister Sadique Kebonang, Executive Director of Botswana Energy Authority (BERA) Kenneth Kerekang.

Finance and economic Development, Minister Kenneth Mathambo moved swiftly to augment the depleted NPF following the looting amounting to P250 million. 

Mathambo used his powers to transfer P500 million from Road Levy Collection Fund to NPF in a government gazette published on August 26.

According to information published in Government Gazette the Minister explained that the transfer of the millions was for the interest of the public to augment NPF which cushion road users from ever increasing petrol prices.

He further noted that the exigencies of the financial situation render it expedient to withdraw funds from the Road Levy Collection Fund to NPF.

According to the notice published on government gazette Mathambo explained that he used his powers conferred on him through Public Finance  Management Act  to transfer P500 million from Road Levy Collection Fund.

The NPF has been struggling to cushion motorists from ever increasing petrol prices as result of due to insolvency.

Suspects in the P250 million white collar heist have included high profile people.

The P250 million intended for the construction of fuel storage tanks for the DISS (Directorate of Intelligence and Security Services) was traced to Israel.

The transaction attracted interest from financial watchdogs like the Financial Intelligence Authority (FIA), Bank of Botswana, Capital Bank as well as the United States based financial agencies that monitor fraud.

The money had initially been requested by then Director General of DISS, Isaac Kgosi, to build fuel containers for security agencies but ended up transferred to Israel to pay for military, anti-poaching and surveillance equipment.

On August 2017, Kgosi wrote a confidential Savingram to the then Director of Energy Department, Kenneth Kerekang, requesting a total of P250 million to be used in the construction of Petroleum Storage Facilities.

The transaction attracted the attention of financial watch-dogs which uncovered a string of suspicious transactions, a web of interconnected companies with cross shareholdings and intrigues snowballing into money laundering criminal charges against some of Botswana’s prominent investment executives and political leaders.

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Sunday Standard May 24 – 30

Digital copy of Sunday Standard issue of May 24 - 30, 2020.