Wednesday, October 20, 2021

“Okaile’s cars are bought from proceeds of crime” ÔÇô DCEC

The Directorate on Corruption and Economic Crime (DCEC) has linked the seizure of Rapula Okaile’s  cars to corruption allegations linked to his company Capital Management Botswana (CMB) and its funds invested on behalf of Botswana Public Officers Pension Funds (BPOPF).

In her answering affidavit to Okaile’s urgent application in which he is demanding the release of his vehicles, DCEC’s Anti Corruption Officer, Goitseone Anita Esely states that it is important to give a background of why the vehicles were impounded.

To understand the circumstances that led to the seizure of Okaile’s vehicles, Esely also gives a background of Botswana Opportunity Partnership (BOP) – BPOPF private equity fund managed by CMB.

“This is a special purpose vehicle (BOP). A subsidiary company with an asset liability structure and legal status that makes it obligations secure even if the parent company goes bankrupt. A commitment of P500 million was made on the inception of the contract in 2014,” she said.

She added that “CMB is General partner and also a Fund Manager of BOP where BPOPF is a limited partner and has contributed P477 million which is currently managed by CMB,” she said. Esely further explained that the investment of P477 million was made with funds to be paid directly to investee companies from BOP.

“Whilst some of the funds were invested accordingly, there is reasonable suspicion that some of the funds were diverted to CMB accounts and in turn ended up financing vehicles owned by WARENTEBO (PTY) Ltd)” she said. WARENTEBO is a business owned by Okaile.  She said they arrested Okaile’s wife, Neo Okaile because she was a Director of CMB and she had been told that it was suspected she benefited from the proceeds of crime. She said the seizure of the vehicles between 18th and 19th  March 2018 was therefore done in terms of the law.  She said only one vehicle registered in the name of CMB had been seized by DCEC and there was reasonable suspicion that it was acquired through proceeds of crime while four vehicles were seized from Okaile’s compound.

“The applicants need to be reminded that the inconvenience that they say they suffer is far outweighed by the public interest that any property that is reasonably suspected to be a proceed of crime should be seized by a law enforcement agency pending the determination of the status of the concerned property before a court of law,” she said.

Asely added that “the officers of the Directorate on Corruption and Economic Crime (DCEC) have merely seized the Applicants’ property pending the finalisation of the investigation and ultimately, if need be, prosecution.”

In his founding affidavit, Okaile said “how the business operations of Warentebo, a separate. Independent juristic entity is linked to CMB and its interactions with BOP has not been explained.”

He said it has not been explained why Warentebo’s property has been seized.

“No evidence has been produced of any wrong doing by Warentebo.  There is also no evidence that was shown to me or to my wife who is cited herein as the 4th Applicant, that the funds invested in Warentebo were illegally obtained from BOP which the DCEC say they were investigating,” said Okaile.

He said Warentebo was formed by funds contributed by himself and his wife adding that it was formed several years ago before he became a member or director of CMB.

“Most of the company assets were purchased through personal loans I obtained from the bank and repaid from my salary and from profits the company made during the course of its operations,” he said.

According to Okaile, the assets were never purchased with ill-gotten funds. “If in any case the DCEC believes that the company properties were obtained with ill gotten funds, they must adduce evidence of such and show that they are justified in seizing properties of any entity which they believe has committed an offence, he said.

He further stated that “in any event CMB has never stolen any money belonging to BOP or BPOPF or anyone else for that matter.”

“All the funds it made from BOP were lawfully made as per provisions of the partnership agreement subsisting between the parties. It has not committed any crime or benefited unlawfully from its dealings in the BOP,” said Okaile.

RELATED STORIES

Read this week's paper