In what could be Botswana’s biggest clone firm scam ever – court records filed two weeks ago suggests that former Basis Points Director Bakang Seretse created a clone of the asset management company to launder National Petroleum Fund (NPF) money behind the back of his murdered partner Vusi Mahlanzi.
A clone firm is a fraudulent company set up to mimic a legitimate business. Documents presented to the High Court earlier this month allege that Seretse forged Mahlanzi’s signature to open a copycat Basis Point bank account with Capital Bank which he used to launder NPF millions.
Mahlanzi was shot dead execution style a few days after calling for an investigation into the cloned Basis Point bank account.
An affidavit deposed by Director of Public Prosecutions, Stephen Tiroyakgosi states that, “Bakang Seretse forged a resolution by the Director of BASIS, which resolution purports to have taken place on 20th July 2016, and which purports that Mr Vusi Mahlanzi had appended his signature thereto in support of the opening of a corporate current account at Capital Bank Limited Botswana head office for BASIS.”
The forged resolution made Seretse the sole signatory to the bank account. As part of its evidence against Seretse, the DPP has deposed an expert hand writing analysis report, “that confirms that the signature depicted thereon is not that of Mr Vusi Mahlanzi.”
The DPP has also presented immigration movement control records detailing entries and exits from Botswana and South Africa’s borders “which reflects that Mr Vusi Mahlanzi was in South Africa and thus could not have attended a Board meeting, nor could he have appended his signature thereto.”
Two months after Seretse opened the fraudulent bank account, Seretse resigned from Basis Point Capital and continued doing business with NPF through a clone firm of the asset management company.
On 7th December 2016, two months after he resigned from Basis Points, Bakang Seretse and Kenneth Kerekang facilitated a transfer of P43 million from the NPF account with Bank Gaborone to the clone Basis Points bank account with Capital Bank.
It further emerges that Vusi Mahlanza became aware that his company had been cloned and called for an investigation. According to the affidavit filed by the DPP, “during August 2017, Mr Vusi Mahlanzi caused the opening of the Capital Bank account to be investigated.” The allegation that Mahlanzi ordered the investigation of the account opened by Seretse to be investigated is supported by a Ms Hope Chola Tawenga’s witness statement.
The DPP affidavit states that, “the investigation did not gain any traction as Mr Vusi Mahlanzi was murdered on 31st August 2017, when he sustained multiple gunshots wounds whilst driving his vehicle shortly after 18.30 at the intersections of Grayston and Katherine Streets, Sandton, Johannesburg South Africa. The matter, regarded as a hit is still under investigation by South African law enforcement authourities.”