Wednesday, October 20, 2021

Worry not about special funds monies ÔÇô Matambo

The Minister of Finance and Economic Development Kenneth Matambo has allied fears that thousands of billions of Pulas accumulated in special funds are at risk of being ransacked.

Matambo told Parliament this week that public assets and special funds under the custody of government are in a safe pair of hands.

“There are no investigations on other Public Assets/Special Funds managed by other companies for full compliance. I would like to assure this Honourable House that the other Public Assets/Special Funds under the custody of Government are safe.” said Matambo.

Matambo’s utterance follows a recent financial saga relating to the National petroleum Fund (NPF).

The Fund has been centre of attraction since mid December 2017 after a prominent businessman Bakang Seretse, together with two others, Kenneth Kerekang and Botho Leburu were arraigned before the court of law for issues relating to the financial management of the fund monies.

This week, details emerged that an extensive probe of the financial statements of the controversial NPF is at the centre of the suspension of the multimillion Francistown Oil Storage Facility by 30 million litres.

As it stands, the work to expand the existing storage capacity for petrol and diesel in Francistown to meet the government’s strategic storage programme has been suspended. It is not yet clear how much impact the suspension will have in the future supply of fuel more especially to the northern side of the country.

However, following a study carried between 2012 and 2014, the government took a decision to expand the storage capacity of the Francistown facility.

Last week, the Ministry of Mineral Resources, Green Technology and Energy Security Chief Public Relations Officer Moreri Moesi confirmed that the project was suspended due to lack of funds for immediate implementation.

Sources close to the matter said this week that the project was to be funded partially by the NPF monies which have since been transferred from commercial banks to the central bank.

Matambo said on Thursday that Except for the Kgori Capital, all Private Fund managers entrusted with Public Funds currently face no criminal charges at least for now.

“The review, engagement and termination of Private Fund managers mandates is a continuous process and part of monitoring of individual managers performance,” the Finance Minister however argued, citing the Botswana Public Officers Pension Fund that has terminated investment contracts with some Private Fund Management companies in the past.

Against this backdrop, Matambo does not rule out the possibility of other Private Fund managers joining the bandwagon of Kgori Capital managers anytime soon for the wrong reasons as the investigations of wrong doing is “a continuous process.”

“As far as we are aware there is only one Fund manager under investigations,” he said, referring to Kgori Capital managers.

The Finance Minister will not be dragged into discussing further the case before the courts of law lest he prejudice the proceedings.

“However I am informed the Directorate of Public Prosecutions has approached the courts for a restraint order on the cash balances held in various local and foreign banks and on some properties,” Matambo further said, insisting the “an interim order has been granted by the court.”

Currently 4 in number, the Special Assets/Special Funds managed by Private Fund managers value at P1,854,530,072 as at March 312st 2017.

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