Law enforcement agencies, DCEC and DISS have been roped in to investigate a whopping P220 million that seems to have strayed at investment firm Bluthorn Fund Managers (BFM), The Business Weekly & Review has established.
Currently under liquidation, Bluthorn Fund Managers is reported to have fleeced over P220 million from investors. Some of the investment firm’s clients include a number of district councils across Botswana.
The Chairman of Kweneng District Council (KDC), Motlhophi Leo, confirmed this week that the matter has been reported to the corruption busting agency for possible corruption and fraud-related activities.
Prima facie evidence suggests that KDC, through Mogoditshane Sub-District Council and Letlhakeng Sub District Council, had invested over P150 million in Bluthorn Fund Managers.
“We are still awaiting feedback from DCEC,” Leo said. “It was a resolution taken by the full council that we report the case to the DCEC.”
He also added that because the company is under liquidation, the council is in constant communication with the liquidator to assist with how they can retrieve its investment. The Business Weekly & Review is informed that a similar report was made to DISS.
These investments are said to have been made between 2014 and 2019. Councillor and now president of Botswana Association of Local Authorities (BALA), Jeffery Sibisibi, was the chairman of Kweneng District Council when the investments were made. Information from CIPA shows that one of the largest shareholders in Bluthron Fund Managers is his daughter, Kelebogile Sibisibi. Councillor Sibisibi himself is also a previous director in the company.
Incumbent councillors of Kgalagadi District Council and South East Sub-District Council are also said to be asking questions regarding what led to decisions to make such investments and may follow in the footsteps of their Kweneng counterparts.
The Executive Secretary of BALA, Steve Pheko, says the organisation is extremely concerned that so much money placed in investments is alleged to be missing funds and has advised the affected councils to seek remedy by all means possible. “We always emphasise that due diligence must always be done to the fullest,” Pheko said in an interview. “We have advised the councils to report this matter to relevant authorities.”
Asked if BALA has engaged Councillor Sibisibi on the matter, he answered: “Yes, we have engaged him, though it was not very extensive. He is doing his part to try and clear his name.”
Meanwhile, according to a document titled “List of Investors or Depositors,” Gaborone City Council invested P20 million in Bluthorn, Mogoditshane Sub-District Council P40 million, Ghanzi District Council P40 million, Kgalagadi District Council P50 million, South East Sub-DistrictCouncil P45 million, Southern District Council P10 million, Tlokweng Sub-District Council P23 million, Hukuntsi Sub-District Council P5 million, Tonota Sub-District Council P10 million and Kanye District Council (sic) P6 million.
The most affected district councils are Letlhakeng Sub-District Council which had deposited P140 million, South East District had deposited P100 million, and Mahalapye Sub-District Council P70 million.
Land boards across the country were also not spared. Malete Land Board had invested P13 million while Tlokweng Land Board had deposited P28 million. The Botswana Sectors of Educators Trade Unions (BOSEUTU) had invested P16 million, Kgatleng Development Trust P15 million, Botswana Institute for Development Policy Analysis P3 million, BOFESETE Funeral Scheme P7 million while individuals had invested more than P111 million collectively.
DISS spokesman Edward Robert has neither denied nor confirmed that the secret service is involved in investigating the issue. DCEC director general Tymon Katlholo was not available for comment at the time of going to press.