- Questions yield nothing for anyone to take in lieu of their ‘invested’ millions
Bluthorn Fund Managers (BFM) creditors’ hopes of salivating a thebe from the liquidated company suffered a serious setback after it emerged during interrogation recently that some shareholders and directors are not in possession of crucial documents.
The interrogation commenced before the Master of the High Court, Chipo Gaobatwe. Attorney Sipho Ziga, representing liquidator Thekiso Kopanang, revealed that the directors and officers who have been subpoenaed are Councillor Geoffrey Sibisibi, Kelebogile Sibisibi and former minister Vincent Seretse, among others.
Others are Joseph Mosimane, Eune Engelbrecht, Motlamedi Matome, Relebanye Magosi, Tiyezi Kamuzi, Joseph Batsalelwang, Alfred Mokone, Martinus van der Merwe, Hank van der Merwe, and George Al. “We have received an indication from Vincent Seretse that he is not available and he has requested that he be excused and the liquidator has acceded to the request,” Ziga said. He added that Kelebogile Sibisibi is also unavailable in person but may be available virtually, she having indicated that she is outside the country.
“We have also received an indication that Martinus van der Merwe, whom we had invited to join virtually, is not available,” Ziga continued. While being interrogated by Ziga, the founder of the Bluthorn Fund Managers, Eugene Engelbrecht, said he did not have sufficient information or documentation as required by the subpoena.
“I think one of the biggest problems is, you know, everything that was electronic, doesn’t exist any more,” Engelbrecht said. We don’t have emails, we don’t have anything. The server that was left in the care of the strategy manager was wiped. And I don’t know what the reason is for that.” “To answer your question, it’s not that easy to go back and just look for certain records because we don’t have email addresses. We don’t have records of emails. I mean, it’s very difficult.”
Whereupon Ziga asked him what could have happened to his laptop or computer that he uses for business and if still has it. “Actually, no,” came the answer. Regarding records of money that he received from investors, Engelbrecht replied: “I was never a signatory in any other bank account in this entire group but one of them. And secondly, my personal bank accounts are closed.”
He had narrated how Bluthorn Holdings was a company that he bought from a listed company in South Africa in 2017 or close to the end of 2018. “The transaction was finalised and Bluthorn Holdings included, at that stage it was Exponent Asset Management, which was changed into Bluthorn Fund Managers,” he said.
“Bluthorn is the holding company, ultimately, which was created after the fact. So, the original two companies that we started with was Bluthorn Holdings which owned Exponent Asset Management which became Bluthorn Fund Managers. At that stage, I acquired a holding company for R53 million, which I paid for those two companies on the SA side.”
Engelbrecht said shareholders received shares in the form of donations. To be sure, Ziga asked: “Yes, but were they issued because they subscribed for them or was it a donation? What was it?” Engelbrecht replied: “It’s a donation. It’s sweet equity; for work and contribution to the larger group. I mean, that’s how I normally did it, Sir. I know it’s against the grain …”
The company’s former Chief Executive Officer, Joseph Mosimane, said he also did not have the documents that he was required to have brought. “Okay, but presumably don’t you have correspondence between yourself and your co-directors relating to the affairs of the company, like emails, and so on and so forth?” Ziga asked. Mosimane replied: “Not in the file, Sir. No, not here. I will have to look into my computer.”