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BOPEU’s Money, Power, and Control gymnastics

Publishing Date : 24 October, 2017


Andrew Motsamai, the Executive chairman of the Babereki Investment, the business wing of the Botswana Public Employees Union (BOPEU) is being roasted by a National Executive Committee that he installed to power in Palapye in 2015.

The BOPEU NEC has slapped its former President with a ten days leave of absence albeit he was already on a ten days off period. It has been suggested that the NEC is still investigating the accusations against the Executive chairman. The BOPEU NEC, led by Masego Mogwera, who was handed power by Motsamai in February this year gets legal advice from Advocate Sidney Pilane who is on retainer basis with the union.

Motsamai, who has led BOPEU for ten years as President is now Executive Chairman and has a five year contract that has only run for about six months, and indications are that the termination terms border solely on elapse of the five year contract and BOPEU chooses not to renew; or Motsamai failure, during his contract, to follow company terms and conditions of employment that warrant termination.

The twist in the whole episode is that the Executive Chairman is being accused of some events that took place before he was employed by Babereki Investments. Most the resolutions were signed in 2015 and 2016. A direct accusation to Motsamai is the recommendation he made to the Board where he advised that FutureOne, a company under Babereki Investments, which sells cellphones and other gadgets be liquidated because it was not profitable. The voluntary winding up resolution was taken on June 28 this year, and it could have been earlier and it not been of the absence of Mogwera and other members who were flying to various destinations abroad in May. Dutch Leburu was procedurally instructed to do the voluntary winding up of FutureOne.

The Board which includes Masego Mogwera, Martin Gabobake, and Tlhabologo Galekhutle among others had agreed with the recommendation and ratified it. But the latest developments point to a fed up group that wants to disown the recommendation. Babereki Investment had injected close to P7 million into the company. A more pronounced complaint in the unfolding farce are accusations that Motsamai as Executive Chairman watched as one of the financial officers illegally benefited from a car scheme designed for one of the subsidiaries, Babereki Ka Lorato.

The company Board, which Motsamai is not a member of, had in 2015 made a resolution to procure cars from Avis Botswana. The said officer had procured a personal car through the same scheme. The Babereki Investment CFO has bought, through the Babereki Ka Lorato scheme a Range Rover from Avis, and in one of the company trial balances it appeared that the car was paid for twice in one month, an anomaly that attracted the attention of the BOPEU NEC. However the CFO is said to have made it clear that he has been paying for the car and he has proof of the payments he is making towards the car. Ironically the Babereki Ka Lorato board is chaired by Martin Gabobake and Motsamai is not even a member of the said board. Gabobake signed the resolution that allowed the purchase of Avis cars.  

Babareki Ka Lorato has been facing cashflow problems for a considerable time and Gabobake’s board had to ask Babereki Investment to make payments on its behalf for the financial year 2016/2017 as part of “inter-company” transactions. This was agreed through a board resolution signed on 06-07-2016 by Martin Gabobake, as board chairperson, Lazarus Molefi and Ernest Molome as Directors. Babereki Ka Lorato was to reimburse Babereki Investment as soon as the cashflow situation allows. All payments made on behalf of Babereki Ka Lorato were to attract an interest of 7.5%. It is understood that this is one of the resolutions that has put Motsamai and the BOPEU NEC at odds with the latter indicating that he was never part of the decision or the board that made the resolution. However Gabobake is fighting on Mogwera’s corner in the bid to remove Motsamai from employment.

The BOPEU NEC is also having second thoughts about a resolution they signed in connection with an investment in Flying Mission Services. Babereki Investments was to invest an amount of P1, 176, 000.00 in Flying Mission Services Pty Ltd, an air charter company. The investment was to be split between share capital and medium term debt, in a manner as the shareholders may determine as most optimal for the business once a due diligence and valuation has been completed. Babereki Investment was to pay P436 000 towards license fees; P600 000 as loan payable in P200 000 installments; and a credit card valued at P140 000. Andrew Motsamai was “authorized to execute all necessary documentation and do anything that may be required to give effect to the resolution.”

With tempers flaring at BOPEU, Motsamai’s exit from the organisation he helped build is a glaring reality. He looks set to separate with his now employers and his contract terms could see him make more money in six months than he has made when he worked for government for over two decades. BOPEU may be compelled to pay him the contract remainder, four years and six months. The value is estimated in the region of P6 million. It is not clear of Motsamai’s termination could dissuade him from participating in BOPEU affairs, a qualified scientist, the former BOPEU president could whirl his way back into civil service and launch a political battle.

Meanwhile BONA Life was to borrow BOPEU P300 million at a low interest rate and the deal was quashed by the NEC because they were not happy that the deal was brokered by a middle man. BOPEU has currently put a moratorium of member loans because of cash problems. BOPEU currently operates on funds sourced from Babereki Investments. For his part Motsamai maintains a calm response, “it will be sad for the loyal BOPEU members to hear that I could be fighting an organisation that I have known my entire adult life. I have actually denied my family a father, a husband among other roles just because of the love I have for the organisation. I will not be asked to talk about my contractual matters and of course my Babereki Investment roles with the media, I choose to respect my organisation and to see the way forward in the most appropriate process,” he said.

Motsamai said what is important is to know that Babereki Investments is one of the few indigenous entities that should make BOPEU members and Batswana proud. “We should make sure that it continues to be one of the flagship organisations in this country.” The former BOPEU president refused to talk about money, BOPEU politics and control insinuations. “Everything that Babereki Investments has done is in black and white, we have resolutions to all that is necessary, thank you,” he said.



Do you think the closure of BCL will compel SPEDU to double their efforts in creating job opportunities in the Selibe Phikwe?