Kgori Capital triumphs against the state in the NPF scandal

Local asset manager, Kgori Capital has won its appeal against the state to have its bank accounts unfrozen and will now have access to its funds.

The company whose former Managing Director, Bakang Seretse is implicated in the National Petroleum Fund (NPF) scandal, is accused to committing four crimes in relation to the Fund.

These offences are that the asset manager is said to have cheated public revenue under section 33 of the Corruption and Economic Crime Act; obtaining money by false pretences contrary to section 308 of the Penal Code, abuse of office contrary to section 24A of the corruption and Economic Crime Act and money laundering.

Kgori Capital found itself embroiled in the alleged embezzlement of the NPF after getting into a partnership with Basis Points Capital, a company that was appointed as consultant for the petroleum fund.

In March last year, the High Court in Lobatse made an order preventing Kgori from handling P9 million held at a local bank while the Directorate on Public Prosecution (DPP) also made an application to impose civil penalty on the fund manager.

In response, Kgori filed a notice of opposition to oppose DPP from launching civil proceedings.

However, its application was dismissed on the 18th of June last year.

Kgori had also sought the release of some of the restrained funds to pay for its running expenses but that application was dismissed on June 8, 2018.

The appeal, however arises from the imposition of the civil penalty, which was issued by the High Court on April, 18, this year.

The state argued that having been the fund managers of an investment portfolio for the NPF, the service agreement placed a limit on the fees payable of some P15 million and that because the effect of the mandate was that an extra amount of some P10 million was paid, government was therefore defrauded by P10 million.

Court of Appeal judge, L.T.C. Harms upheld the application by Kgori Capital and set aside the orders of the High Court.

Hart noted that DPP sought to escalate what essentially is a contractual dispute to interpretation and maybe rectification to a criminal matter.

“This much is appararent from the affidavit of Bakang Seretse, a director of Kgori Capital whose evidence was not even replied to by the DPP and stands uncontradicted,” said Harms in his ruling.