FSB takes steps to recover missing R255m
The Financial Services Board (FSB) has placed Bophelo Benefit Services and the Bophelo Beneficiary Fund under curatorship after City Press reported that R255 million in mine worker pension money was missing from the fund.
City Press reported in April that the fund, administered by Bophelo Benefit Services, cooked its 2015 and 2016 financials and falsely claimed to own two “investment properties”. The fund did this to account for R255 million missing from its coffers.
Last week, the FSB appointed Juanito Damons as curator of both the fund and Bophelo Benefit Services.
A letter seen by City Press, which the FSB sent to Damons, read: “It appears from the information available to the registrar that the institutions may have in material respects failed to comply with certain aspects of the law; there are concerns about their financial soundness and that there may have been maladministration of the affairs of the institutions.”
This conclusion, the letter said, is informed by the fund’s two most recent financial statements, complaints by Anglo American Platinum and City Press’ report.
“Following the appointment of a statutory manager to the fund and administrator [Bophelo Benefit Services], the statutory manager reported to the registrar that, in his opinion, the fund and the administrator should be placed under curatorship.”
The objective of the curatorship, the letter said, was to protect the interests of the members, beneficiaries and clients. “To this end, it is expected that you immediately investigate and report to the registrar on any breaches in governance, management and administration that you find, and take corrective measures to rectify the position,” the letter read.
The FSB’s chief executive, Dube Tshidi, also asked Damons to investigate the fund’s investments in immovable property and other irregularities. Damons will take custody of the cash, cash investments, investment policies, stocks, shares and securities of both Bophelo Benefit Services and the fund.
Last month, City Press reported that jittery fund managers were withdrawing their investments from Mvunonala Asset Managers following the report. At least two companies, 27four Investment Managers and Sygnia Asset Managers, decided to withdraw some of the funds the entities had entrusted to Mvunonala.
Mvunonala and Bophelo Benefit Services are subsidiaries of Mvunonala Holdings. The Public Investment Corporation (PIC) has also entrusted more than R3.5 billion to Mvunonala for investments. The PIC also owns a 30% stake in Bophelo Insurance Group, another subsidiary of Mvunonala Holdings.
The holding company was founded by Zimbabwean businessman Bongani Mhlanga, a former employee of Mantadia Asset Trust Company, the administrator of R1.3 billion worth of pension funds stolen in the Fidentia scandal in 2007.