FSB takes steps to re­cover miss­ing R255m

CityPress - - News - SIPHO MASONDO sipho.masondo@city­press.co.za

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.

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