ALLEGATIONS OF CORRUPTION
Oseg and Standard Chartered Botswana row grows
Deloitte, a leading professional services firm, is embroiled in a scandal that has already claimed the head of the first Motswana CEO of Standard Chartered Bank Botswana, on Thursday.
The departure of Moatlhodi Lekaukau follows allegations of corruption made to banking regulators by Oseg Group, a local business process outsourcing and financial services firm, for arbitrarily flouting Basel regulations governing debt to liquidity ratios by establishing illegal overdraft facilities and inflating results by not reporting impairments.
"The bank hid its impairments and continued to make withdrawals from a hidden account that had been registered in my name," Oseg CEO Majakathata Pheko said.
"The false impression was created with regulators that I was servicing my loan whereas instalments were debited from an unauthorised illegal overdraft facility to service a nonperforming loan.
"In July 2014 I was told to service my loan account and in November 2014 my account reached write-off stage. My loan balance was 3.5-million pula [$0.34m] but I had 850,000.00 pula cash in my account. The normal banking procedure is that after four months of nonpayment you write off the loan and report the account to regulator Bank of Botswana."
Pheko said despite efforts to resolve the issue amicably Standard Chartered Bank Botswana continued servicing his overdrawn account with an illegal overdraft account.
"In 2016 the bank obtained a court order demanding 3.25-million pula but they continued to make withdrawals on illegal overdraft claiming about 4-million pula. This is more than the amount awarded in court. The bank did not write off the loan after a court order despite my efforts to settle the matter. I was placed in legal notices as a bad debtor and as a result I lost a lot of business with some contracts cancelled and others halted. I therefore had to retrench 150 employees."
Edward Dyer, secondee for Deloitte and Touche SA special assets management Africa, erroneously said Oseg Group owed Standard Chartered 4,186,665.32 pula.
Despite the furore surrounding the issue the departing Lekaukau maintained he was leaving on good terms.
"I am taking a sabbatical," said Lekaukau. "I have had an excellent relationship with group stakeholders. They have been very supportive."
Lekaukau complained he had not been allowed to explain his side of the matter to the Botswana Gazette, which broke the story. But he refused to do so at his final press conference, saying "client information is confidential".
Oseg Group complained to Bank of Botswana banking supervision that after failing to service the debts with Stanchart, efforts to rehabilitate business and debt were deliberately frustrated by Stanchart’s leadership.
"We received a tip-off from internal [sources] and from a couple of business people that the CEO and a cabal of his friends both inside and outside the bank were intentionally and aggressively looking for ways to weaken Oseg, tarnish its name and diminish its value as they were in the same competing businesses’ interest, in the call centre business and the factoring business."