Baobab investments safe – GIPF …as NAMFISA de-registers fund manager

Staff Writer

The Government Institutions Pension Fund (GIPF) says N$87 million invested by its now-deregistered fund manager Baobab Capital (Pty) through Special Purpose Vehicle (SPV), Baobab Growth Fund (Pty), remain secure.

The GIPF had committed N$140 million in October 2016 to the Special Purpose Vehicle (SPV), which has a venture capital mandate to invest in start-up companies.

This comes as the Namibia Financial Institutions Supervisory Authority (NAMFISA) on Wednesday announced that it had de-registered the fund manager.

The de-registration comes after NAMFISA conducted its own investigations into the affairs of Baobab Capital (Pty) and Baobab Growth Fund (Pty).

“The Fund would like to re-assure stakeholders and its members that the underlying companies and investments (portfolio companies/portfolio investments) in which the SPV has invested on behalf of the GIPF, remains safe and sound,” said David Nuyoma, CEO and Principal officer to GIPF.

“The monies are committed over a 10-year period. As of July 2020, an amount of N$87 million has been drawn down by the SPV and is currently invested in various portfolio companies, which are still on track to fulfilling their mandates.”

According to the GIPF, last year some irregularities were discovered through the SPV’s auditors.

“GIPF discovered some irregularities through the SPV’s auditors. The Board of the SPV, on recommendation of the GIPF, commissioned an independent investigation by APEX Fund Services to identify issues flagged by the auditors. GIPF requested the directors of the SPV to take drastic remedial actions. Consequently, most of the issues found by the investigations were subsequently attended to and were being rectified by the fund manager and SPV until the directors of SPV resigned on 08 September 2020,” Nuyoma said.

He said fund is currently working to replace the directors of the SPV who have resigned.

“GIPF is cognizant of the pivotal role it plays in the Namibian economy and the colossal impact it has on the members, and its other stakeholders. It is on this premise that the Fund will continue to work closely with NAMFISA to ensure that the portfolio investments held via the SPV remain safe. GIPF further remains committed to safeguard and grow the Fund for the benefit of its members,” Nuyoma said.

The GIPF has invested close to N$45 billion in the Namibian economy according to its annual report for 2019, of this amount; N$5.6 billion have been committed in unlisted domestic sectors.

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