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SME bank closure ruling in October

SME bank closure ruling in October

Eba Kandovazu

HIGH Court Judge Collins Parker is expected on 29 October to deliver a judgement on whether or not the closure of the SME bank, the removal of the board members and the subsequent appointment of the liquidators, was illegal.


The application to challenge the bank’s closure was brought to court by the bank’s Zimbabwean minority shareholders, Metropolitan Bank of Zimbabwe LTD, World EagleProperties(PTY) LTD and Enock Kamushinda, SME bank’s former deputy Chairperson of the board of Directors.


They are also seeking for an order that would compel the Bank of Namibia (BoN) accounts and refunds to the shareholders of the SME bank within 30 days of the court order, all the monies spent in the winding up of the bank, as well as all the costs of the liquidation.


The closing arguments were heard today, even after the applicants in the matter made a u-turn, a request that was turned down yesterday.


SME bank’s minority shareholders are represented by Steve Rukoro, while Raymond Heathcote represents the liquidators, Ian Mclaren and David Bruni.


The two are requesting that Kamushinda be held responsible by the court for the bank’s troubles.


The applicants further maintain that the bank’s closure is a violation of Articles 16 and 18 of the constitution and as such, is null and void.


Kamushinda, in his affidavit, argued that by appointing liquidators “without the necessary expertise,” the motive was to close the bank.


He also alleges that BoN came to court with “dirty hands” and has misrepresented facts and did not make a full disclosure of the facts regarding the minority shareholders.


“The inescapable conclusion from the foregoing is that BoN’s motive through the abuse of its statutory powers was to appoint liquidators without banking expertise and knowledge as liquidators in a way that ensured that the only outcome was liquidation. This intention is clear from the fact that the liquidators denied the applicants access to reports and accounts of the SME bank from 1 March 2017 to date. The liquidators who are the agents of BoN have trampled on the rights of the applicants by refusing to provide information to the applicants despite the clear right to such information,” Kamushinda claims.


The liquidators, however, maintain that their investigations have proven beyond reasonable doubt that “Mr Kamushinda and his co-wrongdoers” were the sole cause of the collapse of the SME Bank.


The theft of at least N$247 000 000 is no small matter, they added.


The liquidators have already recovered just over R60 million in South Africa through litigation and insolvency enquiries from various recipients of the stolen monies of the SME Bank. The process is continuing.


“It is absolutely vital and necessary for Mr Kamushinda and his cohorts to be brought to book,” the liquidators argued.


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