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Accountant accused in N$103 million fraud also faces service station default

Accountant accused in N$103 million fraud also faces service station default

Staff Reporter

MICHAEL Hough Bronkhorst, an accountant and insurance consultant accused of fraud involving some N$103 million, has another pending case in court. He and his co-accused partner, Janine Bronkhorst, defaulted on payment after purchasing the Tal Valley Shell Service station on Sam Nujoma Drive.

The Bronkhorsts were taken to court by Stepher Investment Close Corporation and are liable to the plaintiff for N$702,015.20, including interest. This is after the couple allegedly paid only N$2,975,00.00 for the purchase of the service station.

In the insurance matter, Bronkhorst is due to appear in court again on April 15, 2025. He and other interested parties should motivate why Bronkhorst should not be placed under a final sequestration order, which will result in his net assets worth N$38 million being placed in the hands of a court-appointed trustee to collect funds to repay the fraudulent loans he took out on behalf of unwitting insurance clients.

Lawyer Heinrich Jansen van Vuuren, in an affidavit made on behalf of Petrichor Capital where defendant Bronkhorst had been employed, explained how the company uncovered his fraudulent activities. Van Vuuren, also acting as a director of Petrichor, is the lawyer in the matter.

He added that during January and February 2018, Petrichor presented a business proposal to a duly registered insurance company, whereby its policyholders could offer their alternative risk transfer short-term insurance policies (ART policies), also known as self-insurance policies, as collateral for secured commercial loans. Van Vuuren explained that the ART policies of the relevant policyholders would serve as security for the loans advanced by Petrichor, and that client X would cede the proceeds of his ART policy with the insurance company to Petrichor. The lawyer added that Bronkhorst was instrumental in sourcing business for Petrichor as he was the main point of contact for a number of ART policyholders.

“Since the respondent’s illegal scheme was starting to unravel during the weekend of March 3-4, 2024, I made very detailed investigations trying to figure out exactly how the respondent’s scheme operated. On Sunday, March 3, 2023, upon checking emails, I received various emails from the underwriter sent to me. In her emails, the underwriter informed me that she received a request from a client of the insurance company who wanted to make a withdrawal from his policy, as he was entitled. Importantly, this policyholder knew that he had taken out and paid up on an ART policy with the insurance company but not ceded his policy to Petrichor. The underwriter, however, advised the client that he is not allowed to withdraw from his policy because the policy had been ceded to Petrichor as security for the loan extended to BV Investments Eight Hundred and Eighty-Six CC. The client, however, immediately denied that he never took out a loan with Petrichor or signed any cession in favour of Petrichor,” Van Vuuren said.

He added that the policyholder advised that his signatures on the agreement were forged and that he never took out a loan against his policy or signed any cession.

The lawyer added that on March 4, 2024, Bronkhorst and his lawyer, Hennie Kruger, approached him and two other colleagues. He added that the lawyer confirmed that the accused Bronkhorst, using fake loan accounts diverted by the respondent’s scheme for his own use, amounted to approximately N$103.6 million. He added that the lawyer informed them that the defendant had a net asset value of N$38 million and that these assets include a feedlot, cattle estimated to be worth N$10 to N$12 million, a farm valued at about N$27 million, and a house in Klein Windhoek valued at N$5.3 million, amongst other things.

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