Walvis property developers squabble as land deal sours

01 April 2021 | Local News



A legal fight has ensued after directors in a property conglomerate fell out over a housing development at Walvis Bay that never got off the ground.

Conselect Engineering, through its lawyers Pieter Hamman Legal Practitioners, in February wrote to PAM Tree Investments to recover N$3.7 million it claims it is owed for a land deal and engineering services provided in 2015 to develop a township to be known as Extension 16.

According to the project layout, the plan was to construct over 200 houses on the outskirts of Kuisebmond for house-starved residents of the coastal town.

Earlier this week, PAM, through its lawyers Metcalfe and Beukes, responded to Conselect’s letter, saying the firm is demanding payment for work not done.

“Enquiries at the municipality of Walvis bay indicate that no civil engineering designs have been approved. How your client can demand payment for incomplete work defies all reason in logic and law,” the law firm said.

PAM also said it has not been provided with approved electrical engineering designs, therefore, it cannot make payments for work not provided.

“Our client is, therefore, unable to proceed with the development due to your client’s non-performance pertaining to provision of civil engineering and electrical designs. All delays in this matter have obviously been contrived by your client in order to hijack the development for its own purpose,” read the response letter.

PAM also informed Conselect that its services have been terminated due to non-performance.

‘Premature and misplaced’

While acknowledging that it owes Conselect money, PAM said it only owes the engineering firm N$1.2 million, not N$3.7 million as claimed.

Upon the start of the project, the two parties agreed that the loan amount would be repaid from the proceeds of the township development.

“Clearly your client’s demand is premature and misplaced. Our client reserves all its rights as your client is the author of all delays pertaining to this project,” PAM’s legal representatives said.

PAM’s directors are current deputy labour minister Hafeni Ndemula; urban and rural development minister Erastus Uutoni’s son Josephat Shatilwe Uutoni, and his girlfriend Charmaine Matheus; Namibia University of Science and Technology legal head Joshua Kaumbi; Namport commercial executive Tino Hanabeb, and former Swapo coordinator for Narraville, Michael Nalili Kawiwa.

Wiseman Molatzi, who owns Conselect, is also a 10% shareholder through his other company, Sinco 82 CC.

Meanwhile, according to Metcalfe and Beukes, Conselect’s lawyer Pieter Hamman is also a member of Sinco 82, adding that the ownership arrangement evokes a serious breach of corporate governance.