Agribank may seize Zaire's farm

04 December 2018 | Justice

Agribank was yesterday granted a default judgment of N$3 666 716.44 as well as an order declaring farm Rustig in the Khomas Region as executable.

The judgment was against Daniel Ndjai Gerson Zaire, listed as the deputy director for the electricity division in the mines and energy ministry.

Zaire had bought the farm on 13 December 2002 for N$2 259 000 with a loan from Agribank. According to the bank's papers, Zaire did not pay a single instalment.

“He has failed to repay any annual instalments since 2003 when same became due and payable,” the bank told the court.

The government was originally listed as the second defendant in the matter. According to Agribank, Nangolo Mbumba, as finance minister in 2002, had, on 27 November of that year, issued a guarantee to the tune of N$938 000, binding itself as co-principal debtor to Zaire's loan.

The government filed an intention to defend and Agribank later withdrew the action against the government and proceeded solely against Zaire.

The bank brought its action on 24 August this year, shortly after another judgment was issued by Judge Collins Parker in the Windhoek High Court on 16 May. In that matter, PDS Holdings (BVI) Limited, had sued Zaire for N$3 million. The matter arose from a CC Zaire had established, Omaue Trading, which was in the business of selling exclusive prospecting licences (EPLs). The EPL in question, EPL 4433, was not for the exploration of nuclear fuels which was the sole interest of PDS Holdings. They had however, advanced N$3 million of which N$1.5 million was a “loan” to Zaire on 13 December 2010. By April of the next year, it was learned that the licence was limited.

The sale of that EPL was picked up by Corruption Tracker and there were more questions than answers at the time. A family member of Zaire's was arrested on charges of fraud early in 2014 relating to the sale of the EPL to PDS.

PDS, however, turned to the courts and pursued their money. They were issued with an order on 13 March 2014 directing Zaire to pay N$3 million with 20% interest per year. Following this, a writ of execution was granted after no movable assets could be found to pay the debt, which declared farm Rustig as executable.

Agribank appears to have been none the wiser at the time as it took no action.

The auction was advertised in the media and the farm was sold for N$20.5 million to Grace Investments 121 and 122 on 14 July 2015.

However, the deputy sheriff had not offered the land to the government prior to its sale. The sale could thus not proceed and PDS again turned to the court. Judge Parker ruled against the company, which operates from the British Virgin Islands.

The deputy sheriff was ordered to offer the land to the government, which had 60 days to respond and if not interested in the land, to issue a waiver without delay. That was on 16 May of this year. Agribank filed its claim on 24 August.

No further relief has been sought by PDS and the matter is listed as finalised on the justice ministry's website.

Interestingly, on 7 May 2015, then agriculture minister Alpheus !Naruseb published 978 names, of which 810 were listed as individuals, for the exemption of agricultural tax on agricultural land. Besides several other high-powered names, Zaire was exempted from paying land tax on his farm.


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