FNB joins Fishrot fray to avoid losses

The country’s largest bank has filed court papers seeking to join the Fishrot case, through which assets that it funded risk being forfeited to the state.

12 January 2022 | Local News

OGONE TLHAGE







WINDHOEK

In a bid to recover at least N$5.3 million in financed properties belonging to two of the Fishrot-accused persons, the country’s biggest commercial bank, First National Bank Namibia, filed additional papers in the biggest corruption scandal the country has seen to date. This after saying it had no reason to suspect that “the assets were purchased with proceeds of unlawful activities”.

FNB yesterday intensified its fight when it filed its heads of arguments to be part of the Fishrot case, which could see the accused persons being stripped off their assets.

Through the move, the bank said it wants to protect its interests in certain specified movable and immovable assets financed by it. These include Portion 299 of the Farm Finkenstein No 526; Erf 5052 of Ongwediva’s Extension 11; Erf No 509 in Windhoek’s Hochland Park; a Toyota Hilux Double Cab 2.8 GD6; a Mercedes Benz SL, and a Land Rover Range Rover. The assets are owned by Tamson Hatuikulipi and Ricardo Gustavo.

The Windhoek High Court last year set 26 January 2022 as the hearing date for the Prevention of Organised Crime Act (Poca) application by prosecutor-general Martha Imalwa, who in 2020 asked the court for a property restraint order.

FNB has been trying to join the case by seeking curator bonis status.

A curator bonis is appointed in legal matters to seize and administrate the assets of accused persons until the matter is finalised.

Imalwa previously opposed FNB’s application on the basis that the bank was entirely protected by the provisions of the Poca and that the bank should first have sought leave to join and, thereafter, pursued the balance of the relief.

She also raised a point of non-joinder on the basis that the curator bonis should have been joined.

First option

Now, in its latest court papers filed yesterday, FNB wants High Court judge Orben Sibeya to order that the proceeds of any potential future sale first be allocated to FNB to the extent of the amount owed.

“In the event of any of the aforesaid assets being alienated by the curator, payment of the proceeds thereof shall first be allocated to the Intervening Applicant up to the extent of the amount owed to it in respect of each asset, with the balance being confiscated or dealt with by the curator in terms of the order,” the bank argued.

Assets excluded were those unlikely to contribute to any confiscation order.

“It follows from the aforegoing that FNB is entitled to join the restraint

proceedings to protect its interests. Creditors who find themselves in the

position of FNB should be astute to assert their rights prior to the restraint order

being made final,” FNB argued.

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