Minister’s son, girlfriend sued in township deal
A group of politically-connected individuals is being pursued in courts for nearly N$4 million over a housing project that never came to pass.
10 February 2021 | Local News
A current minister’s son and his girlfriend as well as a deputy minister and senior corporate executives are part of a group of people being sued for N$3.7 million for a property deal that went horribly wrong in Walvis Bay.
Conselect Engineering is suing PAM Tree Investments to recover money it pumped into the deal to acquire land in 2015 to develop a township to be known as Extension 16. The project never got off the ground.
According to the project layout, the plan was to construct over 200 houses on the outskirts of Kuisebmond.
Conselect owner Wiseman Molatzi, through his lawyers Pieter Hagman Legal Practitioners, on Monday issued a letter of demand to PAM’s directors to recover the money he paid to acquire the deal as well as the engineering services offered.
The directors are current deputy labour minister Hafeni Ndemula; urban and rural development minister Erastus Uutoni’s son, Josephat Shatilwe Uutoni, and his girlfriend Charmain 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.
Molatzi is also a shareholder in the company.
Conselect was subsequently appointed as the project manager and consulting engineers for the development.
After scoring the lucrative deal, PAM entered into a loan agreement with Conselect on 3 February 2014 and 13 August 2015.
Conselect gave PAM a loan N$1.2 million to enable it purchase the land on which it planned to develop Extension 16.
The purchase price of the land was N$865 000, while the remaining money was used to settle the transfer fees (N$93 340.80) and town planning fees (N$7 000).
According to the demand letter, Conselect completed civil engineering designs to the tune of N$1.3 million and electrical engineering designs costing N$713 000.
The loan was supposed to be repaid with the proceeds from the development.
“Since 2015, your company has now twice attempted the development and has twice failed with same, which leaves our client with no other conclusion other than that the intended development shall not be commenced with and completed within a reasonable time,” the demand letter read.
PAM, according to the letter, has 14 days to repay the money.
“We have been instructed to demand from you, which we hereby do, payment of the amount of N$3.706 840.54 into our trust account within 14 days from date of this letter, failing which summons will be issued from the High Court of Namibia to recover same from your company,” the letter further read.
According to municipal records, PAM also owes the Walvis Bay municipality over N$1.9 million in rates and taxes.
Ndemula yesterday said he received the demand letter, but refused to comment because he is yet to speak to his partners.
Hanabeb also confirmed receiving the letter and also opted not to comment at this stage, while Egumbo said he is not authorised to speak.
Uutoni said he is not aware of the demand letter, adding that he is not surprised that Molatzi took such a step.
“Wiseman is a very interesting character, why would you sue your fellow shareholders in a company which you also have interests [in]? There are many factors that led to the delay and he [Wiseman] is one of those factors because his company was contracted to do designs and they have not delivered anything,” he said.
He said Conselect was only contracted because Molatzi was part of PAM.
“Wiseman at some point said he is not sure about investment but we know he is a lone walker. We will execute the project in phases as it will be easier. We already have guarantees in place,” Uutoni said.
Molatzi yesterday accused his partners of trading recklessly.
“The 90% shareholders and 90% directors which I'm in the process of issuing summons to have been busy with ‘reckless trading’ which put the company as well as all the creditors' investments at high risk,” he told this publication.
He added: “The loan agreement is one aspect, and the other aspect is that Conselect are the consulting engineers and project managers on the project, which the 90% shareholders and 90% directors are also in breach with the provisions thereof.”
In 2015, New Era reported that the Walvis Bay municipality sold 19 unserviced plots at a price of N$167 000 to Proprietors Business Solutions CC.
The company, according to the report at the time, was owned then Swapo councillor for Walvis Bay Rural constituency, Johannes Nangolo, and Kawiwa, who served as the ruling party’s section coordinator for Narraville. The other directors were Shatilwe Josephat Uutoni and Molatzi.
The company applied for the land ostensibly to build affordable houses and apartments.