Hendrik Christian Marches On


By Catherine Sasman


After the Momentum Group and Swabou Life announced the transfer of long-term insurance policies from South African-based Momentum Group to Swabou Life in a public notice last week, Hendrik Christian, who has opposed this in the High Court, is now appealing the transfer with the Supreme Court in Windhoek.

The transfer involved 11 774 long-term insurance policies with a total asset value of N$850-million.

On July 20, Judge Kato van Niekerk “sanctioned” the contested transfer, stating that the insurance companies had complied with the relevant sections of the law.

With the transfer agreement, Momentum obtains a preference share interest of 35 percent equity holding in Swabou Life, with the remaining 65 percent shareholding remaining with FNB Namibia Holdings Ltd.

Van Niekerk said in her reasons that Namibian policy-holders would benefit from the transfer, and the services would be rendered more effectively and cheaply if run by Swabou Life.

She said Christian’s objection only concerned part of the transfer “inasmuch as it allegedly relates to the transfer or retirement annuity business, but he seeks, in effect, to stay the whole process.”

She said neither the SRAF [Self-Retirement Annuity Fund] nor any member of it, nor any policyholder, shareholder or creditor had raised any objection to the transfer.

Christian disputed the transfer arguing that, despite claims to repatriation of the SRAF, these pension funds have been in possession of the Momentum Group.

He also argued that the same subject matter was in dispute with the Supreme Court, and that the High Court therefore did not have the necessary jurisdiction to grant approval for the transfer.

In his notice of appeal to the Supreme Court on August 1, following the High Court ruling, Christian said Van Niekerk “erred in her interpretation, evaluation and comprehension” of the entire application affecting the transfer.

He said the judge had failed to make a distinction between a pension fund business and the long-term insurance business”, arguing that a retirement annuity fund business may not be transferred in terms of the Long-Term Insurance Act of 1998.


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