KAT to Change Hands

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By Kae Matundu-Tjiparuro

WINDHOEK

The sale of part or whole of the Karas Abattoir and Tannery (KAT) Processor is now a foregone conclusion following the signing of the sale agreement by the newly appointed directors of KAT on Monday.

The Chief Executive Officer of KAT, Willem Swarts, has confirmed the appointment on Monday of Brian Finlay and Tega Shiimi soon after the dismissal of the old board the same day and the signing of the Memorandum of Understanding for the Sale of KAT.

New Era is reliably informed that Finlay is connected to Sanlam Investment Management, that has been advising the GIPF as far as KAT is concerned and probably its sale. Swarts would not comment on the urgency of the signing of the memorandum soon after the dismissal of the old board.

The old board, which was chaired by Risto Kapenda, was dismissed on Monday for what the majority shareholder, the Government Institutions Pension Fund (GIPF), which owns more than 50 percent, defined as delay in the signing of the sale agreement. The other two directors dismissed are Vilho Nghipondoka and Maru Tjihumino.

The GIPF is understandably committed to the sale of the facility to its chosen buyer, Brukarros Meat Processor, as much as it sympathises with the concerns of the dismissed KAT directors. It is presumably of the view that it cannot permit any delay if the process is to go ahead in a responsible and timely manner.

The GIPF is probably driven by the deadline of November 1, which is today, when KAT is supposed to hand over the occupation, possession and control of the property. The dismissed directors have appealed to the GIPF to postpone the effective date to February next year, but their appeal seems, for some reasons only known at this stage to the GIPF, have fallen on deaf ears.

The dismissed directors had been driving at having the following intact before the signing of the sale agreement: communicate and consult with all relevant key shareholders, among them Namco Holding with which KAT have a slaughter agreement and to seek legal opinion on the best way to terminate the agreement with Namco; inform members of management of KAT as well as the workforce through its representative union, the Namibia Food and Allied Union (NAFAU) and above all to alert the major shareholder, GIPF, to the need to indemnify the directors against any possible claims in the future.

The GIPF said it could only respond to New Era’s queries today while the response of the Chairperson of the Karas Ostrich Communal Farmers Trust, David Boois, was not available by the time of going to press. Kapenda, and Tjihumino who is reportedly out of the country, could not be reached for comment once again.

Meanwhile, New Era has learnt that Boois in his capacity as Governor of the Karas Region had at one point raised the issue of the impending sale of KAT with the incumbent President, Hifikepunye Pohamba, appealing to him to advise the GIPF and its Board of Trustees to stop the negotiations for the sale of the facility.

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