Windhoek-The Bank of Namibia’s (BoN) application to have the troubled SME Bank liquidated in order to avert further financial losses will be heard in the High Court of Namibia in Windhoek at around 09h00 today.
The hearing follows an announcement by BoN Governor Ipumbu Shiimi on Tuesday that he had initiated proceedings in the High Court in an attempt to close down the SME Bank that employs around 200 Namibian workers.
Yesterday, a legal team representing the central bank, led by Charles Visser, told New Era they cannot give any details regarding the case, as it is currently before the High Court.
In his statement earlier this week, Governor Shiimi also did not elaborate on the details of case, saying on that further information will be availed at the appropriate time.
He said the BoN was “aware of the anxiety the legal actions may cause employees, depositors, creditors and other interested parties alike” and called for calm during this period of transition and urged all stakeholders to cooperate fully and exercise the necessary patience.
BoN had invoked Section 56 of the Banking Institutions Act in March and assumed control of the SME Bank’s assets, liabilities and all its business affairs.
This came after the central bank failed to get satisfactory answers regarding N$200 million of depositors’ money SME Bank had invested with South African institutions.
BoN also relieved the SME Bank’s board of their duties and sacked the top management, including chief executive officer Tawanda Mumvuma, along with the general manager for treasury and the finance manager.
The central bank has since gone on record to say it believes much of that money was likely “lost”, as there was no assurance it would be recovered.
Two weeks ago, the South African Reserve Bank subpoenaed all South African banks and financial institutions that dealings with SME Bank in Namibia to confirm what SME Bank funds were still on their books, if any.
New Era previously reported on the vast amounts deposited by SME Bank in South African institutions before the money was disinvested – without making any return on investments – and channeled to other institutions, apparently without any valid explanation.
One institution had in fact flagged SME Bank transactions as “suspicious” and closed the accounts.