Court confirms winding up of SME Bank

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Roland Routh

Windhoek-High Court Judge Hannelie Prinsloo yesterday confirmed the winding up of the Small and Medium Enterprises Bank (SME Bank) after hearing extensive arguments from South African Advocate Anthony Bishop, instructed by Sisa Namandje, and Advocate Andrew Corbett instructed by Advocate Dave Obbes, on the pros and cons of the winding up of the SME Bank.

The SME Bank, which is 65 percent owned by the Namibian government, 30 percent by Zimbabwe’s Metropolitan Bank, and 5 percent by Zimbabwean businessman Enock Kamushinda, finds itself under liquidation after it made questionable investments involving nearly N$200 million – money which has not been recovered – and had not paid back any returns when they became due this year.

SME Bank was also found to have violated a number of Namibian banking laws by investing depositors’ money in fertilisers, commodities and dubious unlisted investment vehicles.

When granting the provisional liquidation order in July, Judge Prinsloo issued a special court order for the government, the Namibian Financing Trust, the Minister of Industrialisation, Trade and SME Development, the Minister of Finance, as well as two minority shareholders from Zimbabwe, to show cause, if any, why the court should not make an order that the bank be placed under a final order of winding up, and that the costs of the application be costs in the winding up of the SME Bank.

The government respondents did not oppose the application – only the Metropolitan Bank of Zimbabwe and Kamushinda’s World Eagle Properties Company did.

When the case resumed in September, Sisa Namandje, who represents the Zimbabwean shareholders, opposed the winding up and said he had instructions to fight the liquidation of SME Bank. The matter was then postponed for the parties to lodge their arguments.
(Read the full judgement in tomorrow’s edition)

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