SME Bank minority shareholders issue fresh challenge

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Windhoek - The minority shareholders in the liquidated SME Bank have launched an urgent application in the Windhoek High Court to rescind an order by Deputy Judge President Hosea Angula allowing liquidators DJ Bruni and Ian McLaren to pay out deposits and institute legal proceedings in courts locally and internationally to recover the bank’s lost millions.

Windhoek High Court Judge Thomas Masuku set down the hearing for March 19 for arguments on the matter, including the urgency.

Bruni and McLaren approached the High Court on February 2 this year on an ex- parte application to expand their powers to include authorisation to approach any court locally, in South Africa, Zimbabwe and internationally as the liquidators of the SME Bank for the recovery of all immovable or movable properties and funds in bank accounts which are or were the property of the SME Bank.

An ex-parte application is when an entity approaches a court without having to notify an opposing party about it.
They were also granted the powers to institute and proceed to the final determination thereof the proper and effective winding up of the SME Bank. Further, the Deputy Judge President granted them the authority to effect payment of deposits less than N$25,000 to depositors.

The SME Bank was placed under liquidation by Acting High Court Judge Hannelie Prinsloo last year after the Bank of Namibia requested the High Court for such an order.

The Zimbabwe shareholders, who held a 35 percent stake in the now defunct bank, appealed the liquidation order in the Supreme Court.

Metropolitan Bank of Zimbabwe, which owns 30 percent shares, and World Eagle Properties, which own five percent, are asking the High Court to rescind and set aside the orders of Judge Angula.

The respondents in the matter are Bruni, McLaren, the Namibian Financing Trust that own the remaining 65 percent on behalf of the Namibian government, the Master of the High Court, the government, the Minister of Industrialisation, Trade and SME Development, the Minister of Finance and the Bank of Namibia.

Bruni and McLaren indicated they will oppose the application through their lawyer Francois Erasmus.
In an affidavit by Enock Kamushinda, representing the minority shareholders, he claims that the matter should be heard as urgent, as according to advice, the matter will only be heard in the ordinary course in about ten months or more. He said this will not address their plight as the liquidators may have paid the deposits by the time the case would be heard in the ordinary course which would cause irreparable harm to them should the appeal in the Supreme Court succeed. -  New Era.

 

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