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Court to decide curator bonis for Fishrot assets soon

2024-02-01  Roland Routh

Court to decide curator bonis for Fishrot assets soon

Windhoek High Court judge Orben Sibeya yesterday set the date for his ruling on who will be the curator bonis of the Fishrot assets as 19 February.

In the meantime, the judge said local curators David Bruni and Ian McLaren will continue to administer the assets of the Fishrot accused.

Prosecutor General (PG) Martha Imalwa applied to have Johan Francois Engelbrecht and Coenraad Louwrens Stander of South African firm Icon Insolvency Practitioners appointed for the task. 

The PG submitted that  Namibian firms do not have the necessary capacity and experience to handle such a large asset base such as the Fishrot assets.  She further asserts that the Namibian firm can collaborate with the South African firm, which will result in a transfer of skills. The PG also takes exception to the precondition of PKF-FCS to be paid on a bi-monthly basis, instead of having to wait until a confiscation order is made. Former attorney general and minister of justice Sacky Shanghala, former Investec managing director and chairperson of the Fishing Corporation of Namibia board James Hatuikulipi, and his nephew Pius Mwatelulo want
the court to appoint Harald Hecht and Pierre Knoetze of Namibian firm PKF-FCS as curators bonis.

Mariette Boonzaaier, on behalf of the PG, argued that the South African firm has the capacity and the wherewithal to carry the financial burden of administering the assets until the finalisation of the matter that is the subject of the restraint assets, while the opposite can be said about the Namibian firm. Advocate Vas Soni SC, instructed by Murorua Kurz and Kasper, on behalf of the defendants argued that no provision in law precludes payment of the curators’ fees and expenses from income derived from the restrained property prior to
the finalisation of the criminal trial. 

In fact, he said, there is no merit in the PG’s assertion that Hecht and Knoetze do have the wherewithal to successfully administer the assets.  In essence, he argued, the PG’s proposed curator will be based outside the country, which will be a first for Namibia. There are bound to be serious operational and logistical challenges, which will increase fees quite appreciably. Bruni and McLaren are currently managing the assets of James and Tamson Hatuikulipi, Ricardo Gustavo, Sacky Shanghala, Bernard Esau and Pius Mwatelulo.

The group has a combined 26 erven spread over various Namibian towns as well as in Cape Town, South Africa. Tamson has the highest number of immovable properties; 17 erven, and seven sectional title units.

The group’s fleet comprises 48 vehicles, where Tamson and James top the list with 14 and 13 vehicles, respectively.

The vehicles comprise luxury cars such as a Volkswagen Amarok 3.0, Mercedes Benz R231, Range Rover Sport, Ford Ranger DC 3.2 Wild Track and Range Rover 5.0 V8.

The curators are also managing the accused’s 33 bank accounts, of which James has 12. Three of these are in South Africa, the USA and Europe. The assets being managed furthermore include the accused’s shareholding in various companies and trusts. In addition to managing the personal assets of the accused, the curators are handling the affairs and properties belonging to their companies. 

These companies include Nengomar Pesca Namibia, Erongo Clearing, JTH Trading, Greyguard, Otuafika Investments, Otuafika Logistics, Fitty Entertainment, Cambadara Trust, Olea Investments and Omholo Trust. Also under curatorship are Oholo Trading, AL Investment and Gwaaniilongo Investment. Bruni and McLaren are also managing the affairs of Esja Holding, Mermaria Seafood, Saga Seafood, and Heinaste Investment Namibia. The duo likewise has curatorship over gifts given to Tamson’s wife Johanna Hatuikulipi, and Esau’s wife Swamma Esau. Johanna was gifted three erven in Swakopmund and 100% shareholding in JNH Investment, while Swamma received a Toyota Land Cruiser, Venter Elite Trailer, 50% shares in Esvute Engineering, and a 50% stake in Otjiwarongo Plot Fifty-one.


2024-02-01  Roland Routh

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