Crypto-currency investment company CBI Exchange this week lodged an urgent application in the Windhoek High Court to authorise Bank Windhoek to release funds from its account for “day-to-day operations”.
Bank of Namibia froze its accounts pending an investigation and possible prosecution for what it deems unlawful banking operations.
The company succeeded in March to get a court order to force the central bank to partially unfreeze its account at Bank Windhoek to pay for operational costs.
However, it seems that Romeo Nel, the central bank’s compliance officer is reluctant to release the money as he is not satisfied that the money is for its intended use, but rather to dissipate the funds.
According to the court order of 18 March, the central bank must do everything necessary to partially remove the freeze placed on the company’s bank account for it to meet its necessary day-to-day business expenses.
Accordingly, the company wants the bank to release just over N$3 million for the period March to May.
They further want the court to interdict Nel and the authorised officer at Bank Windhoek, Immanuel Murwira from obstructing the implementation of the March court order and unlawfully imposing conditions upon the release of the funds.
Additionally, they want the court to order – pending the finalisation of their case against the central bank – Bank Windhoek to release such monthly amounts constituting day-to-day expenses as communicated to it by CBI. Furthermore, they ask for costs for one instructing and two instructed counsel.
According to Coenie Botha, the owner and director of CBI, the unlawful conduct of Nel and Murwira of frustrating and obstructing the implementation of the March court order through their unlawful imposition of unwarranted and impossible conditions to the release of funds has continuously and massively impacted on the operations and financial stability of CBI.
He further said Bank of Namibia and Bank Windhoek, and also through Nel and Murwira, refuse to release funds for CBI’s daily expenses, despite being repeatedly provided with requisite expense details, notwithstanding the fact that the court has already been made aware of CBI’s day-to-day expenses and ordered payment thereof after the partial opening of the bank account.
Botha said Nel has no right to impose conditions upon which the funds may be released and that Bank Windhoek cannot hide behind Nel and cave in to his demands, but must adhere to the court order.
In their reply, the two banks and their officers argue that if the interdict is granted, it could, on reasonable suspicion, result in the dissipation of funds of members of the public obtained by CBI in contravention of the Banking Institutions Act.
They further say that CBI labours under an incorrect interpretation of the March court order and do not satisfy the requirements for an urgent application or a final interdict.
Furthermore, they say, CBI based on its incorrect understanding of the March court order failed to make out a case on the merits that the expenses that it seeks to have paid do in fact constitute the necessary day-to-day expenses as contemplated in the court order. Generally, they say, the application suffers from a major blow as it contains mainly conclusions which are not supported by facts or evidence.