The Oshakati Town Council says it will refund the N$2.5 million that was paid to them by Mouse Properties Ninety Eight for the purchase of erf 1342, or what is popularly known as Omatala. The recommendations to refund Mouse Properties, which is owned by property mogul Erastus ‘Chicco’ Shapumba, was made at a council meeting last month.
Town mayor Leonard Hango confirmed council’s intent to refund Shapumba. Hango said Omatala, which measures 1.6 hectares, is at a strategic point for development and requires a mixed development standard to uplift the face of Oshakati. In the meantime, the council will seek advice from the line ministry to restart the process of disposing the sought-after prime property. An appeal to the Supreme Court filed by Mouse Properties last year to push through the deal to purchase Omatala for N$2.5 million is still pending.
Shapumba’s company dragged council to court after the purchase of Omatala was disapproved by the line ministry at the time. The case was, however, dismissed and struck off the roll in the Windhoek High Court last year. Presiding Judge Orben Sibeya found that the agreement of purchase between Mouse Properties Ninety Eight and council was conditional and subject to the approval of the minister.
“The applicant’s application is dismissed with costs, such costs to include costs of one instructing and one instructed counsel. The matter is removed from the roll, and is regarded as finalised,” the judgement read. Mouse Properties was allocated the piece of land pending the line minister’s approval. However, the company paid the N$2.5 million price way before the sale was concluded. Another bone of contention was that Omatala was reportedly sold at a price below market value.
According to the valuation report, its market value was capped at N$30 million, of which the minimum value is N$17 million and a maximum value of N$45 million. The decision to award Omatala to Mouse Properties was taken at an extraordinary council meeting on 29 June 2016.
In documents seen by New Era, when council awarded Omatala, it ignored the departmental evaluation report and awarded the prime land to Mouse Properties, which was ranked number five out of 11 bidders.
A further extraordinary council meeting was convened to determine the price, and that meeting resolved to dispose of the land at N$2.5 million, which was communicated to Mouse Properties on 13 July 2013.
In an interview with The Namibian last year, Shapumba claimed former Oshakati mayor Onesmus Shilunga told him about the land that was soon to be advertised by the town council as for sale, and encouraged him to bid. Shilunga was also quoted as
saying in The Namibian that he wants his fellow local authority councillors and officials at the council investigated on how the land, estimated to cost more than N$30
million, was sold for a mere N$2.5 million. He said the council had received business proposals from 11 entities, with some offering between N$150 million and a billion dollars. Shapumba, however, insists that Shilunga was among the councillors who passed the resolution and approved of Mouse Properties buying the land.
“It’s about five years now since I bought Omatala . . . why is he only coming out now after all those years? . . . And why did the council accept my money if they think it is too little to purchase the land?” Shapumba asked in The Namibian interview.