21 February 2013

Namibia: Two Brakwater Plot Owners Embroiled in Ugly Tussle

A FEUD between two domiciled foreign nationals, who are neighbours on plots at Brakwater north of Windhoek, is threatening to turn ugly as the men are now accusing each other of assault, pointing of firearms and underhand dealings.

Dominique Pratt, a French citizen who lives on Portion 36 of Farm Brakwater, and Helmut Wassermann, an Austrian by birth living on Portion 332, who both admitted to have had run-ins with the law in the past, are now at each other's throats with accusations of violence flying thick and fast.

Wassermann bought his portion measuring about 10 000 hectares from the previous owner of Portion 36, from which Schloss Hof Property (Pty) Ltd operates, at a cost of N$900 000 in 2005.

A provision to the deed of sale was added in 2008, which says that whoever is the owner of Schloss Hof Property (Pty) Ltd shall have free access to a well on the portion sold to Wassermann after it was discovered that the well is located on Wassermann's property.

The document states that: "If the purchaser [of Portion 332] commits any breach of any obligation under the agreement and fails to remedy such within 14 days than the sale of the plot can be cancelled."

Pratt bought Portion 36 in 2010.

Trouble between the former friends allegedly started after Wassermann switched off water supply to Pratt's plot in October last year, prompting the latter to enlist the services of a lawyer to have the water supply reconnected.

Wassermann then allegedly assaulted Pratt, which allegedly resulted in him losing a gold chain worth N$45 000, before allegedly pointing a firearm at him.

Pratt opened a case of assault, case number 422/10/2012.

Wassermann, who says he did not sign the servitude for the use of the well, is denying the assault and firearm charges and says he acted in self-defence. He says Pratt grabbed him by the throat and threatened him with a pistol.

The two are now accusing each other of colluding with the police.

Wassermann admits to owning a own collection of 50 firearms, for which he has a permit seen by The Namibian.

His firearm collection is now, however, under police protection after his ex-wife obtained a restriction order against him following which the police issued a prohibition order against him to own a firearm pending the finalisation of a case against him in 2008.

Wassermann also admits that he shot a dog belonging to another neighbour with a shotgun in 2011despite the prohibition order saying that he had no authorisation to store firearms for a friend.

"The police order did not say I cannot use a firearm or keep one for a friend," he said.

He also admits that he reloads ammunition on his plot but claims: "You do not need a licence to manufacture bullets."

Asked what he does with the bullets Wassermann said they are for hunting purposes for himself and friends.

He accuses Pratt of being aggressive saying; "You can ask anyone around here. He is known to be a violent man."

Wassermann says things actually turned sour between them when Pratt's mother approached him for assistance after alleged abuse at the hands of her son, who allegedly coerced her under false pretences to sell her property in France and invest in his business in Namibia.

Pratt made a second appearance in the Windhoek Magistrate's Court yesterday on a charge of assault after his mother reported him to the police last year.

He sublets portions of his luxurious home to people for short periods of time, but also keeps a few livestock - something Wassermann claims is illegal.

Wassermann, who owns Swiss Dunes cc, has a light industrial licence to operate a taxidermy and a retail business in second-hand tyres.

However, the Windhoek municipality, after an inspection of his plot, found that he was also doing mechanical work and woodwork, and making concrete pots in violation of his licence.

The urban planning division of the municipality requested him to cease these operations on February 13 2003 but he has not yet complied with the order.

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