Zimbabwean banker and minority shareholder in the liquidated SME Bank Enock Kamushinda yesterday withdrew a N$57 million High Court lawsuit against the Bank of Namibia, while the liquidators are suing the businessman and other firms linked to the closure of the bank, for more than N$1 billion.
Last year, Kamushinda alongside Metropolitan Bank of Zimbabwe Limited and World Eagle Investments filed a lawsuit demanding a refund for all the money they invested into the establishment of the SME Bank and in aid of the winding up of the beleaguered institution. According to Kamushinda's founding affidavit, Metropolitan Bank of Zimbabwe Limited held 30% shareholding while World Eagle Investments held 5% shares. The two allegedly paid N$49.5 million and N$8.2 million respectively towards the setting up of the SME Bank. In the abandoned suit, President Hage Geingob was cited as first respondent in the case, for "supporting" the Bank of Namibia's actions on closing down the SME Bank. The ministries of industrialisation and finance were also cited as respondents in the initial lawsuit.
Also cited as respondents are the attorney general and the Bank of Namibia. Judge Collins Parker is yet to give a ruling if the court will grant relief for Kamushinda to abandon his suit. In the same virtual proceedings, the liquidators brought a counter application suing Kamushinda alongside Metropolitan Bank of Zimbabwe and World Eagle Investments for more than N$1 billion.
In the counter lawsuit, the liquidators are seeking an order to have Kamushinda and the two financial institutions held liable for the contracted debt, demise and liquidation of the SME Bank in 2017. The interest on the said amount will be calculated at a rate of 20% per annum as from 12 July 2017 until the date of the final payment. The liquidators are claiming that between 11 October 2012 and 29 April 2015, an amount of N$97.1 million was transferred to South African recipients. Another transfer of N$53.5 million was transferred to South Africa between 30 April 2015 and 1 September 2015.
The bank again made a transfer totalling to N$97.5 million to the South African recipients of the SME Bank's money between 1 September 2015 and 17 January 2017. All these transactions were allegedly made at the time when Kamushinda was the deputy chairman of the SME Bank's board. "He (Kamushinda) knew about the theft and fraud. For that reason, he should be declared liable for the debts of the SME Bank in terms of Section 430 of the Companies Act," said lawyer Raymond Heathcote, on behalf of the liquidators.
The liquidators are further claiming an amount of N$121.4 million and N$20.2 million for Metropolitan Bank of Zimbabwe and World Eagle Investments respectively for the outstanding payment on their shareholding. The interest on the amount sought is 20% per annum from 1 March 2015 until the date of final payment. Through their lawyer Steve Rukoro, Kamushinda and the two financial institutions opposed the suit. They argued the money, which was intended for SME Bank from the government, through the Namibia Financing Trust, never reached the institution and it warrants for a thorough investigation. Kamushinda claimed that it is because of such irregularities that the Bank of Namibia decided to close the SME Bank.
"The NFT Trust (PTY) Limited just became a self-enrichment scheme to which the Bank of Namibia turned a blind eye on. A forensic audit needs to be conducted into the financial affairs of NFT Trust (PTY) Limited as a matter of urgency," said Kamushinda. He further claims that money that was meant for capital investments went into private bank accounts and the said individuals seem to be enjoying immunity and continue to enjoy the proceeds of their ill-gotten wealth while there is determination to persecute innocent foreign investors to cover up the ills of powerful public officers in government and the Bank of Namibia.
"Let the responsible officials simply be called to account and this will end this endless cycle of buddies where liquidators have their own people that they use and matters are forever prolonged as a money-making scheme," said Kamushinda. The case is continuing today.