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Kamushinda branded ‘fraudster, thief’ in Namibia bank row

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Agencies


METBANK owner, Enoch Kamushinda, mired in a Namibia SME bank fraud case, has bluntly been described as a thief by a top lawyer in that country.

Read Full Story In The Namibian.

THE Zimbabwean minority shareholders of the Small and Medium Enterprises Bank have made an unexpected turnabout to abandon an attempt to have the closure of the bank reversed and declared unconstitutional.

In an eleventh-hour move, legal counsel Steve Rukoro – representing Enock Kamushinda, the Zimbabwean former deputy chairperson of the SME Bank’s board of directors, his company World Eagle Investments and the Metropolitan Bank of Zimbabwe – informed acting judge Collins Parker in the Windhoek High Court yesterday that his clients were withdrawing an application in which they were asking the court to declare that the Bank of Namibia violated their constitutional rights by closing down the SME Bank.

Rukoro informed the judge of his client’s decision at what was scheduled to be the start of the hearing of a case that Kamushinda, Metbank and World Eagle Investments filed at the High Court in April last year.

However, senior counsel Raymond Heathcote, representing SME Bank liquidators Ian McLaren and Dave Bruni, refused to give his clients’ permission for the withdrawal of the application, and proceeded to present his oral arguments to the judge on a counter-application which the liquidators filed in October last year in response to the lawsuit of Kamushinda and the two Zimbabwean shareholders of the bank.

In their application, the liquidators are asking the court to declare that Kamushinda should be held responsible for the liabilities of the bank and to declare Metbank and World Eagle investments liable for the bank’s debts at the time it was ordered to be wound up in July 2017.

McLaren and Bruni also want the court to grant a judgement in the amount of N$1,02 billion against Kamushinda, Metbank and World Eagle Investments, and to further grant a judgement in amounts of N$121 million against Metbank and N$20 million against World Eagle Investments respectively.

The N$121 million and N$20 million are the contributions which Metbank and World Eagle Investments were supposed to make for their shareholding in the SME Bank, but did not pay as undertaken.

Heathcote did not mince his words in his address to the court.

Noting that the liquidators have over the past three years discovered that at least N$247 million had been stolen from the SME Bank by being transferred to bank accounts in South Africa, Heathcote pinned the blame for this squarely on Kamushinda and some of his associates, stating: “Mister Kamushinda is a fraudster and a thief. Mister Kamushinda came to Namibia to steal a bank, and he was successful in that.”

Because Kamushinda was a director of the SME Bank and was aware that the bank’s business carried on fraudulently, he should personally be held responsible for the liabilities of the bank, Heathcote argued.

He also charged: “The SME Bank, we regret to say, was one big fraud. It had no other purpose – it was just to steal, it was just to defraud.”

Heathcote recounted that according to evidence discovered since the SME Bank was ordered to be liquidated, close to N$79 million was transferred from the bank to a South African entity, Asset Movement and Financial Services (AMFS), and that in South Africa a total amount of N$64 million in cash that had been transferred from the bank to AMFS was handed to Kamushinda personally.

Also, out of the money paid from the bank to AMFS, more than N$2,4 million was subsequently transferred to a Namibian account of a company of Kamushinda, Crown Finance Corporation, while another of his companies, Heritage Investments, received payments totalling N$1,8 million from AMFS, proving that Kamushinda diverted some of the money stolen from the bank to his own companies, Heathcote argued.

Rukoro is due to address the court on the second day of the hearing today.