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Clearing agent sues finance ministry for N$10.5 million

September 28, 2022

Savino del Bene, a clearing agent company owned by Kobus Maree, has filed a N$10.5 million lawsuit against the Ministry of Finance and Hollard Insurance.

This was after the finance minister had instructed Hollard Insurance to transfer N$10.5 million belonging to Savino del Bene as a guarantee.

In an affidavit lodged at the High Court, Maree said the minister’s actions should be declared unlawful and invalid. 

The ministry accuses the company of transporting fake liquor in Namibia and therefore contravening sections of the customs Act.

"In the event that the minister, despite this application, still persists that Hollard insurance must transfer the funds an urgent application will be launched to interdict Hollard to make any such transfers pending the finalisation of this application and the review application," Maree argues.

He added that the instruction from the ministry was unlawful and invalid as his company does not owe Hollard N$10.5 million as the guaranteed amount, or any other amount.

Court documents show that the instructions, specifically from the customs Commissioner to Hollard insurance were received on 16 March 2020.

"The instruction is unlawful and nothing but an abuse of the powers of the Minister of Finance to place us under pressure in respect of a dispute between our company and the minister of Finance. We are not indebted to the Ministry for the guaranteed amount, " Maree said.

The businessman added that before his company was required to conduct business as a clearing agent and administrator of bonded facilities in Namibia, it was required to put up guarantees in respect of potential liabilities it may incur to the Ministry of Finance. His business was established in 2014.

He says to this end, N$20,000 was guaranteed for the clearing licence, N$5,500,000 in respect of the warehouse bond, N$15,000,000 in respect of the road bond and N$1,143,535 in respect of a temporary import bond.

However, the business suspended all operations in Namibia in 2017.

Savino del Benes believes its troubles with the Finance ministry started in August 2019 when it wrote a letter requesting the minister to cancel their clearing agent licence and all guarantees.

"In September 2019 the minister confirmed cancellation of the licence, but refused to cancel the guarantees on the allegations that we contravened the provisions of the Customs Excise Act. These allegations have a long history and relate to a shipment of liquor in respect of which we acted as clearing agent and facilitated placing the goods in bond pending export to Zambia as the goods were only in transit through Namibia.  

“After the bonded facility was closed the goods were transferred with the knowledge of officials from customs and we were later informed the minister concluded that the goods were counterfeit items and they were destroyed," Maree recounted.

 

 

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Last modified on Thursday, 29 September 2022 04:45