Agribank stand-off with Witvlei Meat
Witvlei Meat is challenging Agribank for losses incurred since its eviction from the Witvlei Abattoir premises which the bank says rightfully belongs to them despite Sydney Martin, the owner of Witvlei Meat claiming they have paid an excess of N$1.5 million in rent.
The legal action against Agribank is set for 16 February 2016, Martin said, adding that actuaries are busy calculating lost production by the meat processing company to sue Agribank for loss of income.
The manner and date of payment is defined by an agreement signed by both parties. Agribank said in a statement, “the agreement is clear on the manner and date of payment to be made by Witvlei Meat” alleging that this agreement was not honoured.
“Witvlei Meat has since been informed about the failure to comply with the purchase agreement and the subsequent lapsing which forced Agribank to no longer consider the new purchase price or guarantee of N$17 million” Agribank stated.
The Wivlei Meat owner claims this to be a blatant lie saying that Witvlei Meat approached Agribank with a guarantee that proved that he has the required funds which he said was verified by his legal team and another banking institution, Bank Windhoek.
The sources for the N$17 million guarantee, Martin said, came form the Sydney Martin Family Trust Fund and the Namibia Procurement Fund individually.
Martin said that nowhere in the agreement with Agribank is it mentioned specifically that a bank guarantee was needed and that his legal team will present legal authority of international law, local law and cases from the Constitutional Court of South Africa on the meaning of a guarantee.
Agribank spokesperson, Rino Muranda also speaking to the Economist, did not hesitate to mention that the agreement is categorically clear on the terms of agreement, which he said shows Witvlei Meat’s fortune.
“The motives of Agribank could not give reasons as to why any other type of guarantee was needed and Agribank took the law in their own hands by evicting the security [personnel] and supervisor on the premises.” Martin said, adding that the matter will be brought to court to reinstate their operations at the slaughter facility as per the original agreement.
The ownership of Witvlei Abbatoir was meant to be transferred to Witvlei Meat which Agribank says was breached due to non-performance by Witvlei Meat in paying the requested rental fee which led to the agreement ending on 26 June 2015.
Agribank also stopped the use of the Witvlei abattoir by Witvlei Meat for purposes of applying for an export beef quota from the Meat Board.
“Agribank has indeed compiled with the court order and granted Witvlei Meat the first opportunity to purchase the abattoir for N$15 million and settle the outstanding rental in the amount of N$3 million.” The bank also said that no other party has agreed to take over the Witvlei Abattoir facility yet.