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Savino Del Bene denies any role in Walvis Bay alcohol smuggling ring

Savino Del Bene denies any role in Walvis Bay alcohol smuggling ring

Following a bust a fortnight ago and the subsequent destruction of alcohol worth N$10 million by Namibian customs officials at Walvis Bay, the company implicated in the scandal, this week made a statement denying all allegations of trading in illegal alcohol.

In the meantime, the trading company, Savino Del Bene, has been fined N$59 million by the department of Customs and Excise.

In an exclusive interview with the Economist, Savino Del Bene’s Managing Director, Mr Kobus Maree, flatly refuted rumours that the company is in anyway involved in these illegal activities saying that it had ceased trading through Walvis Bay early in 2017 and handed over operations to another party.

“I submitted an affidavit to the acting Customs Commissioner on 30 October outlining our position as well as requesting a meeting which we hope will be granted shortly. Our urgency lies in the fact that we are a well-established and respected international company and these unfounded accusations are very damaging to our reputation,” he said.

Maree who is based in South Africa said he will be in Namibia shortly to see the authorities concerned. “This is a follow-up to my communications with them including affidavits which are an earnest attempt to establish the innocence of the company.

“The affidavits commit Savino Del Bene, through an open and transparent process, to assist the Namibian authorities in bringing the illegal traders in this instance to book. The company also offers to align itself without reservation to any investigations necessitated to uncover and to expose the illegal trading activities” he stated.

Maree said losses incurred by illegal trade where governments are losing billions of dollars in tax revenues, undermine legitimate businesses and expose consumers to poorly made and unregulated products through which the United Nations estimated that in 2009, US$2.1 trillion was generated in illicit revenues. The World Trade Organisation estimates that the value of counterfeit and pirated goods is equivalent to about 7% of the world’s merchandise.

“Savino Del Bene is part of a worldwide corporate network that specialises in global logistics, freight forwarding, clearing and supply chain management operating in 47 countries with facilities in America, Africa, Asia, Europe, Australia and the Indian subcontinent.

“The company has traded across Southern Africa for the past 21 years establishing an impeccable reputation for ethical trade facilitation. Some of the world’s top companies are counted among Savino Del Bene’s clients and the company’s top executives have striven tirelessly in the local, national and international logistics industry to improve trade at all levels,” Maree said.

“Savino Del Bene started operations in Namibia in 2012 but five years later ceased operations at the beginning of 2017 and handed over the business to a local company, Woker Freight Services. This process was conducted in the same methodical, compliant and ethical fashion which ensured the exit was characterised by continuous consultation with relevant government departments, followed by a carefully orchestrated handover of the accounts to the local company and the debriefing of clients,” he added.

“We believe an amicable resolution can be reached and the situation can be escalated to combat the internationally growing threat of elicit counterfeit goods trading. It takes a strong combination of Customs authorities and private business sector activists to combat this illicit trade flows which increasingly is becoming the domain of organised crime,” he said.

Meanwhile Savino Del Bene confirmed that they have received a response from the acting Commissioner later in the day but will only make this available once their own executives have formulated a reply.



About The Author

Musa Carter

Musa Carter is a long-standing freelance contributor to the editorial team and also an active reporter. He gathers and verifies factual information regarding stories through interviews, observation and research. For the digital Economist, he promotes targeted content through various social networking sites such as the Economist facebook page (/Nameconomist/) and Twitter.

Following reverse listing, public can now acquire shareholding in Paratus Namibia


20 February 2020, Windhoek, Namibia: Paratus Namibia Holdings (PNH) was founded as Nimbus Infrastructure Limited (“Nimbus”), Namibia’s first Capital Pool Company listed on the Namibian Stock Exchange (“NSX”).

Although targeting an initial capital raising of N$300 million, Nimbus nonetheless managed to secure funding to the value of N$98 million through its CPC listing. With a mandate to invest in ICT infrastructure in sub-Sahara Africa, it concluded management agreements with financial partner Cirrus and technology partner, Paratus Telecommunications (Pty) Ltd (“Paratus Namibia”).

Paratus Namibia Managing Director, Andrew Hall

Its first investment was placed in Paratus Namibia, a fully licensed communications operator in Namibia under regulation of the Communications Regulatory Authority of Namibia (CRAN). Nimbus has since been able to increase its capital asset base to close to N$500 million over the past two years.

In order to streamline further investment and to avoid duplicating potential ICT projects in the market between Nimbus and Paratus Namibia, it was decided to consolidate the operations.

Publishing various circulars to shareholders, Nimbus took up a 100% shareholding stake in Paratus Namibia in 2019 and proceeded to apply to have its name changed to Paratus Namibia Holdings with a consolidated board structure to ensure streamlined operations between the capital holdings and the operational arm of the business.

This transaction was approved by the Competitions Commission as well as CRAN, following all the relevant regulatory approvals as well as the necessary requirements in terms of corporate governance structures.

Paratus Namibia has evolved as a fully comprehensive communications operator in Namibia and operates as the head office of the Paratus Group in Africa. Paratus has established a pan-African footprint with operations in six African countries, being: Angola, Botswana, Mozambique, Namibia, South Africa and Zambia.

The group has achieved many successes over the years of which more recently includes the building of the Trans-Kalahari Fibre (TKF) project, which connects from the West Africa Cable System (WACS) eastward through Namibia to Botswana and onward to Johannesburg. The TKF also extends northward through Zambia to connect to Dar es Salaam in Tanzania, which made Paratus the first operator to connect the west and east coast of Africa under one Autonomous System Number (ASN).

This means that Paratus is now “exporting” internet capacity to landlocked countries such as Zambia, Botswana, the DRC with more countries to be targeted, and through its extensive African network, Paratus is well-positioned to expand the network even further into emerging ICT territories.

PNH as a fully-listed entity on the NSX, is therefore now the 100% shareholder of Paratus Namibia thereby becoming a public company. PNH is ready to invest in the future of the ICT environment in Namibia. The public is therefore invited and welcome to acquire shares in Paratus Namibia Holdings by speaking to a local stockbroker registered with the NSX. The future is bright, and the opportunities are endless.