Controversial Chinese businessman Yeuquan ‘Jack’ Huang has failed in his bid to force his business partners Petrus Nevonga and Christian Itope to repay him N$3.7 million which he claimed he was owed.
Acting Windhoek High Court Judge Kaijata Kangueehi recently ruled in favour of trade unionist Nevonga and former Ondangwa Town councillor Itope, who had applied for the court to absolve them from any liability related to claims by Huang.
This comes after Huang made claims against Nevonga, Itope and Jinhao Investment CC t/a Super Foods for N$1.6m, N$1.2m and, N$300,000 respectively.
In an application brought before the courts in February last year, Huang claimed that he lent Nevonga and Itope N$1.6 million after they failed to raise the full amount of N$4.8m which was to be their seed capital to start a supermarket business in Ondangwa.
Huang claimed that his business partners owed him N$416,000 interest on the N$1.6m as at 30 May 2018, calculated at 13 percent per annum from May 2016.
In his second claim, Huang alleged that he over-contributed capital by N$1.6m. Instead of contributing only N$3.2 m as his capital injection into the business, Huang claimed that he paid N$4.8 million.
This overpayment became due on 31 August 2017, but despite a partly oral and partly written agreement in which Nevonga and Itope are alleged to have agreed to refund Huang through equal contributions, they refused or failed to do so.
The overpayment attracted interest of N$122,000, calculated at 13 percent per annum from September 2017.
In his third claim, Huang alleged that he agreed with his business associates on 31 August 2017 to lend N$300,000 to the business which was experiencing cash flow challenges at the time. The advanced money was used to buy stock and pay salaries as revenue from the business could not meet operating expenses.
Huang’s personal assistant Siwen Zhang, who testified in court, alleged that the business associates agreed that the money would be repaid by Nevonga and Itope in their personal capacities and according to their shared interests in the business.
Huang further put it on record that his business partners refused or failed to pay their contributions until 02 February 2018 when he decided to terminate his membership in the business.
He claimed that an amount of N$326,000 became due to him after adding interest calculated at 13 percent per annum from October 2017.
Nevonga and Itope, however, argued that Huang’s court application was a doomed mission because key evidence such as financial accounts was excluded from the record without any reasonable explanation.
They also argued that key witnesses such as Crezelda Tjazerua, who is an accountant for the business, were not called to testify in court.
“The documents presented to court do not satisfy the rules of evidence as they are not original, complete, supported by a competent witness and do not comply with the provision of the Computer Evidence Act,” they argued in court.
Nevonga and Itope also denied allegations that they were indebted to Huang or were enriched by him.
The duo denied that Huang paid any money to the company and argued that if it was found that he paid money to the business then he simply made payments to the business but not on their behalf.
They further argued that if he had indeed paid money to the business, this would be his capital contribution which Huang would be entitled to claim from the business as this was a loan advanced to the business.
Itope said the financial records of the business can be inspected by the court to prove that no money was ever paid by Huang to either him, Nevonga or the business.
“Moreover even if money was to have been paid to the third defendant, the plaintiff will not be entitled to claim that said money from us because the business is a separate juristic person.
“We (Nevonga and Itope) never agreed to be personally liable for any monies paid over to the third defendant by the plaintiff. This is because no monies were ever paid to the third defendant nor were such money paid for our benefit.”
Nevonga and Itope also denied that Huang was impoverished by the payments he made to the business.
“The plaintiff gained membership interests and continues to hold such membership interest through his proxy.”
Judge Kangueehi granted the application for absolution from the instance and ordered Huang to pay costs for the defendants. He did not give any written reasons for his judgement, a decision which Huang has now challenged through his lawyers.
The Chinese multi-millionaire, who is currently out on bail of N$1 million in another case where he is linked to an alleged customs duties and foreign currency scam involving about N$3,5 billion, has over the last two decades built a huge business empire concentrated in the economically-struggling border town of Oshikango.