The Agricultural Bank of Namibia (Agribank) has been dragged to court again by Witvlei Meat, which is now suing the banking concern for N$59.6 million in damages according to court documents filed August 10, 2017.
The lawsuit, which emanates from a protracted legal fight over the abattoir at Witvlei, comes after Agribank failed to meet a 21 July deadline set by Witvlei Meat to conclude a settlement agreement.
“Witvlei Meat made a genuine attempt without prejudice to its rights, to find a practical solution in the interest of all concerned, failing which Agribank was to make a counter proposal to be considered by the parties in an attempt to reach full and final settlement,” the court papers filed by Witvlei Meat read.
“Ever since agreement was reached, Agribank was given ample time to comply, but without proper reason, materially failed to do so, which leaves Witvlei Meat without any choice than to issue this notice.”
According to the settlement tabled by Witvlei to Agribank, the company had offered to write off its claim of N$59.6 million made against the bank in exchange for transfer of the abattoir and a N$35 million loan.
The N$59.6 million, according to court documents, was compensation determined by Octagon Actuaries as “reasonable compensation” and due to Witvlei Meat for loss and damage.
Agribank has failed to restore occupation of the abattoir to Witvlei Meat following a court ruling which ordered the agricultural lender to restore possession of the abattoir by no later than May 12, 2016.
Agribank claimed Witvlei Meat had abandoned the property in June last year and that the bank was entitled to take possession and occupation of the abattoir.
Agribank won an eviction order against Witvlei Meat in the Windhoek High Court in March 2013, having sued the company in an effort to have it evicted from the abattoir that it had been renting since August 2006.
Witvlei Meat had argued that it had a legal right to exercise its option to buy the abattoir in August 2009 and made a N$15 million offer; a position supported by a May 2014 Supreme Court decision, when the country’s highest court ruled that Agribank was wrong in its view that Witvlei Meat no longer had a valid option to buy the abattoir.