The Lobatse High Court Judge has issued an order in favour of Unibulk Botswana (Pty) Ltd confirming liquidation of United Refineries (Botswana) Holdings (Pty) Ltd, a company owned by the former Tati West MP and controversial businessman, Samson Guma Moyo, The Business Weekly & Review has established.
In his verdict on 11 December 2021, Justice Ranier Busang ordered that the rule nisi/order granted on 23 September 2020 is confirmed. “The provisional order for liquidation of the Respondent is hereby made final; (and that) costs of this petition should be costs in the liquidation,” he said
Busang further ordered that the Master of the High Court be directed, subject to the provisions of Section 381, 382 and 445 of the Companies Act CAP 42:01 inclusive, to appoint Leon Mtyambisi as the Provisional Liquidator of the respondent and that leave is granted to the liquidator to exercise powers as outlined in terms of Section 384 of the Companies Act CAP 42: 01 to wind up of the respondent pending the 1st creditors meeting.
The Busang order was subsequent to a judgement delivered by Justice Tebogo Tau of the Court of Appeal which essentially cancelled the judicial management order which was issued in favour of Moyo’s company on 20 September 2019.
Unibulk filed an application seeking leave in terms of the Section 472(1) (d) of the Companies Act to “institute proceedings for cancellation of the Judicial Management Order issued on the 20th September 2019”. Justice Tau stated that leave was granted on 15 September 2020. Unibulk subsequently sought cancellation of the September 2019 order where the initial order that placed the respondent under judicial management was cancelled. But following the back and forth between the creditor and United Refineries, both the Lobatse High Court and the Court of Appeal are satisfied that the judicial management for Moyo’s company should no longer remain in force.
For his defence, Moyo had argued that his company could not yet be rescued due to the effects of COVID-19 on the business operations that it should therefore remain under judicial management.
“If it can be proved that creditors will not be paid within a reasonable time it would be undesirable that the judicial management order should remain in force,” said Justice Tau. “The applicant is one of the creditors. It therefore has interest in this matter and in terms of section 477(1) of the Act, is entitled to make an application to cancel the judicial management.”
She argued that there is no clear indication as to when creditors’ debt will be settled as there has been no progress in rescuing the company. “It is therefore clear that creditors will not be paid within a reasonable time,” she said. “It is in the view of this court undesirable that the judicial management order should remain in force.” In November last year, The Business Weekly & Review reported that there were 60 creditors owed by Moyo’s company money amounting to P103 million.
URB owes banks and other financiers a total of P70.6 million, CEDA is owed the most at over P26 million, First National Bank Botswana is owed over P25.1 million, Botswana Development Corporation (BDC) is owed over P19.3 million while a financing company called Grandeur Short Term Loan is owed P177 704.
The web of debt around Moyo’s company expands to 54 trade creditors, mostly suppliers, service providers and employees. The trade creditors are owed over P32 million. This is where Unibulk Botswana (Pty) Ltd leads the pack with over P22 million. Another trade creditor is Sefalana Holdings, which is owed P2.1 million.
Water Utilities Corporation is owed over P1 million, BPC is owed over P287 554, and BTC over P139 001. Others include an unending list of suppliers and service providers. As a result of the High Court order, the sale of URB property which had been suspended pending a determination by the Court of Appeal will proceed.
Moyo is a controversial businessman and cantankerous politician who speaks his mind even where most straight talkers would hold their tongue. After spearheading a failed campaign by former cabinet minister Venson-Moitoi to oust President Mokgweetsi Masisi in the run-up to the 2019 general elections, he went into self-imposed exile in South Africa where he made outrageous claims that there were plots to assassinate him in Botswana.
He faded into oblivion for some time while some of his property went under the hammer. Talk is now gaining traction that he will run for a position in in the leadership of his new political home, the Botswana Patriotic Front (BPF), whose patron, former president Ian Khama, is a man that Moyo once disliked intensely.
In Khama, Moyo has joined forces with a man who seems to have made it the sole purpose of his existence to see the downfall of President Masisi. Moyo was once a junior minister when Khama was president but he turned against Khama after he was dropped in a cabinet reshuffle. He remained an outstanding Masisi loyalist until he was not among the new team after Masisi picked his cabinet after the general elections in 2019.