….Takes control of 8 farms in the area
• Three of them consolidated into one
• Govt non-committal to one person one farm policy
• Namandje accused of conflict
• Says ‘I will represent whoever I want, even Osama bin Laden’
Following Russian oligarch Rashid Sardarov’s mega land deal when he secured a 99-year deal to lease four farms in the Dordabis area-which now brings the total number of farms under his control in that area to eight-Government was at pains this week to say if it would ever support a one person one farm policy.
Government has been clear in recent years on the one person one house policy, but the same could not be said this week, when it comes to farms.
Sardarov’s fondness for the flora and fauna in the Dordabis area started almost a decade ago when he got permission from the Ministry of Lands to consolidate three farms which he acquired after Comsar Properties SA became the sole shareholder of a company called Otjimukona Pty (Ltd). The company previously traded as Ernst Henniges Otjimukona Pty(Ltd). The three farms owned by the company were Otjimukona no 120, Stolzenfeld no 283 and Straussfeld no 116.
After Comsar took over the company, the lands ministry in 2009 sanctioned Comsar’s application to consolidate the three farms. After the consolidation, they became Farm Otjimukona 532 measuring 11 515,0861 hectares.
A consolidation certificate was issued in May 2009. Otjimukona Pty was represented by Henner Diekmann in his capacity as director of Otjimukona Pty Ltd.
A few years later, in 2013, Comsar bought portion A of farm Hillside no 115 from TLP Investments 79 for N$64 million. The farm measures 5765 hectares.
In this deal, Otjimukona was represented by its director Igor Evgenievich Rybakov.
Lands minister Utoni vehemently defended the lease transaction saying all laws were adhered to when government leased the property. He would however not go into the intricate details of the dodgy deal which has caused an uproar amongst land-starved Namibians.
“We just had a land conference and the resolutions are policies, they need to be checked with our laws. We had the Land Bill with 89 resolutions where we wanted to prohibit the sale of farm to foreigners, a request was made in parliament to place the Bill in abeyance until land conference is over, unfortunate those who made that request boycotted the conference,” said Nujoma during a press conference this week.
Conflict of interest
Prominent lawyer Sisa Namandje this week fended off claims that he was conflicted when he facilitated the 99-year lease deal which has landed government in hot water.
According to the Notorial Lease Agreement entered into between the Namibian Government and Comsar Properties SA, the foreign outfit got permission to lease Farm Rainhoff no 123, Farm Kameelboom no 119, Farm Wolffsgrund no 122 and Portion C of Farm Smaldeel no 124.
Documents indicate that Comsar’s lawyer, Sisa Namandje, obtained a power of attorney from the Minister of Lands Utoni Nujoma to appear before a conveyancer to notorially execute the lease agreement.
The conveyancer was his own partner, Matildah Jankie.
Some legal gurus have since expressed surprise at the perceived conflict of interest, and questioned why the Government did not give the power of attorney to its own lawyers to execute the lease agreement, and not Comsar’s lawyer.
“This gives the impression that the Russian was firmly in charge to make the deal as favorable to him as possible. The legal effect of (Sisa) getting a power of attorney from the Government is that he acted as the agent for the Government (and not of the Russian entity) for a matter involving his client (the Russian entity), whilst his substantive client is the Russian entity (not the Government). Sisa was representing the Russian’s interest viz-a-viz the Government,” said another legal guru who spoke to The Patriot.
Namandje however denounced any talks of conflict.
“So what if I appear before Matilda? That is rubbish[conflict of interest talks]. It’s cocktail of rubbish and stupidity[from] whoever is saying that,” he charged.
Namandje was unapologetic about who he represents during yesterday’s brief telephonic interview with The Patriot.
“Every case I do, I do so freely and happily and I will continue doing more. Why should it concern me? It is my profession. I, Sisa Namandje will continue doing cases. Even if Osama bin Laden was alive and asked me to represent him, I will represent him. That is what I have taken an oath to do. My rights are always reserved,” said Namandje.
The lands minister said he approved the 99-year lease application from Comsar because of the “developmental and economic benefit that will arise from the investment to be made by the lessee.”
Nujoma said the lease is renewable. Comsar will pay an annual rental fee of N$160 168.48 for the current financial year.
The properties, according to the agreement, must be exclusively occupied by Comsar for its businesses of choice including but not limited to game farming and tourism related business for its own account on the date of registration of transfer of the properties into the name of the government.
Rashid Sardarov is a “controversial” Russian businessman. One of the top links that comes up when you Google “Russian oligarchs.”
Sardarov was born in Dagestan. He is an oligarch who emerged from the Soviet caste of bureaucrats.
He was the general manager of Inter Soyuz, and then became the general manager and owner of the South Urals Industrial Company. He developed other transition businesses as well.
His various “investments” have paid off. Sardarov also became the owner of the Soversheno Sekretno publishing company. He then bought an entire mountain [as published] in Austria. He put up fences and posted armed guards around his estates in Austria and Russia. In Russia, Sardarov also owns entire forests, around which he put up barbed wire. His armed men deny access to “mere mortals.”
Sardarov is the owner of the South Urals Industrial Company since 1994, and that he also has several other successful companies in Europe. He employs 1,500 workers, and has an annual turnover of $1.5 billion.