By Staff Reporter
Recent media reports in the Namibian Sun, New Era and Republikein newspapers quote the Prime Minister, the Right Honourable Saara Kuugongelwa-Amadhila stating that, under the Agricultural (Commercial) Land Act of 1995, the Namibian Government has not given approval for the sale of Erindi to the purchaser.
The purchaser is the company Rembo Ltd, a company designated by Mr Alberto Baillères from the beginning of the transaction.
The articles also create the impression that such approval is subject to meeting conditions set out by opposition parties and Traditional Authorities during the course of last week.
Both assertions are unfortunately not accurate in that the transaction is currently being independently considered by the Namibian Competition Commission.
The Prime Minister is correct that under current legislation, a waiver needs to be obtained before the property can be sold to a foreigner or a Namibian.
However, this waiver was duly obtained from the Minister of Land Reform, and the sale of Erindi to Rembo Ltd was given consent by the Minister of Land Reform in terms of the Agricultural (Commercial) Land Reform Act, without any conditions.
Furthermore, the Ministry of Trade, Industrialisation and SME Development under the Foreign Investment Act of 1990 has issued a Certificate of Status Investment, approving Mr Baillères as an investor.
The only outstanding regulatory aspect is approval by the Namibian Competition Commission, which investigates whether mergers or acquisitions stifle competition or create undue market dominance.
The merger filing in respect of the Erindi transaction was submitted jointly by the current owners of Erindi and Rembo Ltd, the special purpose vehicle created for this transaction, with the Namibian Competition Commission during May 2019.
Mr Baillères has identified Erindi as a significant philanthropic investment. One of the major factors in his decision to buy the game reserve is that Namibian law allows him to acquire 100% of the shares in the companies that together make up Erindi.
This is the best way for reasons of sustainability, management and control.
Mr Baillères complied in full with each and every regulatory approval required under Namibian law.
He has made it clear from the outset that he will only complete the purchase of Erindi if all legal requirements are in place and if he and the investment he intends to make is welcomed by Namibia.