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Other Articles from The Villager

Malaysian fights to reclaim N$500 million investment

Mon, 21 July 2014 02:02
by Linekela Halwoodi and Tiri Masawi
News

 

A Malaysian investor Dr Subramian Ragubathi (owner of Nambib Resources Private Limited) has launched a battle to gain control of diamond deposits he discovered along the Skeleton Coast 16 years ago after trying for the past five years since winning a High Court case where he is implicating high profile Government officials (names known to The Villager) for swindling the EPLs from him.
The EPLs were lost after a local consortium consisting of private sector current and retired Government officials (Names available) tried to swindle the Malaysian national of his investments.
The Villager has a dossier of all the locals (senior civil servants in the Ministry of Mines and Energy and retired and serving ministers) and South African high profile persons and their involvement in swindling the Malaysian national of his EPLs despite winning a court case.
The Villager can confirm that Dr Ragubathi who owns four Explorations Licenses (EPLs): EPL 2696 Toscanini, EPL 2564 Torra Bay, EPL 2565 Palgrave Point & EPL 2566 was in the country between 21 May and 24 June 2014 accompanied by six more business people to seek audience with President Hifikepunye Pohamba and Prime Minister Hage Geingob but all these efforts hit a brick wall. He told The Villager that his quest to meet the high offices were blocked by those implicated.
Dr Ragubathi made his fortune in Namibia where he lived for 20 years.
Other people who are also implicated for swindling the Malaysian Millionaire include Fanie Sr (Stephanus Jacobus) Nel, Fanie Nel Jr, and Rigardt Nel. Patrick Elungu, Sybrand Hanekom, General Manager of Bret Investment & Pure Africa, Herbert Schubert, Glen Rogers, Pieter Neumann, Jacko Coetze and Michael Van der Merwe.
The high profile issue has seen extensive correspondence (documents available) from the Malaysian Prime Minister, Dato Sri Mohd Najib to the Office of the Founding Father Dr. Sam Nujoma and President Hifikepunye Pohamba in a bid to get Dr. Ragubathi to recover his lost EPLs and diamonds worth close to N$100m which were seized from him by the local consortium (Name known to The Villager).
The Malaysian Premier first wrote to President Pohamba 19 August 2010 requesting him to assist the Malaysian national to recover four EPLs.
The Malaysian PM in his letter to Pohamba pleaded for help adding that he hoped that the bilateral engagement enjoyed by the two countries will also be utilised to deal with the standoff.
Minister of Presidential Affairs Albert Kawana said even though there was an engagement between the two leaders he is not in position to disclose the details of their discussion because their engagement is a high level diplomatic engagement beyond his jurisdiction. He added that he is only able to speak to The Villager upon being given a green light by the President.
 “Correspondence between two leaders is confidential, so I cannot speak on them unless given permission. But if there are EPLs you have to speak to the Ministry of Mines  and Energy (MME)and also if you are talking about the confiscation of diamond then speak with the Ministry of Safety and Security (MSS) because that is under the mineral act,’’ he stressed.
The Villager contacted the MME minister Isaak Katali who professed ignorance on the matter although the Mining Commissioner Erastus Shivolo authored wrongly addressed letter (Sent to Namibia Resources instead of Nambib Resources) dated 18 April to Dr. Ragubathi.
The Villager also has confirmation that Shivolo has also re-written the same letter between March and April this year to the same Malaysian national although Dr. Ragubathi denies ever communicating with him recently. The last letter seen by The Villager was also presented to the Malaysian Embassy in Windhoek.
“I do not have any information about what you are asking. I don’t have any idea on that,” Katali said when asked about Dr. Ragubathi.
In the letter which Shivolo later re-wrote, he states ,“In terms of section 48 (4) of the minerals Act no. 33 of 1992 notice is hereby given that the Minister confirms that the application for the above mentioned EPLs  will be successfully granted and the EPL of Toscanini will be converted into a mining license. The other three EPLs will be granted with a fresh start”. The Villager has also seen a new copy of the correctly addressed letter drafted by Shivolo dated 1 April 2014.   
The Malaysian whose ongoing wrangle to reclaim the diamond fields is threatening diplomatic relations between Namibia and Malaysia also told The Villager that he is fearing that his US$40m (Approximately N$400m) invested in the four EPLs so far will never be recovered because relevant Namibian authorities who are supposed to assist him have been giving him a cold shoulder despite him having the backing of his Premier, President Pohamba and Former President Nujoma.
“I feel I have been infringed and worse off those people are still mining on my EPLs illegally while diamonds that were confiscated from me are worth N$100m and this resulted in  the Namibian Government also losing because no royalties were paid to them. I have also done thorough investigations and can prove all those who are involved in the shady deals”.
He added that, “I was in Namibia for a month and I managed to sit with the Mining Commissioner Erastus Shivolo at Windhoek Country Club Resort and Cassino but nothing has been materialising. More often than not whenever I meet with the Ministry of Mines Officials in Namibia they ask me to pay them money saying without money nothing will work. Nothing has been done and no one is cooperating although I have received support from my Prime Minister and your President and Founding Father”.

Looming diplomatic challenge

Investigations by The Villager also shows that the issue is now being dealt with in the high echelons of Power in both Namibian and Malaysia as it has potential to spoil the relationship between the two countries.
Research by The Villager also shows that the two countries have a bilateral engagement where they create opportunities to their businesses but as it is the Namibian Government is trading close to the limits until Dr. Ragubathi’s issue is rectified.
A well-placed source within the diplomatic circles also told The Villager that the pending issue is now frustrating both the Malaysian and Namibian top offices.
Challenges are also that Namibia will also be in contempt of court if the Malaysian national does not receive his EPLs after the High Court ruling of 2009.
There is also growing concern that the Malaysian Officials have not been happy with the abuse of power by senior Namibian ministers who are also accused of confiscating diamonds worth N$100m from the Malaysian.
Malaysian High Commission in Namibia Minister Counselor Charge‘d’ Affairs Mustafa Mansor confirmed to The Villager that the disgruntled Malaysian Business tycoon was in the country to seek recourse.
“I know that Dr. Ragubathi was in the country together with a delegation of six to find a way going forward. I know he has gone through a lot but I am not in a position to give you details on the communication between our number one and your President of Founding Father because I am not vested with the engagement,” he said.
Mansor added that the sour deal which is implicating some retired and serving Namibia Ministers and top Ministry of Mines bosses is a sensitive diplomatic issue and measures are being taken by both sides to assist Dr. Ragubathi to access his EPLs.
“All I can say is we only assist in facilitating for our people but we do not get involved. He was within his rights to approach your Founding Father’s Office and your President to seek recourse. He was also within his rights to approach the Malaysian Prime Minister’s Office,” he said.

Mudslinging

Ragubathi has also released a list of 21 high profile politicians, civil servants and experts in The Villager’s possession who he said have been deliberately delaying the process of him getting back his EPLs.
 The list also consist of South African Businessmen. Dr. Ragubathi has also raised alarm that Deputy Director Mineral Rights and Resource Development in Ministry of Mines and Energy could have deliberately forged a letter (also seen by The Villager) on a Presidential letterhead referenced 9/3/9 that was sent to him telling him that the Government will not renew his EPLs.
The letter in question says among other things the Minister of Mines cannot renew the EPLs owned by Ragubathi because of a sensitive nature that the skeleton coast is as it is national heritage sight. It also says the Nambib misinterpreted the High Court ruling by thinking it ordered the Minister to renew their EPLs while the High Court asked the Minister to relook at the issue.
However contacted for comment lilende had no kind words for the Malaysian saying, “I do not know that idiot and I do not want to comment on that issue. What is your vendetta against me and who is using you if you have a problem with me that is your issue now call our Public Relations Officer she can help. I do not work for the President’s office so his comments are baseless”.