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Trustco Group Holdings had always been “a marked man”

Staff Writer

The holding company of Trustco Bank Namibia, Trustco Group Holdings (TGH) seemed to never have been far from controversy and question marks as more documents reveal that a call was made as far back as early 2022 for an investigation to be conducted into its business deals.

TGH has suffered publicity injuries from the time it was bogged down in a misrepresentation scandal up to the time its auditors, BDO, broke ranks and departed.

The group, at whose helm as business tycoon, Quinton Van Rooyen, is now faced with the real prospects of losing its clients and money as well as possible liquidation as the Bank of Namibia has raised the red card over its operations.

Van Rooyen himself has been severely criticized as a convicted man who should not been seen going about running affairs within the domestic financial sector.

All this comes at a time when Van Rooyen is freshly coming from a major victory in South Africa where he had been fighting the Johannesburg Stock Exchange which wanted to kick Trustco out of the bourse.

The JSE was consequently ordered to pay costs of the urgent court application, including that of two counsels.

Van Rooyen celebrated the victory on social media.

But that celebration has this week been watered down by dramatic events which saw his company and the Bank of Namibia exchanging blows over regulations which TGH says are illegal.

The BoN now wants TGH gone altogether, due to what it observed as serious operational and technical flaws that may harm depositors and the banking sectorial ecosystem.

As pressure piles up, it has come out that the Black People Economic Emancipation Association at whose helm is political agitator, Michael Amushelelo and activist Dimbulukeni Nauyoma, also wrote to NAMFISA requesting for an investigation into the affairs of TGH.

“How can we allow an institution to still operate in the financial sector having misrepresented its financial position as well as violating the Stock Exchange rules?  The grounds of delisting Mr. Matomola go deeper in as far as the Trustco Group Holdings intends to misrepresent its financial position as it relates to the investors. It is our understanding that NAMFISA’s mandate is to ensure that companies must operate in the highest and honest manner as they are dealing with public money.”

“It is our understanding that Trustco Group Holdings has a convicted person in its management and this conviction is on fraud, how then through the due diligence process does this person qualify to be fit and proper in dealing with the public money?” the organisation asked.

The organisation had expressed fear that the company’s clients were at risk of losing their money in the same way as happened with the now defunct SME Bank.

“We put it to you that as much as you may not see the relevance of this example, please note that instituting a probe in the affairs of Trustco Group Holdings allows NAMFISA to make an informed decision on the insinuated white-collar crime being committed at the Institution,”  they said.

However, NAMFISA refused to badge, submitting that TGH was outside the scope of their regulatory spectrum.

“At this juncture, it becomes pertinent to indicate that NAMFISA has no supervisory oversight over the business of the institution referred to in your letter, i.e. Trust Group Holdings (TGH). TGH is not registered as a non-banking financial institution in Namibia and as such falls outside of the scope of NAMFISA’s regulation and supervision.”

“TGH has approximately 23 entities within its group of which NAMFISA has supervisory oversight over three entities only, names Trustco Insurance Limited (TIL), Trustco Life Limited (TLL) and Trustco Finance Limited (TFL). These entities are required to be registered with NAMFISA in terms of the Short-term Insurance Act 1998, Long-term Insurance Act, 1998 and the Microlending Act, 2018,’ said the NAMFISA.

These entities have also been said to be not direct subsidiaries of TGH while their direct control lay within the Trust Group of Companies.

In the meantime, as the battle royale between TGH and the BoN spills into court, the regulator has refused to entertain further questions on why it has acted with haste against TGH>

Its megaphone, Kazembire Zemburuka, said the adjudication process will hang all the dirty linen for the public to see.

At the same time, TGH is pleading with its clients against panic, saying the bank was solvent and heir money thus secure.




Staff Writer

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