Millions spark fight for power at Red Force Debt Management

August 24, 2017, 4:02pm

 

There is a struggle for power at Red Force Debt Management, the company that won the multimillion dollar tender with Agribank and Keetmanshoop a few months ago.

Red Force Debt Management is one of two companies that were successful in a bid to recover more than N$500 million in farmers’ debt owed to Agribank. At the centre of the power struggle is Julius Nyamazana, who is the chief executive officer and George Itembu, one of the former directors.

The Villager understands now that the late Siseho Simasiku who passed away in February 2016 was a partner in the company with Nyamazana. According to a court record obtained by The Villager, when the company was formed in 2014, Nyamazana was still in Zimbabwe and had to come to Namibia on a visitor’s visa. Company documents show that when the company was formed Nyamazana had 100% shares. In September 2014, a certain Nguvitjita Zatjirua bought 51%. Zatjirua is an acting Director Finance at Namibia Institute of Public Administration and Management. A few months later, the late Electricity Control Board chief executive officer, Siseho Simasiku then bought Zatjirua’s shares. When Simasiku died February 2016, his shares were transferred to Zatjirua again.

The Villager has come to know that after the death of Simasiku, his shares were not transferred to a living relative but are now all controlled by Nyamazana. Another shareholder who later came on board as a company director was George Itembu. When The Villager spoke to Itembu a few months ago about Red Force, he defended Nyamazana, but this time, he did not hold back. Itembu this week told The Villager that he cut all ties with the company two months ago, due to differences between him and founder, Nyamazana. “I am no longer a director or shareholder. There was a shareholder disagreement between Julius, Simasiku Family and Nguvi. I decided to cut my losses, save my integrity and walk away from it all,” he told The Villager. Itembu said Nyamazana’s unethical business ethic pushed him out of the organisation. “I informed him that I do not prescribe to illegal things and made him aware of the repercussions,” Itembu said Although Itembu could not say what exactly he meant by illegal things, The Villager gathered that Red Force Debt Management has not paid taxes and that the workers are underpaid. Nyamazana, the sources said, employs his sister at Red Force who also does not have a work permit and has no experience in debt management. Also,

 

The Villager obtained a court record showing that Nyamazana was arrested in December 2016 for being illegally in the country.  Nyamazana pleaded guilty for overstaying and was fined N$12 000 or 12 months in prison. In his mitigation remarks, Nyamazana told the court that he came to Namibia after he had formed the company with the late Simasiku. On 23 February 2016, he said, my partner who was Namibian passed away leaving a company with 10 employees who were all Namibians. “There were obligations such as rentals and salaries for these employees and this time I tried to submit a work permit with home affairs to legalise my stay in Namibia and save the company and the employees,” he said. He further said that his application was rejected on the ground that many such companies were operating in the country. Nyamazana also said that his second attempt failed and by the time six of the workers had left the company. He told the court that he would leave the country if given a fi ne but it appeared that he did not go because early this year he signed the Keetmanshoop agreement.

The Villager tracked Nyamazana to Zimbabwe on Wednesday for a comment. As expected, Nyamazana did not confirm the arrest. Instead, he referred The Villager to home affairs, finance ministry and trade ministry. “I believe there are three offices or ministries that can make your investigations easier and give you correct information, without wasting much of your time I would suggest you visit Ministry of Home Affairs, Ministry of Trade and Industry and Ministry of Finance. All these government offices would be able to give you accurate information,” he said. When approached by The Villager to find out whether her family still had ties to Red Force and getting benefits from the company, the Late Simasiku’s widow Renette Simasiku refused to comment. “I have no information on that one. Maybe I can only call you back. I do not want to be involved with newspapers. There is nothing that I can say,” she said. The Villager could not get hold of Zatjirua for comment.

 

The Villager understands that Agribank was notified of Nyamazana’s arrest in an anonymous tip in an email sent to the Chief Executive Officer, on 12 July this year. The Villager also inquired with Agribank Chief Executive Officer, Sakaria Nghikembua on why Agribank awarded a tender to a company owned by a foreign national without a working visa, the bank said, “As stated in the past, Agribank entered into an arrears debt-collection contract with Redforce Debt Management cc in February 2017. Nghikembua further said that the contract is with Redforce and not with Julius Nyamazana. “As stated previously, company documents submitted by Redforce when applying for the tender, which are public documents and verifiable with the Registrar of Companies, clearly indicated that Redforce was majority Namibian-owned. “Any work permit-related issues in respect of Julius Nyamazana will be a matter between that individual, the company they work for and the Ministry in charge of Immigration Control in the Republic of Namibia. Agribank does not deal with immigration issues in Namibia nor does it deal with work permits for employees of other companies.

 

The Bank refuses to be drawn into such issues”. Earlier this year, the company locked horns with farmers who were complaining of exorbitant interests charged by Red Force as well as unorthodox collection methods.