Lawyer probed for shady dealBy: DENVER KISTING
THE Law Society of Namibia referred a complaint against a Gobabis lawyer, Bennie Venter, to the Legal Practitioners’ Disciplinary Committee in May 2010 already, following a shady land deal he set up.
Retha Steinmann, director of the Society, yesterday said that the committee would now have to consider a recent Supreme Court ruling which found that a transaction Venter had orchestrated was illegal.
Frank Köpplinger, chairperson of the disciplinary committee, yesterday said the probe was underway.
“Unfortunately, I cannot now say at what stage it is, as there is a type of confidentiality in the process,” he said.
When approached for comment, Venter barked: “You are late. I am affronted with you. Write what you want.”
He accused The Namibian of publishing half-truths and not having a clue about the law.
Asked about the disciplinary procedures instituted against him over the land deal, Venter first denied knowledge of this. “You know more than I do, sir.”
Shortly afterwards, he remembered that there was “something two years ago”. He twice asked: “What does it have to do with you,” before he hung up.
On Monday, it was reported that the set of contracts through which Gobabis district farm owner Jan Harm Labuschagne supposedly borrowed N$8,7 million from a South African national, Waldemar Strauss, near the end of 2008, leased his two farms to Strauss at a nominal monthly rental of N$1 000, and in his will bequeathed his farms to Strauss, was in fraud of the law.
The Supreme Court made this ruling on Thursday last week.
It was found that the contracts were the components of a simulated transaction, meant to disguise the true nature of the agreement between Labuschagne and Strauss.
The contracts were an attempt to avoid the obstacles presented by the Land Reform Act, which required that Labuschagne should first have offered his farms for sale to Government, Acting Judge of Appeal Kate O’Regan said in the court’s judgement.
Because the contractual scheme was a disguised or simulated transaction, it was in fraud of the law (‘in fraudem legis’), and as a result all of the contracts signed by Labuschagne and Strauss were void from the start, Judge O’Regan found.
The court dismissed an appeal which Strauss and Venter, who drew up the contracts, had lodged against a High Court judgement in which the contracts were declared invalid and Strauss was evicted from Labuschagne’s farms.