Saturday, October 24, 2020

CEDA defaulter’s 18 years legal battle with the agency comes to an end

Isabel Holdings a company owned by Geoffrey Maygilip has lost a case at the Court of Appeal (CoA) for failure to repay a P1.3 million loan it has owed the Citizen Entrepreneurial Development Agency (CEDA) since 2002.

The CoA panel of three judges being Ian Kirby, Isaac Lesetedi and Modiri Letsididi dismissed the appeal. 

“It is said that the wheels of justice grind slowly onwards, but that finality will eventually be reached. That is certainly the case here, where moneys were advanced to the 1st appellant, Isabel Holdings (Pty) Ltd a company owned by Maygilip as long ago as April 2002 and it is only now, eighteen years later that the validity of the respondent’s claim for repayment of the balance of its loan, with interest , falls to be finally decided.”

Presiding judge, Kirby made it clear that the reasons for that delay have not been made an issue in the appeal adding nothing further need be said of them save to make general observation.

He said the longer the delay, the less likely it is that the witness will accurately recall details of the claim and defence and the more the difficult it will be to arrive at a mathematically accurate determination. 

It was in this case, where summons was issued on 25th April 2012 for the repayment of the sum of P1, 343,872.76 being the balance with interest of moneys loaned and advanced and judgment was handed down on 16th April 2014 against the appellant and they appealed to this court.

According to court, Maygilip through his company Isabel Holdings approached CEDA in 2002 and 2003 and CEDA loaned and advanced to Isabel company the sum of P1, 285,000 to finance the purchase of an articulated horse vehicle and Trailer for use in a transport business including a sum for working capital and the loan was repayable in five years by instalments of P25, 900 

The judges found that only P69, 756.00 had been repaid and the remaining issue were whether the sum of P1, 343,872.76 remain owing to CEDA and was due and payable by Isabel and the sureties and whether the signature of the surrender form constitute a compromise and settlement of the whole claim and was accompanied by an undertaking and obligation on the part of CEDA to recover the vehicles from Lubumbashi in the Democratic Republic of Congo.

The court found, that assets were to be surrendered to CEDA in Botswana whereupon they would be collected by CEDA. 

It was the 1st appellant to return the Horse and Trailer from Zambia or the Democratic Republic of Congo for the purpose of that surrender.

The judge said the version of Maygilim that CEDA agreed to locate and fetch the vehicles from a foreign land is inherently improbable and was rightly rejected.

“It is not denied that it was Isabel, under the control of Maygilip which obtained the necessary paper work and exported the vehicles to Zambia where they were engaged for profit in transporting goods between Zambia and DRC and had the authority to return them to Botswana,” said Kirby.

Kirby said Maygilip has failed to give any explanation as to the fate of those vehicles, claiming only that they must have been reposessed by CEDA, which was a lie.

The judge disbelieved Maygilip and made an adverse finding on his credibility. “The appellant (Maygilip) failed to discharge their onus to establish a compromise and their defence could not succeed.

Kirby dismissed the appeal with costs. 

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