Swiss Charge (Zambia) Limited Somerset West Review

At least five companies entered into a Loan Agreement with Swiss Charge Zambia Limited (‘SCZL’) in early 2014 based upon representations made by Frans Rootman, a facilitator for SCZL who is based in South Africa. This ‘shadow banking’ structure is said to extend to more than Euro 1.6 billion. One of the companies that submitted a loan application was Monumental Capital (Pty) Limited (‘MCL’), registered in Australia and headed up by South African, Andre Swanepoel. In order to gain acceptance as a loan applicant, extensive documentation had to be prepared at an agreed to cost that was to be paid out of the proceeds of the loan. Frans Rootman and Robert Best (UK), director of SCZL, gave written and verbal assurances to MCL that the funding would be available within 10 days of signature of the Loan Agreement. The Loan Agreement between SCZL and MCL was signed on 1 April 2014. The amount to be loaned to MCL was stated as Euro 75 million in the agreement. To date SCZL has not performed on the Loan Agreement. SCZL has not responded to requests for a formal response as to the status of the loan. However, regular monthly representations were made by Frans Rootman to say that ‘the funds were available’ and ‘that the funding was imminent’. These representations included emails stating that all that was outstanding was final signoff by Margaret Mwanakatwe with SCZL’s own funders. Margaret Mwanakatwe is CEO of SCZL and is currently the Minister of Commerce, Trade and Industry in Zambia. It was communicated that an account for MCL has been opened at Kingdom Bank, an ‘offshore bank’ in Botswana, and that this bank would be the recipient bank for all the funds for all the companies. The funds were to originate from Deutsche Bank, Commerzbank, and, as communicated in December 2014, Standard Chartered Bank. Non-performance by SCZL, together with the regular misrepresentations by Frans Rootman, have resulted in financial loss by a number of participants to the transaction. A director designate of MCL and primary compiler of the documentation for the loan application has incurred substantial financial loss when taking into consideration his promised compensation for work performed up to the signature of the Loan Agreement, promised remuneration (effective May 2014) and his stated minimum equity holding in MCL. This director designate of MCL has been ‘threatened’ by both SCZL and MCL should he make public the events surrounding the non-performance of this Loan Agreement.

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