Pinnacle’s R100m estate to go under the hammer

2011-11-26 07:54

Almost six months after being ­ordered to settle a R22.5 million loan from RMB Private Bank, top businessman Lazarus Zim and his Pinnacle Point partners still have not paid up in full.

The Western Cape High Court has granted RMB Private Bank, a division of FNB, an order to sell Pinnacle Point’s 45-hectare, R100 million Wesselheim Estate in Bethlehem, Free State.

Pinnacle Point and its directors have so far only paid part of the debt.

The estate, on which nothing was built, will go under the ­hammer next Friday.

A highly placed source told City Press that the bond on the ­property was R10 million but the proceeds would not be sufficient to settle the entire judgment and costs.

City Press can confirm that ­Pinnacle Point Lodge in Mossel Bay will also go on auction in the new year.

In June, Judge Anton Veldhuizen ordered the troubled Pinnacle Point, its chairperson Ivor Stratford, and his trust and associate companies to pay R19.1 million plus an 11% yearly interest from ­December last year.

Telkom chairperson Zim; his business partner, Ragavan ­Moonsamy; and Pinnacle Point Holdings directors David Mostert and Mervyn Key; were also ­ordered to pay R500 000, for which they signed surety agreements with the bank.

In his capacity as Pinnacle Point chairperson at the time, Zim signed surety for the loan, ­together with 12 other directors and associate companies.

He has since resigned from ­Pinnacle Point.

However, Zim’s Afripalm owns 30% of Unipalm, which was part of a consortium that acquired a 26% stake in Pinnacle Point.

Moonsamy is managing ­director of Unipalm Investment ­Holdings, of which Zim is a former director.

Veldhuizen found that Wesselheim Estate was “executable”, which meant RMB could sell the property to recover its debt.
­Pinnacle Point failed to meet its monthly loan repayments leading to RMB’s lawsuit.

In court papers, RMB indicated that Zim, Moonsamy, Mostert and Key were notified that they were being held liable for payment.

However, the businessmen ­argued the loan agreement, which stated the money was payable on demand, was replaced by one stating the loan was payable over three years.

Their argument was ­dismissed by Judge Veldhuizen.

At the time, Pinnacle Point chief executive Sibusiso Gamede told City Press that he could still turn around the company.

It had assets worth R1.8 billion compared with its liabilities, a ­total of about R250 million it owes banks and other creditors, ­according to Gamede.

Zim and the directors could not be reached for comment.

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