Congolese general wins round one in fight for N$10 million
Congolese army general Francois Olenga scored the first victory in his quest to regain an amount of close to N$10 million he alleges estate agent Erwin Sprangers stole from him.
Judge Thomas Masuku, who took over the case from Judge Harald Geier – who recused himself as he had dealings with one of the witnesses in the trial – ruled in favour of the Democratic Republic of Congo general when he dismissed an application by Spranger for absolution from the instance.
Judge Masuku said he will make his reasons for the decision known by November 14. Olenga is suing Sprangers for US$850 000. Sprangers is asking the court to dismiss the general’s claim and to order Olenga to also pay his legal costs.
Olenga claims he paid a total of US$900 000 to Sprangers’ estate agency, Kintscher Estate Agents, after he and Sprangers reached a verbal agreement in terms of which Sprangers was to act as his agent in the development of two properties that the general owns at Swakopmund.
Olenga claims he paid a total of US$900 000 into the bank account of Sprangers’ estate agency, Kintcher Estates, in 2010 after he and Sprangers’ reached an agreement that Sprangers’ would act as his agent in the development of two properties the general owns at Swakopmund. Olenga further claimed that after he requested Sprangers’ to pay an amount of US$100 000 into his account during September 2010, only US$50 000 was paid over and that since then Sprangers’ refused to pay back the rest of his money.
Sprangers, however, denies the allegations.
According to him, he and Olenga had a verbal agreement that the general would act as his agent to sell an antique 18th century Qianlong Chinese vase. He further stated in court documents that the general managed to secure a buyer for the vase in February 2010, who agreed to pay N$10 million for the vase.
According to Sprangers, after an amount of N$6.78 million was paid into his bank account as part of the purchase price of the vase he paid an amount of US$50 000 to the general in commission. Olenga denies he played any part in the sale of any antique Chinese vase in response to Sprangers’ statement. According to the general, the first time he heard about the existence of the vase was when he read about it in the court papers filed on behalf of Strangers.
The trial will now be postponed to a date to be set in consultation with both counsels for the continuation of the main trial, which will be presided over by Judge Masuku.
Olenga was represented by Andrea Wienecke from the law firm ENS Africa Windhoek and Spranger by Phillip Swanepoel.