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Appeal lodged to return Tati to liquidation

MBONGENI MGUNI
The Court of Appeal is set to hear an urgent appeal by the former Tati Nickel liquidator to return the mothballed mine back into liquidation, BusinessWeek has established.

Last week, the High Court removed Tati Nickel from its two-year liquidation, after Justice Zein Kebonang ruled that there were insufficient reasons to keep the mine under.

The decision, described by legal experts as unprecedented, effectively handed Tati Nickel back to its majority shareholder, the Government of Botswana, and opened it up to claims from creditors, workers and others.

On Wednesday, Tati Nickel’s former liquidator, Nigel Dixon-Warren told BusinessWeek the Court of Appeal had agreed to hear the matter on urgency. “We have just received the order from the judge who heard the preliminary matter which confirms that the appeal should be heard urgently.

“The Court of Appeal wants to see the reasons for the High Court judge’s decision before they hear the appeal. Hopefully these will be provided soon,” he said. In making his ruling, Kebonang had told the court he would provide his reasons soon.

The High Court judge was unimpressed when lawyers representing the

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liquidator requested a further extension of Tati Nickel’s liquidation citing the existence of at least two offers which needed time to finalise.

“You are saying you have received two non-binding indicative offers, but then you say you are short-listing bidders, yet there are only two of them.

“Then you say, following this, the short-listed will be invited for something else; this seems to be an unending process.

“There is also uncertainty because you say these are non-binding offers. There is very little to go on, according to the documents you have put here.

“I am going to decline an extension because there’s no adequate basis for it from the information you have given me. There’s nothing warranting an extension,” he said.

Lawyers representing Dixon-Warren said the judge – if he was unhappy – should have placed Tati Nickel in final liquidation, rather than remove it from liquidation when it had no board, management or workers.



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