The Sunday Times of 31 July 2011 reported on the fraudster and con-artist, Yusuf Achmat. The article however seems to create an air of ambiguity regarding the role that Feike played in the matter. These are the facts:
1. Feike was approached by both Ixia Trading and Gansbaai Marine (via Marine Admin Consultants) to urgently source pilchard quota for them for the 2011 season.
2. Feike was advised that a person called Yusuf Achmat who represented 4 pilchard quota holding companies was prepared to sell the pilchards belonging to these entities for the 2011 season for a specified price on certain terms and conditions, which were communicated to Feike by Achmat in writing.
3. Feike communicated these terms to the both Ixia and Gansbaai whose respective managing directors confirmed their concurrence and that Feike must proceed with the drafting of the agreements. The agreements were subsequently drafted and presented to Achmat for signature. As the quota holders he represented are close corporations, the contracts drafted by Feike explicitly required Achmat to warrant that he was properly authorised to represent and bind the quota holders and sell the fish concerned. Achmat further warranted his authority to bind and represent the corporations when he signed each agreement. Feike was not requested to or required to conduct any due diligence on Achmat or any of the close corporations. Indeed, based on the urgency of the parties to conclude the contracts, any due diligence would have been impossible.
4. The applicable agreements were then counter-signed by Ixia and Gansbaai Marine's respective managing directors.
5. In terms of the agreements, Ixia and Gansbaai would pay "deposits" to Achmat on signature of the agreements. These deposits varied from 5% to 10% of the total purchase price. A portion of Feike's legal fees and commissions were payable on signature of the agreements. The deposits were paid by Feike to Achmat between 29 April & 3 May as required by Achmat.
6. During the subsequent 2 weeks, it became apparent that Achmat could not produce the requisite tax clearance certificates and other documents required to uplift the fishing permits for the four corporations. At this stage, Feike alerted both Gansbaai and Ixia to the fact that Achmat may not be able to produce the documents he was obliged to produce in terms of the contracts.
7. During informal correspondence with a director of another Cape Town based fishing company, the director mentioned how his company was recently conned by two separate persons - the one being a Yusuf Achmat. At this stage, Feike informed both Ixia and Gansbaai Marine of the possibility that Achmat was a con-man and a fraud who may have signed the sale agreements with any legal mandate or authority.
8. With the concurrence of both Ixia and Gansbaai, Feike appointed a firm of attorneys to urgently issue summons to recover the deposits paid to Achmat. Feike also appointed a debt collecting agency to attempt to recover the deposits. Further, Feike reported Achmat to SARS for violations of the Income Tax Act and VAT Act - as Achmat had issued fraudulent VAT invoices for the receipt of the deposits and would not have declared these deposits to SARS as income.
9. For reasons only known to Gansbaai Marine and Ixia Trading, they suddenly decided to not sue Achmat for the deposits he received and invoiced for. Feike remains committed to suing Achmat for the damage caused by his fraud, misrepresentation and deceit by signing agreements for which he had no legal mandate or authority.
The only reason fraudsters and con-artists like Achmat continue to operate in the fishing industry is because companies like Ixia Trading and Gansbaai Marine refuse to expose and sue these types of people. How often did a certain Mr W (now deceased) operate in a similar fashion, selling his quota 3 and four times over in the same season collecting illicit deposits on his quotas without anyone (other than the Grim Reeper) putting an end to the practice?