John Patrick Zwiggelaar, a 40-year old Dutch national, through his Windhoek-based lawyers, have given notice that he intends to sue Informanté, following two articles that appeared in the Informanté editions of 11 April and 20 June 2012 under the headings ‘Indebted Dutch man on the run’ and ‘Makakata goes bust’.
The former Makakata boss claims Informante’s coverage led to several banks in Europe and South Africa denying him loans to resuscitate his ailing business, formerly trading under Makakata Marble and Granite Namibia. In April, Informanté reported how Zwiggelaar, who was a lease owner of Makakata at Omaruru at the time, absconded from the company property on 26 March 2012, leaving behind unpaid workers and an overwhelming debt, that included non-payment of the telephone bill. Zwiggelaar rented the gravestone business he conducted from Makakata Stone Processing from owners Jonathan and Jane Church from January 2010.
Besides the non-payment of some employees, a number of former clients who remained unaware of the closure of Makakata continued to deposit money into Zwiggelaar’s Bank Windhoek account, while some were reported to have engaged the Omaruru police for assistance. A few clients were unable to collect gravestones, as many were purportedly incomplete. This led to some clients instituting legal action against the Dutch national for monies already paid to him for the delivery of gravestones.
Among these clients, a high-profile lawyer was reported to have put in a sale of execution claim of N$1 million against Zwiggelaar for having paid for a tombstone that was never delivered within fourteen days, as per the initial agreement. Zwiggelaar’s legal woes worsened following a public auction of his assets on 19 June 2012 by the Okahandja Sheriff Eddy Crowley, with the assistance of the Usakos Deputy Sheriff.
With over 150 people present, Zwiggelaar’s property that went under the hammer included unfinished gravestones, marble-cutting and polishing machinery, coffins and exercise machines. According to sources that attended the auction, more than half of the potential buyers were Zwiggelaar’s former clients, who came to buy gravestones that they had paid for, but were never finished before the closure of Makakata Gravestone and Processing in March this year.