Plantation Club Resort & Casino court battle continues

VICTORIA, Seychelles (eTN) – The forced closure by the Seychelles government of the Plantation Club Resort & Casino has seen both the main shareholders of the owning company and the government appearing before the courts of Seychelles to vindicate their positions.

The government of Seychelles, through the attorney general’s office, stated last week that they wanted to recover their investment now that the resort was not operational and wanted to see the owning company liquidated. The lawyer representing the main shareholders, Mr. Bernard Georges, stated on national television that he believed that the government had a different agenda, because the liquidation of the company would leave the Seychelles government and its 8 percent shares no financial benefits, as the main creditors would be the first beneficiaries.

The Seychelles has lost investor confidence with this move where investors are seen to be at the mercy of civil servants to be granted a one year’s trading/operating license, which could not be renewed or renewed depending on the wishes of civil servants as what happened with the Plantation Club Resort & Casino.

Acting Chief Justice Ranjun Perera delivered a first blow to the resorts owning company when he dismissed a motion brought by Atty. Bernard Georges on behalf of Ailee Development, the company owning the resort. The motion was contesting the appointment of Mauritian company Ernst and Young as provisional liquidators to wind up the affairs of the company. Ernst and Young had been appointed at the request of the Seychelles government. Georges argued that the appointment of Ernst and Young was illegal as they were a corporate body and that under Section 293 of the Seychelles Companies Act could not be appointed as liquidators. Judge Perera ruled that Ernst and Young was a not a company but a partnership (partenaire en partage) and that the appointment was in order.

In the meantime, a local weekly newspaper, Le Nouveau Seychelles Weekly, has raised doubt about the fitness and suitability of Ernst and Young to act as liquidator as the wife of the governor of the Seychelles Central Bank and his brother-in-law are representatives of that company in Seychelles.

The business community has been puzzled about the forced closure of the resort especially at a time when the country is known to be facing a shortage of hard currency. Suppliers and trading partners have been asking if the closure of the Plantation Club Resort & Casino mean that the government has enough foreign currency to meet its obligations with trading partners and international institutions.

It is now believed that a new multi-millionaire Seychellois of Indian nationality may be getting ready to purchase the Plantation Club Resort & Casino as soon as the liquidation formalities have been cleared by the courts. There is talk that the resort is expected to then be passed on to a member of a Middle East ruling family.