Acres accused of still owing $2 million in fines

Karen MacGregor and John Saunders
Globe and Mail
July 19, 2004
Durban and Toronto: The prosecutor who won a precedent-setting bribery case against Acres International in Lesotho says the Canadian engineering firm has yet to pay the bulk of its fine and owes the equivalent of nearly $2 million. Acres, based in Oakville, Ont., says it is paying in stages because it could not pay the full amount at once. Its new parent, Hatch Ltd. of Mississauga, which acquired Acres in June, is silent on whether it will pay if Acres does not. “Lesotho considers Acres delinquent on its fine and will seek to recover the outstanding 9 million rand [$1.98-million] through the Canadian courts. We have no alternative,” said South African lawyer Guido Penzhorn, who is serving as chief prosecutor in the Lesotho corruption trials. Hatch marketing director Tom Reid said he was unaware that part of the fine was unpaid and did not know whether the subject was covered in a takeover agreement between the two firms. He could not say whether Hatch would pay the fine on Acres’ behalf. He stressed that key executives, including Hatch president Kurt Strobele, were on vacation or otherwise unavailable. Acres has so far paid 6 million rand (about $1.3 million) of its 15 million rand fine.¬†

Categories: Africa, Lesotho, Odious Debts

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