Friday, 14th February 2014.
We are now able to update investors as to the outcome of the Court hearing to determine whether or not the African Land scheme was a Collective Investment Scheme (CIS).
At the outset, it is worth noting that the landscape of the FCA’s complaints (insofar as it concerns the African Land scheme) has changed considerably since the FCA launched these proceeding without ever having been to the Farm.
At the July hearing, the FCA’s case against African Land, was, in effect, presented as a fraud case where the Farm and its operation was a mirage. It was alleged that the scheme was not being operated in accordance with the way in which it was marketed to investors (i.e. separate harvesting of investor plots) and the underlying implication and tone of the FCA’s case was that the scheme was a sham.
The African Land scheme has now been found to be a legitimate business: it is a genuine, large-scale farm, operated in accordance with the way in which it was marketed to investors. African Land’s case has been overwhelmingly accepted with the Judge accepting the evidence of its directors. The FCA’s factual evidence was rejected and many of their witnesses were discredited.
Three accusations were made by the FCA:
1. Individual investor acres were not separated – This was proved to be wrong
2. Individual investment returns were pooled – This was also proved to be wrong.
3. The investment was “managed as a whole” - and it was on this legal point that the Judge found in favour of the FCA. As a result the Court has ruled that Yoni Farm is a CIS.
With respect to the learned Judge, African Land are pursuing an appeal to the Court of Appeal and have today obtained permission to do so.
African Land is confident that its appeal will succeed.
In the meantime Yoni Farm remains operational. Pending the appeal, African Land have agreed, at the request of the FCA, not to make any returns to investors either from rice harvests or land redemptions.
Please note that the company continues to strive to protect the best interests of you the investors as well as our loyal workforce on the farm in Sierra Leone.
Further update(s) will appear on africanland.org as further information becomes available.
Again, thank you for your continued support.
AFRICAN LAND LIMITED