Suriname's state-owned FAI sues Hein Deprez for $45M - report
The state-owned Suriname Food and Agricultural Industries (FAI) has filed a claim for millions in damages from Flemish fruit trader Hein Deprez and his companies over alleged illegal acts in the management of banana plantations.
According to Financieele Dagblad (FD), this will include claims for damages totaling more than US$45 million.
The newspaper wrote that Depres and his companies, according to the Surinamese, are guilty of mismanagement and illegal acts in the management of large Surinamese banana plantations.
The Belgian company The Fruit Farm Group, of which Deprez was a wholesaler, left Suriname in February 2020. The company then indicated that the current political, financial and economic situation in Suriname makes it impossible to continue the business.
The company withdrew from Suriname on February 13 last year and transferred the operations of FAI to the local administration. The Belgians owned 90% of the shares in the company and Suriname owned the remaining 10%.
The then Minister of Agriculture, Livestock and Fisheries, Rabin Parmesar, was not pleased with the way the Belgian company had left the country. “The government is considering taking legal action against the company,” said Parmasar angrily at the time at the assembly.
Suriname accuses the Belgians of abandoning their banana plantations in Suriname. Contrary to agreements and commitments, Depres and his companies had left the farms in disrepair without sufficient advance notice, according to the Development Department.