Disgraced distributor’s stock up for grabs

IT stock belonging to SMB Distribution, the company accused by US President George Bush back in February 2004 of being involved in the distribution of nuclear technology, is finally being auctioned off by liquidators almost a year-and-a-half after SMB’s Dubai premises were closed down by the authorities and put under police guard.

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By  Stuart Wilson Published  July 12, 2005

IT stock belonging to SMB Distribution, the company accused by US President George Bush back in February 2004 of being involved in the distribution of nuclear technology, is finally being auctioned off by liquidators almost a year-and-a-half after SMB’s Dubai premises were closed down by the authorities and put under police guard. The liquidation sale for the SMB Group of companies, being handled by Saba & Co., covers a range of products from several major vendors including, but not limited to, Epson, Samsung, Fujitsu Siemens Computers, Acer, Palm and TrippLite. According to press adverts placed by Saba & Co., stock includes printers, printing consumables, scanners, PCs, notebooks, monitors, PDAs and UPS systems. Stuart Maughan, Middle East branch manager at palmOne, said of the liquidation sale: “The situation with SMB occurred well over a year ago now. The stock that was frozen in SMB’s facilities will now be pretty old technology. I think there is probably a few hundred units there — Tungsten T3s probably.” When SMB collapsed last year, some vendors had tried to reclaim stock that they had sold to the company but were unable to enter the distributor’s premises. According to the liquidators, the stock currently resides in three separate locations: the SMB Computer showroom on Computer Street, the SMB Distribution warehouse in Al Qusais and the Peripherals Gulf Limited warehouse in the Jebel Ali Free Zone. The liquidators will provide detailed lists of the items available to interested parties for a set period and allow them to inspect the stocks. Buyers will then be able to submit bids in sealed envelopes with the stocks sold on an ‘as is and where is’ basis. Sales of Epson stocks will be done in co-ordination with Epson’s Middle East operation. According to a spokesperson at Saba & Co., a decision on whether to open up the sale to individual buyers as well as business buyers will be determined by levels of interest. Note however that according to the advert, “The liquidators reserve the right to reject any bid without disclosing reasons.” Anyone interested in picking up SMB kit should pop along to the Saba & Co. offices on Sheikh Zayed Road. Take along a trade licence and a business card and interested buyers can pick up the list of all the kit on offer and find out more about the bidding process. Bush named SMB Computer last year in a speech addressing the role of Abdul Qadeer Khan — father of Pakistan’s nuclear weapons programme — in a network supplying centrifuge technology. Bush also described the involvement of SMB Computer in moving the goods. Bush claimed that Sri-Lankan Dubai-based businessman BSA Tahir was the main player behind SMB Computer’s role. “Tahir used that computer company as a front for the proliferation activities of the AQ Khan network,” said Bush at the time. “[Tahir] was also its shipping agent, using his computer firm as cover for the movement of centrifuge parts to various clients.”

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