The National Blankets’ case has taken a new twist after the company’s major shareholder, Tichafa Elias Mujuru, accused the workers’ preferred judicial manager, Cecil Madondo, of being behind the problems bedevilling his company.
Mujuru said this in his answering affidavit to an application by workers opposing the appointment of Phillip Ndlovu, a chartered accountant and senior partner of P Ndlovu and Company Chartered Accountants, as judicial manager.
The workers alleged Ndlovu was close to the current management, which they accused of mismanagement, and therefore was an interested party.
In an answering affidavit filed at the High Court last week by his lawyer, Vonani Majoko of Majoko and Majoko Legal Practitioners, Mujuru said the employees’ preferred judicial manager, Cecil Madondo, has no success story in any entity he has managed.
“Madondo is one of the persons who has put applicant (National Blankets) into the position it is in. He is the one who blocked the transfer of applicant’s property in Harare and as I said the matter is in court. I would be out of my mind to suggest Madondo as a judicial manager for a company he dismembered and I am not out of my mind,” submitted Mujuru.
He said while he accepted that Madondo had vast experience in the textile industry, he had no success story in any one entity he managed.
“I know that at David Whitehead the new owners had to go to court to have him removed as he was mismanaging. At Gloweave the owners similarly had to approach court to have Madondo removed. There were accusations that he sold the very property he was meant to manage,” he said.
Mujuru said Madondo would not be an ideal candidate for the position.
“For the workers to say that Ndlovu is disqualified by the Companies Act from being a judicial manager is wrong. The provisions of Section 302 (2) of the Companies Act are clear. A person shall not be appointed as provisional judicial manager of a company if he is the auditor of the company,” Mujuru submitted.
He also said it was not true that the company was supplying the local market and even exporting to regional markets in 2007.
“Historically yes, the company used to supply the local market and even export but that ended in about 1999. The books and records are there for all to see. Again it’s false that the quality of blankets now produced are inferior compared to the quality produced in 2007,” he said.
Mujuru said on the contrary tonnes of reject material from the old raw materials were fed in the new machines and excellent products were being produced and sold.
He also said the allegation that $2,15 million advanced by a bank to the company was abused was false and malicious.
“I challenge them to come up with evidence of such abuse and present it in court. False charges of abuse of funds by management strike at the very heart of this application and must substantiate the allegations as banks will not support judicial management, where management is looting the company,” he said.
The row started after Mujuru applied to the High Court in Bulawayo on October 13 for a voluntary placement of the company on judicial management and preferred Ndlovu.