Ex- employee accuses Savanna Tobacco of forcibly selling his house

Cigarette manufacturer Savanna Tobacco is embroiled in a legal wrangle with its former chief financial officer Matthew Chadya who accuses the company bosses of wresting his house and vehicle.

Savanna Tobacco accuses Chadya of swindling it of $202 965 and have apparently taken his house and vehicle as restitution. He has since appeared in court and is out on bail.

Chadya is also alleging he was forced to resign after the company bosses intimidated him.

In court papers, Chadya alleges he was forced to sign off his Chishawasha home and a Mercedes Benz vehicle as restitution for the money he allegedly stole from the company.

He said the company bosses threatened to have him arrested and put him in remand prison if he did not cooperate with them.

There was no immediate comment from Savanna Tobacco on Monday. Their lawyers did not respond to enquiries from NewsDay.

In court papers Chadya said: “On or around 4th August 2010, the first defendant (Savanna Tobacco) through its executive chairman (Mr Adam Molai) and its external auditor (Mr Regis Saruchera), unofficially called in two police officers and used them to cow the plaintiff (Chadya) to submit to first respondent’s (Savanna Tobacco) demands. Apparently, no police report had been made.”

“They threatened to have the plaintiff arrested and put into prison like if he did not cooperate with them. Consequently the first defendant (Savanna Tobacco) through the said individuals, forced the plaintiff to resign. The plaintiff, acting under duress, complied.”
Chadya is alleging he was forced to agree on the value of the “general shortfalls”.

“The plaintiff was made to agree to the sale of his immovable property called 882 Chishawasha Hills, Harare and his company-assisted (purchased) vehicle, for a total sum of $273 468, 04, which figure included the general deficiency alluded to above, staff loan in the sum of $13 139, 94, personal loan in the sum of $30 000 and transfer fees in the sum of $20 000,” Chadya said.

Savanna Tobacco is cited as the first defendant while Tony West Real Estate, which handled the “agreements”, is cited as the second defendant.

Chadya said no evaluation was carried out to ascertain the real value of the property and the vehicle. He said the value of the property and the vehicle “exceeds” the $273 468,04.

He alleges he was placed under armed guard overnight at his home in order for Savanna Tobacco lawyers to prepare the “relevant agreements”.

He claims the “agreements” were entered into while he was “still under the escort of an armed guard”.

Chadya is facing charges of swindling the cigarette manufacturing company of $202 965 through misrepresentations by using purchase invoices that had already been honoured by the company.

He is denies the charges.

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