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Chaos at Hwange AGM

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Hwange Colliery Company Limited (HCCL) shareholders have booted out the Tendai Savanhu-led board during a chaotic annual general meeting (AGM) held in the capital yesterday.

Savanhu, who attended the AGM and briefly chaired the initial stages of the indaba before “adjourning” it arguing it was unlawful, maintained he was still in charge of the company — listed on the Zimbabwe Stock Exchange, Johannesburg Stock Exchange and London Stock Market.

But, shareholders did not budge and went ahead with the AGM installing a new board.

Soon after the so-called adjournment, Savanhu walked out of the meeting with three other members of the old board, prompting shareholders to second James Nqindi — from the old board — to act as chairperson.

Those that walked out alongside with Savanhu include Rosemary Sibanda, Shingai Mutumbwa and Fortune Chasi.

The shareholders then appointed a new board comprising Norman Chibhanguza, Jemmister Chininga, Ian Haruperi, Nkosilathi Jiyane, Siphiwe Mapfuwa, Johnson Mawere, Farai Mutamangira, Lucas Nkomo and Valentine Vera.

One of the major shareholders, Nick van Hoogstraten, was, however, unfazed by Savanhu, saying: “Of course, the meeting went on, it’s the shareholders that decide whether the meeting should proceed or not and government sent its proxies.”

But, in an interview, Savanhu shot back maintaining the meeting was illegal.

He claimed the government, which is one of the major shareholders, had directed through Deputy Prime Minister Arthur Mutambara that the meeting should not proceed because it was illegal.

“We have advised the shareholders that this meeting is illegal and, therefore, the meeting has been adjourned. The board will sit and convene the legal AGM as soon as possible.

The minority shareholders were not happy with the manner that the majority shareholders want to operate. The position of government is the meeting should not proceed.

Deputy Prime Minister Arthur Mutambara is the man handling this matter. I think it’s Van Hoogstraten who wants to cause confusion and wherever he is, he wants to cause confusion,” Savanhu said.

The government was represented by Vera, a director in the Ministry of Mines, who voted to boot out the old board.

Savanhu later claimed he telephoned Mutambara and informed him of the fiasco, prompting the DPM to order Vera out of the meeting. Contacted for comment, Mutambara said: “Phone me tomorrow, I am in meetings.”

But when Vera left the meeting he said: “I am not part and parcel of the meeting. I am out of the meeting and (with regard) to the government position, you will get it from the minister (Obert Mpofu).”

HCCL has been issuing conflicting statements in the Press in the past week with notices from company secretary Thembelani Ncube saying the AGM would proceed while Savanhu insisted the meeting was unprocedural.

According to Central African Stock Exchanges Handbook 2011 HCCL shareholders are government with 37,1%, Van Hoogstraten through his vehicle Messina Investments with 14,8% and Mittal Steel Africa 9,76%.

The rest is spread out among minority shareholders.

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