Prominent lawyer Farai Mutamangira was elected chairperson of Hwange Colliery Company Limited (HCCL) at a special board meeting in Hwange on Thursday.
Speaking after meeting the new board, Mines and Mining Development minister, Obert Mpofu said the new board was raring to go.
He dismissed as unfortunate claims by the axed former board led by businessman Tendai Savanhu that it was still in charge.
“It’s not up to the previous board to say this board is illegal. I’m in charge of the company shareholding. What I say is official. Everything else is unofficial and should not be given credit. People are entitled to their own views,” he said.
He said Hwange was in need of an excess of $100 million for recapitalisation.
Mpofu said the new board has been given an immediate task to deal with, given the strategic nature of the company to the economy.
Meanwhile, Savanhu had appealed to Deputy Prime Minister Arthur Mutambara for intervention in the boardroom squabbles at the coal mine.
In a letter, which was copied to President Robert Mugabe, Vice-President Joice Mujuru, Mpofu, Chief Secretary to the President and Cabinet Misheck Sibanda and HCCL managing director Fred Moyo, Savanhu maintained whatever the “new” board was doing was illegal.
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“Honourable Deputy Prime Minister, the prejudice to be suffered by a tri-listed company implementing resolutions adopted at an illegally-convened annual general meeting (AGM) is obvious; its operations and contracts, as well as its relationship with its bankers and financiers will come to a standstill if there is a lack of clarity on the authority of a new board of directors,” read part of the letter.
“There is a real risk of suspension of trading in its shares on the stock exchanges aforesaid, with the attendant prejudice to shareholders and investors, many of which are pension funds who have invested the funds of many thousands of employees and retirees in the company.”
Savanhu contended the country’s image as a safe and sound investment destination, where listed companies were free to operate without interference, was at risk.
Government representative Valentine Vera is said to have been telephoned by Mutambara advising him to adjourn the meeting as it did not have government blessing.
Vera left the meeting soon after which 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).”
But according to the letter, Savanhu said the “new” board had defied Mutambara’s directive not to proceed with the meeting.
“It is with regret that I must advie you that your instruction was completely ignored by both ministry officials and management at Hwange, with the full knowledge and/or acquiescence of the Ministry of Mines, they proceeded with the AGM,” read part of the letter.