Kwekwe faces ‘detonation’ over explosives firm row

A ROW over the ownership of a Kwekwe mining explosives manufacturing company, GML Explosives, is raging in the High Court and could soon detonate.
Workers at the firm recently told NewsDay they were owed over $1,2 million in unpaid wages, while the East European shareholders of the company were currently embroiled in a nasty legal battle for a debt related to the company’s shareholding.

BY RICHARD CHIDZA

“We have not been paid for the past four years. Since the Croatians took over in 2014, they have never paid us our salaries and to make matters worse, there has not been any production. We are now told that the Croatian owners want to sell the company to new owners, despite the fact that they have not paid the former owners,” NewsDay heard.

Another worker, who spoke on condition they were not identified, said GML, formerly known as Dyno Nobel, could now pose a threat to Kwekwe and its residents.
“It’s a time-bomb because the machinery at the factory is outdated and dangerous. Any attempt to run the plant could result in an explosion in the city,” the worker said.
GML’s new owners, Croinvest (Pvt) Ltd, is being sued by the company’s previous owners, who include Goodpass Investments, the Local Authorities Pension Fund (LAPF), Mishu Investments and Shamwari Employee Share Incentive Trust for almost $500 000.

In summons issued in August 2015 seen by NewsDay, the Croatians owe the claimants $467 473 plus interest at the rate of interest 5% per annum from January 2015.
“On June 9, 2014 and at Harare, the plaintiffs and the defendant entered into a written sale of shares agreement in terms of which the former sold to the latter their entire shareholding of five million ordinary shares in GML Explosives (GML) for the sum of $250 000,” the summary of evidence dated June 13, 2017 indicated.
The Croatians also undertook to pay for corporate, legal and directors’ fees, among other things, to bring the total amount to $467 473 “within six months from the date of completion June 16, 2014”.

GML’s new owners denied the allegations and have demanded that the claimants prove their case.

The company’s managing director Jairos Mushirivindi refused to comment on the possibility of the GML factory posing danger to residents and Kwekwe in general.

“We do not talk about these issues on the phone or email. You need to come to the office so we can talk,” he said.

GML is in the business of manufacturing explosives for the mining industry.

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