Top Harare lawyer Gerald Mlotshwa and returning business mogul James Makamba have been taken to court over a dispute over disposal of Telecel shares.
A group of war veterans under banner of Magamba eChimurenga Housing Trust have approached the High Court, seeking an interdict to stop trade in shares reportedly held by an assortment of individuals and investment vehicles.
BY RICHARD CHIDZA
However, it seems the shares have already been sold to Mlotshwa, a Harare lawyer reportedly married to President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s daughter, in what the applicants argue were shady transactions.
Makamba, who recently returned to the country after over a decade in self-imposed exile, Mlotshwa, businesswoman Jane Mutasa, Empowerment Corporation and Telecel Zimbabwe are listed as respondents along with Information Communication Technology and Cyber Security minister Supa Mandiwanzira.
The applicants argue they had along with other Zimbabweans responded to a “clarion” call from the government of Zimbabwe to join the mainstream economy through empowerment vehicles at the turn of the century.
“All the indigenous groups and persons alike who responded to the government quest for indigenisation of the economy in 1997 acted as promoters for the realisation or birth of the third defendant (Empowerment Corporation) as an investment vehicle for indigenous groups and people.
“The third defendant at its inception and incorporation on or about 1997, its members constituting the same resolved that shares in the third defendant would be sold to several of its members and in the event of failure by such members to purchase those shares, individual members or groups or entities through their personal investments vehicles would purchase such shares,” the applicants fronted by former Zimbabwe National Liberation War Veterans’ Association (ZNLWVA) director for projects Andrew Ndlovu said.
“The plaintiff then replaced the ZNLWVA and fully subscribed to the shareholding that had been extended to it through its project (Magamba eChimurenga Housing Trust),” court papers show.
The applicants claim that former President Robert Mugabe’s nephew Leo, late war veterans leader Chenjerai Hunzvi, the Zimbabwe Farmers’ Union failed to purchase the shares.
The Affirmative Action group led by Philip Chiyangwa, according to the plaintiffs, also failed to buy 9% of the shareholding offered and was replaced by the Native Telecommunications owned by the now Zimbabwe Football Association president.
Government, according to the applicants, urged it to partner other “reputable” organisations leading to the formation of Telecel Zimbabwe (Pvt) Ltd in which Telecel International Limited had 40% and Empowerment Corporation had 60% shareholding.
According to court papers, Makamba without the authority of the Empowerment board, sold the group’s 20% shareholding to Telecel International in the process changing the ownership ratio in favour of the foreign entity.
“At the allotment of shares, third defendant had a nominal capital of $500 000 (Zim dollars) divided into a million shares at a price of $0,50 cents each. In pursuance, thereof, plaintiff paid $120 000 (Zim dollars) which gave it a total shareholding of 240 000 shares constituting 24% shareholding in Empowerment Corporation,” the High Court heard.
Mlotshwa of Titan Law Chambers, the court heard, at one time acted as Empowerment Corporation’s representative on the Telecel board before he swooped on the third defendant’s 40% shareholding albeit “without a board resolution to that effect to facilitate the signing of the government offer, but despite a conflict of interest situation he is said to have purchased the entire shareholding of Empowerment Corporation (Pvt) Limited”.