HomeNewsFight over Waverly Blankets empire rages on

Fight over Waverly Blankets empire rages on

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BY DESMOND CHINGARANDE

High Court judge Justice Maria Zumba-Dube yesterday reserved judgment in a case in which the children of the late Waverly Blanket founder, Victor Cohen, are challenging the alleged fraudulent transfer of the empire by a family relative.

Cohen died in South Africa two years ago while seeking treatment and left a vast business empire that also includes Waverly Plastics, which is at the centre of a dispute.

Daughters of the prominent industrialist, Amanda Berkowitz and Belynda Halfon, are accusing their nephew, Aron Vico, of fraudulently grabbing their father’s empire after manufacturing fake documents which he presented to the Registrar of Companies to change ownership of the company.

After taking over Waverly Blankets, Vico is reportedly in the process of taking over a sister company, Waverly Plastics, where the sisters have shares.

The sisters, who were represented by Zwelibanzi Lunga, approached the court to set aside the irregular issuance of allotment of 400 shares that gave Vico power to take over Waverly Plastics.

In their submission to the court, Lunga said Vico, with the help of an accounting firm AA Omar and one Maxwell Maheya, connived and fraudulently manufactured documents which he used in the allotment of 400 shares to Waverly Plastics without the company resolution or knowledge of shareholders.

“We are challenging the allotment of 400 shares which was effected without the resolution of the directors and that issuance of allotment is unlawful. The court cannot allow that issue of allotment to stand,” Lunga said.

The lawyer said the directors and shareholders of Waverly Plastics never authorised or approved the allotment or transfer of shares. He said Vico himself signed the allotment return, but was not a director of the company, which made the return irregular and null and void.

He said Berkowitz and Halfon have the right as the shareholders to participate in the issuance of allotment, but were not consulted.

Lunga further said from the submitted facts, the court would see that the whole essence of the application was to bless a fraud, a theft of assets and an unlawful takeover of a company by Vico and to turn the court into a conduit to perpetuate an illegality.

But Vico’s lawyer, Hubert Mutasa, argued that Berkowitz and Halfon had no locus standi in the matter. He said there was a material dispute in the matter and the application to set aside the allotment must be dismissed or set for trial.

Vico’s lawyer produced Maheya’s supporting affidavit, saying he was given instructions by the late Cohen to allot shares to members of his family.

But Berkowitz and Halfon challenged the affidavit, saying Maheya was a fraudster and not known to any members of the family.

Justice Zumba-Dube said she would advise both parties when she is through with her assessment.

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