TWO Harare businessmen Singathini Raymond Chigogwana and Senziwani Sikhosana, who were entrepreneurial partners until recently, are at each other’s throats over residential properties which are part of a real estate development in the capital valued US$3.9 million.
Sikhosana, Bard Santner Markets Inc chief executive, has taken Chigogwana, outgoing Access Finance boss, to court demanding three townhouses worth US$320 000 which are part a shares purchase deal agreed last year after months of a nasty shareholding fight between the two erstwhile friends.
The former Access Finance business partners, who have had a bruising battle over shareholding and attendant unfulfilled promises, are at loggerheads over a real estate development—No. 36 Mountbatten Complex in Marlborough, Harare—which has 37 townhouse units valued US$3.9 million.
Three of those properties are subject to the court action.
In his High Court application filed yesterday, Sikhosana is demanding that Chigogwana should transfer his properties within 14 days or US$320 000 in cash, failure to which he is threatening to attach his own properties.
He also wants his former colleague to pay all the taxes, imposts and costs of the property transfer.
Chigogwana and Sikhosana were business partners running several companies—Access Forex (Pvt) Ltd, Access Finance (Pvt) Ltd, Tara Capital (Pvt) Ltd, Thirty-Six Mountbatten (Pvt) Ltd as well as Access Forex SA (Pty) Ltd—until a nasty fight broke out over shareholding last year, leading to the court action.
The battle over the companies’ equity and properties has left the business on the brink of implosion after the two key shareholders exited the business in two separate deals during the row.
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Sikhosana left last year and Chigogwana this week.
The applicants in the High Court case – HC1007/23 – over properties are Sikhosana and his entities Ferden Investments, Rock Drill Mining and Seanmart Investments, while the respondents are Chigogwana, Bwerinofa, Thirty-Six Mountbatten, Access Finance, Access Forex, Tara Capital, The Sheriff of the High Court and the Registrar of Deeds and Companies.
Sikhosana wants Chigogwana to transfer the properties which were part of their bitter split settlement to him in real estate or cash form. If that is not done, he wants the court to issue an order to attach of his former partner’s assets to settle the remaining part of the deal.
He also wants his erstwhile colleague to pay all transfer taxes, imposts and costs associated with the deal.
Chigogwana owned 54% shareholding, Sikhosana 20% and their chairman Isau Bwerinofa 26%.
In his court papers, Sikhosana wants the court to declare:
“The court application to compel transfer of the immoveable property known as Units number 19, 8 and 22 in certain piece of land situate in the District of Salisbury called Lot 88 Marlborough Township of Marlborough measuring 1.1525 hectares, held under deed of transfer No. 3816/2027 dated 27th September 2017 be and is hereby granted.
“The 1st, 2nd and 3rd respondents (Chigogwana, Bwerinofa and 36 Mountbatten respectively) be and are hereby ordered to sign all transfer papers, make all appearances, pay all tax obligations and related imposts as may be necessary to effect transfer of transfer Units number 19, 8 and 22 in certain piece of land situate in the District of Salisbury called Lot 88 Marlborough Township of Marlborough measuring 1.1525 hectares, held under deed of transfer No. 3816/2027 dated 27th September 2017 to the 2nd, 3rd and 4th applicants (Ferden, Rock Drill and Seanmart) respectively within 14 days of the granting of this order.
“In the event that 1st, 2nd and 3rd respondents fail or refuse to transfer the housing units as ordered in (1) above, then in that event 4th respondent be and is hereby authorised to sign and execute all papers, attach and sale in execution such property of the 1st, 2nd and 3rd respondents as is sufficient to pay for all and any lawful taxes, imposts and costs as are conventionally payable by a transferor and do all such things as are necessary to pass transfer of units 19, 8 and 22 to the 2nd, 3rd and 4th applicants respectively and the 5th respondent be and is hereby ordered to effect transfer in his records to give effect to the transfer.
“Alternatively, the 1st, 2nd, 3rd, 4th, 5th and 6th Respondents jointly and severally the one paying the other to be absolved be and are hereby ordered to pay the Applicants the sum of US$320 000.00 (three hundred and twenty thousand American dollars) being the agreed value for Units number 19, 8 and 22 in certain piece of land situate in the District of Salisbury called Lot 88 Marlborough Township of Marlborough measuring 1.1525 hectares, held under deed of transfer No. 3816/2027 dated 27th September 2017.
“In the event that the 1st,2nd, 3rd, 4th 5th and 6th respondents fail or refuse to pay the sum of us$320 000.00 (three hundred and twenty thousand American dollars) in terms of paragraph (4) above, then in that event the 7th Respondent be and is hereby authorised to attach such property of the 1st, 2nd, 3rd, 4th, 5th and 6th respondents and cause to be realised the sum of US$320 000.00 (three hundred and twenty thousand American dollars) and pay over to the Applicants.
“The 1st, 2nd,3rd, 4th, 5th and 6th respondents jointly and severally the one paying the others to be absolved be and are hereby ordered to pay the Applicants’ legal costs at the rate of attorney and client scale in terms of clauses 11.7 of the individual agreements of sale.”
Sikhosana and Chigogwana had businesses that thrived in the financial services sector and remittances market.
However, a shareholding row erupted after Chigogwana reneged on a pre-agreed deal to sell 10% shareholding to Sikhosana. This led to a split.
As part of the resolution process, valuation was done and Sikhosana decided to sell his interests in the related companies for US$1 million.
But another wrangle subsequently erupted over the shareholding price and after months of back and forth talks a settlement was reluctantly agreed to at US$600 000.
The US$600 000 buyout deal included a cash payment of US$280 000 less US$140 000 as an offset transaction over Sikhosana’s debt to the company, with the US$140 000 balance being paid into two installments of US$80 000 and US$60 000 separately.
It was also agreed Sikhosana would get three townhouse units valued US$320 000. These are the properties now subject to court action.
The cash payments were delivered, but the properties and title deeds have not yet been transferred.
During the course of the dirty fight, Chigogwana also sold his shareholding in Access Finance and other entities before Sikhosana got his full payment for his own sale, specifically title deeds for the three townhouse units.
This week it was announced Chigogwana has now quit Access Finance and related entities as chief executive with effect from October 1 and would be replaced by Salim Eceolaza, former Simbisa Brands Limited group finance director, who steered its unbundling from Innscor Africa Limited and oversaw its listing on the Zimbabwe Stock Exchange.
After the shock news of Chigogwana’s divesting and stepping down from Access Finance, Sikhosana rushed to court to demand the outstanding payment, arguing his properties cannot be part of the takeover deal as they are encumbered in the buyout arrangement.