HARARE – In a new twist to the Meikles Limited (Meikles) and Zimbabwe Stock Exchange (ZSE) wrangle, the hospitality group has sued the Alban Chirume-led bourse for $50 million in “delictual damages for patrimonial loss” arising from the $90 million-debt debacle.

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chirume

Alban Chirume

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This comes after the company had given the ZSE a 24-hour ultimatum to withdraw a notice which “warned investors to take caution in trading the conglomerate’s securities” and executive chairman John Moxon’s damning remarks that there were “elements” out to damage his century-old institution.

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Moxon’s group — involved in hospitality, retail and recently mining — was suspended from the ZSE over concerns that it inflated the RBZ debt, but the suspension was lifted a week later after the group successfully challenged the action in the High Court.

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Seemingly riled by Chirume’s actions, Meikles — through its attorneys Mutamangira and Associates — yesterday slapped him and the bourse with a $50 million lawsuit, giving them 10 days to challenge in the High Court.

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In the papers, citing the ZSE as first respondent and Chirume second, Meikles threatened that if the two don’t “enter an appearance to defend”, its claim will be “heard and dealt with by the High Court without further notice…”

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Moxon, who on Wednesday said Moxon said “there are now too many bees around swarming the Meikles honeypot… some of them have negative agendas which in the end will not only damage Meikles…”, insists that the RBZ debt, including accrued interest, was agreed with central bank officials.

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Meikles lawyers have argued that Chirume — who now faces investigation by the Securities Commission of Zimbabwe over handling of the matter — did not engage it prior to the suspension and publication of the notice warning shareholders.

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“The ZSE therefore… did not have the benefit of our client’s (Meikles) views and comments in relation to the matter,” said Mutamangira & Associates, adding that “consequently, unilateral views held by the ZSE cannot be the basis upon which any cautionary statement may be issued relating to the trading of our clients listed securities”.

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In any case, the law firm said cautionary statements relating to securities are issued by the issuer of the securities, ordinarily with the approval of the ZSE and not the other way around.

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“The motivation behind the issuing of a cautionary statement in respect of our client clearly seems to be actuated by the fact that you already have pre-determined this issue against our client, a fact sufficient to disqualify you from handling this matter any further.