HARARE,– Meikles Limited says it will engage government over its recent suspension by the Zimbabwe Stock Exchange and questioned the integrity of the regulator for raising concerns on its investments and governance issues through the media last week.

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Meikles to engage govt on suspension, questions integrity of SECZ

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The Zimbabwe Stock Exchange (ZSE) on February 20 suspended Meikles Limited from trading on the bourse over allegations of overstating the debt it is owed by the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe with the intention of manipulating its price. The ZSE lifted the suspension three days later after Meikles objected to the move on procedural grounds.

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According to information before Parliament, the Meikles debt stood at $25 million in 1998 but shot up to $47 million at the end of 2013 after inclusion of interest, while Meikles insists the group is owed $90 million.

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Last Friday the Securities and Exchange Commission of Zimbabwe (SECZ) in a statement published in the press said it would engage ZSE to establish the manner in which the suspension was handled but expressed a long list of  concerns about the group’s financial reporting irregularities and corporate governance which it sought explanation on.

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However, Meikles on Monday claimed its suspension was in violation of the law and that it had not been given time to respond to issues raised by SECZ before taking it took to the press.

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“This was done before Meikles had been accorded the opportunity to respond to the numerous questions that were raised therein. This is of major concern to Meikles,” the group chairman, John Moxon said in a statement.

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Moxon took a swipe at SECZ and its allegations on lack of transparency relating to Meikles investment in Mentor Africa Limited.

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“The tone of the letter is one that suggests that the SEC have reached the conclusion that indeed Meikles committed offences whose extend the SEC now only seeks to establish,” read the statement.

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Moxon further questioned the “propriety” of what he called “trial by public media” instituted by SECZ which he said would be interpreted by the public as a smear campaign before the group could present its side of the story.

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He said  the manner in which the issue was handled would impact negatively on investment in the country.

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“To that end Meikles will be seeking the government’s intervention as it is of the view that the illegal suspension of the trading of Meikles’ shares by the ZSE with the approval of the SEC and the manner in which the SEC has dealt with the Meikles’ issues, as referred to above, have a detrimental effect on Zimbabwe’s ability to attract the much needed investment in the country,” he said.

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Recently, the group announced that it had put on hold its plans to expand its businesses and to bring in foreign investment.

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SECZ is seeking explanation on Meikles investment in the South African company, Mentor Africa Limited, lack of accuracy on its debt and failure to disclose recent movements of executive directors and the proposed $5,1 million dividend for the full year to March last year. – The Source