Conrad Mwanashe and Rumbidzayi Zinyuke
Tetrad Holdings creditors and investors want provisional judicial manager Mr Winsley Militala sacked for “prematurely” pushing for the bank’s liquidation while refusing to give potential investors audience to present their offers. Creditors who attended a meeting yesterday rejected Mr Militala’s report, which was pushing for liquidation, questioning his motives with representatives of the investors Horizon Capital saying that Mr Militala had a pre-meditated position to liquidate the bank.
One creditor moved a vote-of-no-confidence on Mr Militala saying he was a bad apple in the basket.
“I believe we should take the rotten apple out. So I am calling for a vote-of-no-confidence against the judicial management and if I have the support here today, I would like your permission to carry it forward.
“We would like him removed and a more competent person put in there so that we can try and resolve our problems,” said a concerned creditor.
“We have a major problem on our hands, and I don’t believe we are tackling it, and that is of the judicial management. If you look at our potential investors, he is complaining about it, the ex-chief executive officer or fired chief executive officer, he is complaining about it and Farm a Rama is complaining about it.
“At the end of the day I listened very carefully when this gentleman (Mr Militala) made his opening remarks first of all, he told me how important he was, secondly, he told me that he can’t be fired,” the creditor said.
“But Master (of High Court) I beg to differ. I think us — sitting here if we see that our business is going wrong and we believe that there is one rotten apple amongst us and we can resolve it, then I believe we must empty that basket. And this is quite serious. But we are not concentrating on our biggest problem.
“And again I listened to the (provisional) judicial manager when he said he is running the bank with his five staff because he suspended everybody else. How in God’s name are we ever going to get to the bottom of this? He thinks he knows everything if people don’t agree with him, he threatens to suspend them,” he said.
The creditors said that Mr Militala was sacked as judicial manager of David Whitehead following the same efforts to have the company liquidated when there were potential investors willing to resuscitate the ailing entity.
Mr Knowledge Hofisi of Aurifin Capital was then appointed the final judicial manager after shareholders and creditors rejected Militala’s attempt to liquidate the company. David Whitehead has since resumed operations.
“I believe the same gentleman was involved at David Whitehead. He went through the same steps and tried to liquidate David Whitehead until the people fired him. David Whitehead is going again now.
“It really worries me and I honestly ask my fellow depositors here to think about the major problems that we have here. We are not going to resolve anything. You cannot ask that the future or hopefully the purchaser of this bank to take the leading reigns and take us to the feeding troughs?”
The Master of the High Court Mr Edward Mutasa however, said the meeting had no jurisdiction to discuss the position of the judicial manager but that he would take note of the creditors’ concern.
“We will record all you are saying but what is critical is for creditors to take a position on whether they want the company placed into final judicial management and then from there, there will be another opportunity to appoint a new somebody because the provisional judicial manager would have run his course. So to debate it at this stage is beyond our jurisdiction but we will put it on record that there were such sentiments in this meeting,” Mr Mutasa said.
Dr Munyaradzi Kereke who represented the investors, Horizon Capital said the process of provisional judicial management came about as a mutually agreed point between the investor and the shareholders to ring fence the bank’s assets while the negotiation processes proceeded.
He said the provisional judicial manager was appointed to be caretaker of the assets and to protect the interests of the creditors, preserve the interests of the bank with the primary objective of getting the transaction to sail through.
“It (liquidation) is clearly at variance with the general objective of restoring value to depositors, restoring value to creditors and preserving the importance of the financial system in our economy.
“As investors, we had hoped that this meeting would restore the damage that was done in the first report that was issued. When the first report was issued, at no point were we consulted as investors by the provisional judicial manager (PJM).
“On the eve of the first meeting which was then cancelled, we had to go to the bank to seek audience with the PJM to say we would want you to look at the broad framework in which the transaction is being implemented. We were met very scantily. We showed the PJM documentation from different levels of Government proving beyond reasonable doubt that this was a credible transaction, that the transaction was being considered at various levels in Government. We were surprised that those letters featured nowhere in the PJM’s report,” said Dr Kereke.
Mr Militala said communication with creditors, shareholders and investors could be improved.
“Our meetings with the management, despite agreement that we should be meeting more often, due to other pressures we have not been meeting with them and I am sure that can be improved,” he said.
He confirmed that he had never met the Horizon Capital representatives.