Meikles contests sale of its properties

LISTED conglomerate Meikles Limited has challenged the sale of its shareholding in its subsidiaries Meikles Hospitality and Tanganda Tea Company in a High Court-sanctioned auction conducted on Christmas Eve.

BY STAFF REPORTER

The auction was conducted to settle a $1,5 million debt owed to a local consultancy firm Widefree Investments (Core Solutions).

Meikles Hospitality has interests in Meikles Hotel as well as its building, the Victoria Falls Hotel, and shareholding in Mentor Africa Limited, a company which owns The Cape Grace Hotel in South Africa.

Tanganda owns vast tea estates in the eastern highlands.

Independent estimates value the companies at between $58 million and $60 million.

LM Auctioneers conducted the sale and Murray Lynton-Edwards was declared the highest bidder, purchasing both properties for approximately $2,7 million.

In court papers seen by NewsDay, company secretary Thabani Mpofu argues that the sale was improperly conducted and that the property was sold for an unreasonably low price.

He also contends that the property was sold for more than the amount required to satisfy the debt, and that the property was not valuated prior to the
sale.

“It is interesting to point out at this stage that if one is to read between the lines, the intention of the auctioneers and the first respondent was to conduct a public auction as if it was a private treaty, as the creditors’ own people were to bid for the shares had it not been for the presence of the second respondent,” the challenge reads.

“This was clearly an attempt at fraudulently disposing the shares and changing the shareholding as aforementioned. This was clearly an attempt at committing a criminal offence, something which the applicant shall follow up with the Zimbabwe Republic Police Fraud Squad for the charge of attempted fraud in terms of the Criminal Law (Codification and Reform) Act.”