Chanakira and Zanu PF looting Meikles assets

HARARE – The embattled businessman Nigel Chanakira has finally succeeded in assisting Zanu PF loot assets of four companies linked to the Meikles family and under trumped up charges of externalisation of foreign currency.

According to an Extraordinary Government Gazette published last Friday, and which was not debated in cabinet, and led by Justice Minister Patrick Chinamasa and Defence Minister Emmerson Mnangagwa, listed Kingdom Meikles, Tanganda Tea Company (Private) Limited, Thomas Meikles Centre (Private) Limited and Murlis Investments (Private) Limited were listed as specified companies.

Kingdom Meikles managing director Mr Andrew Lane-Mitchell was also specified in his personal capacity in terms of Section 6 of the Prevention of Corruption Act.

Home Affairs Ministers Kembo Mohadi appointed Messrs Budhama Chikamhi and Cleopas Mukungunugwa as investigators of Mr Mitchell and the specified companies in a case reminiscent to Mutumwa Mawere and other prominent businessmen who have suffered at the hands of  .

The appointments were made in terms of Section 7 of the Act.

The Meikles family — led by Mr John Moxon — is the majority shareholder of Kingdom Meikles.

However, Meikles family lawyer Mr Sternford Moyo of Scanlen and Holderness yesterday said the specification was "unlawful, null and void". Mr Moyo said in terms of Statutory Instrument 128 of 2006, the administration of the Prevention of Corruption Act was assigned to the Minister of State for State Enterprises, Anti-Corruption and Anti-Monopolies.

"Although that ministry is now defunct, the statutory instrument has not yet been repealed, therefore, the joint Ministers of Home Affairs are not the minister referred to in the statute," said Mr Moyo.

Analysts described the latest twist in KMAL dispute as an unfortunate development as it is bound to shake the foundation of what they had seen as "the first real test for Zimbabwe’s black economic empowerment crusade".

ZANU PF propelled businessman KFH Ltd boss Nigel Chanakira is at the centre of the whole plot to loot Meikels empire.

Chanakira has always maintained his innocence about John Moxon’s specification but many in business circles believe he is working with Patrick Chinamasa and Defence Minister Emmerson Mnangagwa.

Chanakira has struggled to get support from the Reserve Bank as a result of bad blood between his auncle, former Finance Minister, Hebert Murerwa and the Reserve Bank Governor Gideon Gono, but Gono appears losing the battle as Chinamasa and Mnangagwa get the better of Robert Mugabe. Lately, the Kingdom boss has been recieving adverse coverage in Gono’s weekly newspaper The Financial Gazett.

The banker owes his business success to his auncle, Hebert Murerwa who used his position as Finance Minister to get unfattered access into cash-rich NSSA funds and information on government bonds to form his bank, Kingdom Bank Ltd.

The underfire, former darling of the Zimbabwean black entrepreneurship is now roundly accused in business circles for using Zanu PF to settle boardroom power struggles through the use of police thugs and abusing the specification laws on business rivals to appease his handlers.

The speitful demunitive banker has since fallen-out with his longtime friend Strive Masiyiwa whose company EWHL is the largest institutional investor driving the KMAL De-Merger.

On the day of approval of the de-merger Econet chairman, Mr Tawanda Nyambirai speaking on behalf of the requisitionist (Econet) blasted Nigel Chanakira and said the use of the specification as a mechanism of settling disputes between private individuals was immoral. Nigel Chanakira initiated the specification of John Moxon.

He pointed out that the Companies Act itself has provisions that allow for the investigation of a company where inappropriate conduct is alleged.

Mr Nyambirai added that Econet had taken a practical resolution to the dispute, hence the requisition he made.

Responding to a decision by the KMAL Group to convene an extraordinary general meeting to remove him from its board and subsidiary companies, Chanakira said KMAL had ignored to mention in its notice that there were some agreements its directors had to sign before the demerger could be completed.

Last night Market analysts said Chanakira is playing games of the Zanu PF dark world. Some say his Bank, Kingdom is now geared, with the assistance of Zanu PF, to take partnership with South African giant retail group Shoprite when they take-over OK Stores and the latest stategy is to destabilise the country’s biggest retail chain TM stores for the benefit of Shoprite. 

In a dramatic u-turn coinciding with the latest Zanu PF sponsored specification Meikles family, Chanakira said he had not refused to resign, pointing to some unspecified "outstanding corporate governance and administrative processes" to be followed before Kingdom Financial Holdings and Kingdom Meikles Africa were demerged and re-listed separately on the Zimbabwe Stock Exchange.

"For example, we have to agree on the valuations of the two companies and this is important to protect the interests of shareholders of both companies," said Mr Chanakira.

The KFHL boss said KMA had persistently refused to discuss valuation of the two entities prior to the complete demerger that would have paved way for their re-listing "which we are saying is not correct".

"Naturally they have a responsibility to their shareholders and we respect their intention to hold an EGM. We too have the interests of our shareholders to consider and we reserve our options because our aim in this process is to also ensure that we protect shareholders," said Mr Chanakira.

KMA called for an EGM seeking the removal of Mr Chanakira and two other directors Mr Callisto Jokonya and Ms Sibusisiwe Bango, accusing them of refusing to relinquish their positions as agreed at an EGM held last June.

An extra ordinary general meeting to approve the demerger between the former Meikles Africa Limited and Kingdom Financial Holdings had agreed that Messrs Chanakira, Jokonya and Bango would step down from the KMA board.