Loan shark' liquidates government assets

HARARE - Controversial tycoon Jayesh Shah has been granted permission in the High Court to attach government property over a $120 000-plus debt.

The reclusive and controversial Asian magnet, who frequently bails out the Zimbabwean government and several other private entities, was granted approval to attach property from the state-run stationery provider Kingstons Limited over an $83 000 debt and a further $43 000 advanced to the firm, including a monthly seven percent interest on a 2009 loan.

A High Court Judge Justice Nicholas Mathonsi issued the order in favour of Shah’s Dubai-based Al Shams Global Hardware & Supplies (Al Shams).

“The following property be and is hereby declared specially executable…in the district of Salisbury (Harare) stand number 175 Salisbury Township measuring 595 square-metres held under Deed of Transfer No. 3515/1951 dated 26th September 1951,” Justice Mathonsi’s October 24 order reads.

“The defendant shall pay the costs of suit.”

In September Justice Mathonsi ordered Kingstons to satisfy Shah’s claim immediately, but the state firm failed to pay, leading to the latest order which could liquidate the government firm.

In the summons for a provisional sentence, Shah, who is represented by Advocate Lewis Uriri, asked the High Court to order Kingstons to honour their two contracts.

The attachment might cause immediate operational troubles for Kingstons as the High Court order would impose a ban on transactions by Kingston properties.

Shah’s Dubai-based Al Shams Global Hardware & Supplies (Al Shams) is among a slew of creditors that have taken legal action against the bankrupt government over debt.

Despite frequently bailing out the Zimbabwean government and several other private entities, Shah has not only burnt his fingers, but has also been branded a “loan shark” by certain sections of the country’s executive branch.

And in a country and market reeling from acute liquidity shortages, the Indian tycoon has emerged as a lender-of-last-resort and many companies, including banks, are beholden to him for their survival.

Considered a billionaire, Shah is linked to a number of continental and global businesses, including Al Shams, Iris Trading & Investment Limited (Iris) and Zimbabwean-based Gift Investments (GI). - Tendai Kamhungira and Gift Phiri

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