Brainworks says it has done no wrong

HARARE - Financial advisory firm Brainworks Capital Management (Brainworks) has strenuously denied doing any wrong in the ongoing controversy around the country's indigenisation and empowerment programme, threatening to unleash a $50 million lawsuit against the Daily News for its reportage of the issue.

Through its lawyers' Titan Law Chambers (Titan), Brainworks said “the articles (by the Daily News) are defamatory of our client in the extreme and are intentionally designed to inflict, as is clearly evident from the assertions contained therein, the greatest possible reputational damage on Brainworks Capital, and it must be said, by extension, its directors”.

While the  Daily News reported that Brainworks was verbally awarded advisory contracts without going to tender – which was confirmed by the State Procurement Board – Titan argues that “it is not explained how Zimplats, a public listed company responsible for the payment of the advisory fees, is suddenly subject to the tender laws of Zimbabwe”.

Stanley Gama, the Associated Newspapers of Zimbabwe’s group editor, last night said he welcomed Brainworks' insights and its own version of the issue, although the Daily News stood by its stories.

“We appreciate the extent to which Brainworks has gone to explain its side of the story and its understanding of the matter, but our stories on the matter are based on official documents that we have in our possession, as well as an intense investigation that our experienced team of journalists has conducted.

“We have an obligation as the Daily News to write about matters of immense public interest such as this one - particularly at this point in our history as a nation. To that extent, we will defend the matter if it goes to court," Gama said.

In their letter to the Daily News yesterday, Bainworks lawyers added: “Critically and obviously omitted is the fact that our client signed a mandate letter with the National Indigenisation and Economic Empowerment Board on 8th June, 2012, dealing with, inter alia, the Zimplats transaction. There is nothing ‘verbal’ about a signed mandate, and as stated above, there was, and is, absolutely no obligation that such a mandate be subject to the tender process”.

Titan also denies that Brainworks is scheduled to pocket a significant amount of money in the deals.

The law firm further argues that there is “no such clause, giving jurisdiction to the British courts" in the term sheet signed between the Zimplats, government and Nieef.

*In the interest of editorial fairness and equity, we will tomorrow publish the letter from Brainworks' lawyers in full and unedited.
- Staff Writer

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