Remo contests licence cancellation

HARARE - Remo Investment Brokers (Private) Limited (Remo) has taken its licence-cancellation war to the Supreme Court on the grounds that the Securities Commission of Zimbabwe (SecZim)’s actions were disputable on three key grounds.

This comes as the High Court has upheld a June 2012 decision to annul the company’s operating licence on the basis that Mohamed Mahmed’s firm had allegedly borrowed funds from Interfin Securities (IS), yet the appellant says the money was procured from Interfin Banking Corporation Limited.

Represented by advocate Firoz Girach and its directors, Remo’s main contention to the lower courts’ decision was that SecZim’s actions were premature, that it had been denied an opportunity to present its case and the regulator kept changing its charges.

While the firm was accused of securing and lending money to third parties — in breach of the Securities Act — it also emerged out of court proceedings that Proctor & Associates had spent a “mere three hours” at Remo, yet it had camped at Interfin for nine days.

In this regard, Girach and company are arguing the whole process was fatally-flawed from both an evidence assessment and procedural points of view.

Crucially, they argue that Remo’s operating licence was cancelled way ahead of a 30-day window or period for appeals to be made and SecZim had further brushed aside material issues presented by the defence then, thus raising suspicions that Tinashe Chinamo’s institution had pre-judged the case.

In his outline, Girach pointed to the court how — on numerous occasions — the Harare-based regulator had allegedly “revised the charges to suit its own purposes” and whenever his client had successfully rebutted SecZim’s charges.

With the investment firm also accused of using clients’ shares as security to make the Interfin borrowings, the charges were later amended to that of “failing to keep a nominees’ register”, the seasoned lawman argued.

Even, though, the full register was handed to SecZim and filed in the High Court, Girach says it was, therefore, surprising that the guilty verdict could not be overturned.

While the raging saga emerged after Mahmed’s company had reported IS to the stock exchange for not returning millions worth of its sureties, the firm inexplicably found itself as the accused.

 “The cancellation was improper and should be set aside. The basis of the charge is incorrect and the finding of the learned court ac quo is incorrect,” Girach said, adding the sentence was also unwarranted and harsh. - Tendai Kamhungira

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