Tetrad employees suspended

HARARE - Panic has gripped over 108 Tetrad Investment Bank (Tetrad) employees after the financial institution’s judicial manager, Winsley Militala of Petwin Executor and Trust Co, suspended their contracts on Monday.

The troubled bank was placed under provisional judicial management last month after failed recapitalisation efforts.

The institution — part of the Tetrad Holdings Limited group, which comprises an asset management company and a micro-lending unit — had a negative capital of nearly $20 million as at December 31, 2014.

Distressed workers told businessdaily that Militala advised them to seek recourse from the High Court.

“He told us that the bank was not financially stable and therefore had no choice but to let us go,” said a worker who preferred anonymity, adding that Militala “only chose less than 20 people to assist him with writing a report that he will submit to the High Court, but the majority of us had our contracts suspended”.

The workers claim they were last paid in August 2014.

“He said we can claim our monies from the High Court like everyone else.”

However, Militala was unavailable for comment as his office said he was away the whole of yesterday.

In November last year, the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ) suspended Tetrad from taking deposits and issuing loans until completion of its recapitalisation exercise.

A few months earlier, Tetrad’s creditors agreed to defer claims until October 31 to allow implementation of the recapitalisation process.

The creditors further agreed to a January 31, 2015 deadline to allow Russian investor, Horizon Capital, to finalise acquisition of a controlling stake in the bank. Before the scheme meeting, creditors had obtained writs of execution to attach the bank’s assets.

However, the bank had since filed an application for consideration to be placed under judicial management at the Bulawayo High Court following the continued financial crisis it faced.

In a ruling made on January 29, 2015, Bulawayo High Court judge Justice Martin Makonese indicated that Tetrad should be placed under judicial management for an indefinite period.

“Subject to the supervision of this court, the applicant (Tetrad) shall be under the management of judicial manager appointed in terms of Section 302 of the Companies Act Chapter 24:03,” Makonese ruled.

“From the date of that appointment and upon completion of the bond of security the judicial manager shall forthwith take over the management of the applicant’s affairs and shall prepare and submit reports in accordance with Sections 303 of the Act.”

He ordered that the judicial manager would have powers set out in paragraphs (a) to (c) of Section 303 of the Companies Act Chapter 24:03 and without the consent of the directors could raise money on the security of the applicant (Tetrad)’s assets.

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