Vingirai demands $2,7m from ZB

HARARE - Businessman Nicholas Vingirai has demanded $2,7 million from ZB Financial Holdings (ZBFH) in accruing dividends for the past 11 years.

In a letter written to ZBFH company secretary Charles Kathemba, Vingirai — who was ousted from the financial services group’s board at a tension-filled annual general meeting on Friday — said his investment firm Transnational Holdings Limited (THL) was being prejudiced by the listed group.

“ZBFH has caused Intermarket Holdings Limited (IHL) (where THL has a 16 percent stake) or its subsidiaries to pay excessive and baseless remuneration which payments we contend are, in fact, de facto dividends exclusively paid to ZBFH,” he said in the May 10 missive.

“The de facto dividends paid over the years amount to about $13,4 million of which THL’s share should have been about $2,55 million, subject to verification,” Vingirai added.

This was after the veteran banker was last year given a 19,7 percent shareholding in ZBFH by the government as compensation for the loss of IHL more than a decade ago.

Vingirai’s IHL was bought by ZBFH, with the transaction concluded in 2006. This was after the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe had bailed out IHL’s subsidiaries and later converted the debt into equity under a High Court scheme of arrangement.

The banker was alleged to have fled the country, with the central bank accusing him of externalisation at the height of former central bank chief, Gideon Gono’s crusade to weed the sector of “errant bankers”

Since then, Vingirai had been fighting to reclaim his lost assets. His battle to reclaim the shares intensified after externalisation charges against him were lifted in 2013, bringing to an end one of the longest corporate fights since independence.

Vingirai said ZBFH has caused IHL to pay dividends at the exclusion of THL. He added that his company should have been paid $168 332 out of the total $883 743 paid to the financial services group between 2012 and 2016.

“ZBFH has over the years diverted business from ZB Building Society to ZB bank thereby prejudicing IHL minority shareholders of potential dividends. In the same manner ZBFH also diverted business from Intermarket Banking Corporation Limited with the same prejudicing effect.

“The payments and business unfairly extracted by ZBFH from IHL or its subsidiaries have had the net effect of systematically decimating IHL while at the same time starving THL of dividends,” he added.

Meanwhile, Vingirai’s return to the Zimbabwean banking industry was cut short by shareholders who voted him out of the ZBFH board.

On the day, the banker was also ordered to pay back the $$658 699 dividend that was paid to his investment firm by ZBFH last year.

This was after the National Social Security Authority (Nssa), the majority shareholder in ZBFH with a 37,79 percent stake, had argued that the company erred in paying the dividend to THL after it had already paid the dividend to government.

To compound his woes, Vingirai’s plans to increase his shareholding in ZBFH to 26 percent — as per initial agreement with government — also hit a brickwall after it was rejected by shareholders.

Post a comment

Readers are kindly requested to refrain from using abusive, vulgar, racist, tribalistic, sexist, discriminatory and hurtful language when posting their comments on the Daily News website.
Those who transgress this civilised etiquette will be barred from contributing to our online discussions.
- Editor

Your email address will not be shared.