Mamvura, Chawoneka exit CFI Holdings

HARARE – One of Zimbabwe’s top marketers, Douglas Mamvura and renowned banker Ephraim Chawoneka, have resigned from controversy-prone CFI Holdings Limited saying the environment at the Zimbabwe Stock Exchange (ZSE) listed concern was such that staying would have created needless reputational risk for them.

Mamvura and Chawoneka were on the CFI board representing Stalap, which owns 41 percent of the group. They resigned from the board on Tuesday night ahead the agro-industrial group’s extraordinary general meeting (EGM) called to dismiss them.

Chawoneka and Mamvura, who were appointed to the board in May, were facing an axe for allegedly delaying and refusing to activate the process to cancel the Langford Estate transaction, which Van Hoogstraten’s Messina Investments, a major rival shareholder to Stalap, argues was illegal.

The saga has already claimed the scalps of acting chairperson Grace Muradzikwa and acting chief executive Timothy Nyika who quit last month.

Non-executive director Shingirayi Zinyemba told shareholders at the EGM that the two directors sent their resignation letters a night before the EGM.

“Shareholders have anticipated and welcomed the resignation of the acting chairperson and the acting chief executive officer. Today’s proposed EGM was to fire the remaining Nssa/Zimre related board members Ephraim Chawoneka and Douglas Mamvura who were asked to resign from their positions by the shareholders. These two conflicted directors sent in their resignation letters last night,” Zinyemba said.

“We will continue to pursue legal action on the fraudulent activities that destroy shareholder value. Next week’s proposed EGM to remove Hamish Rudland from the board will carry the same fate, and we will make necessary announcements on a new board and qualified management team in the near future.”

Messina, which claims the support of 52 percent of shareholders, is seeking the removal from the CFI board of Hamish Rudland and Shingirai Chibanguza at another EGM set for December 13.

Hamish and his brother Simon hold a controlling 40 percent in Zimre Holdings, while Chibanguza is the managing director of Farm&City, a CFI subsidiary.

Messina Investments, in concert with other parties, holds 42 percent in CFI, making it the largest shareholder while Stalap owns 41 percent.

Analysts, however, question the import of the arguments against Mamvura and Chawoneka, who joined the CFI board nearly two years after the Langford deal was signed.

They say this could be a payback after Nssa orchestrated the dismissal of three Rainbow Tourism Group (RTG) directors who were nominated by van Hoogstraten soon after it raised its stake in the hotel group to 60 percent.

The three directors, Thandiwe Mlobane, Shingirai Chibanguza and Ian Haruperi were kicked out of RTG in October.