War vets mull suing Makamba

WAR veterans are up in arms with exiled businessman James Makamba and are demanding shares they believe he swindled from them in mobile operator Telecel Zimbabwe in 2000.

Report by Herbert Moyo

Documents seen by the Zimbabwe Independent this week show that a war veterans’ company Magamba eChimurenga Housing Scheme is contemplating legal action against Makamba for allegedly fraudulently acquiring its shares in Telecel Zimbabwe on behalf of Telecel International.

Makamba is the former chairperson of Empowerment Corporation (Pvt) Limited which owns Telecel Zimbabwe in partnership with Telecel International.

According to the documents, Telecel International owns 60% of the local mobile operator, while Empowerment Corporation has 40% — which is not in line with Zimbabwe’s controversial indigenisation law which stipulates that locals must own at least 51% of companies operating in Zimbabwe.

The war veterans want, among other things, 20% of Empowerment Corporation which was acquired by Telecel International through Makamba and a further 30% of Empowerment Corporation’s Telecel Zimbabwe shares which Makamba allegedly “gave himself without due process of business law”.

“For any movement of shares to occur legally, it should be by way of resolution by the board of directors,” wrote Andrew Ndlovu of Magamba eChimurenga in a letter to Makamba.

“It is illegal and fraudulent to consider that Makamba could have used the (Empowerment) Corporation to get Telecel Zimbabwe licence and thereafter dump all stakeholders thereby robbing them of their shares and goodwill,” said Ndlovu.

Magamba eChimurenga was formed in 1998 by the late Chenjerai Hunzvi, who was chairperson of the Zimbabwe National Liberation War Veterans Association (ZNLWA), along with Anna Paradza and Andrew Ndlovu. Of the three directors, Ndlovu is the sole survivor and has since assumed the position of chief executive officer.

Magamba eChimurenga is part of various groups that came together under the banner of the Empowerment Corporation, including Indigenous Business Women Organisation, led by Jane Mutasa, and Mines of Zimbabwe Association led by one Munyoro, as part of government initiatives to uplift the indigenous people.

Cellphone Investments also led by Mutasa and Kestrel led by Makamba are listed as the other members of the Empowerment Corporation.

Ndlovu said his company has previously raised its concerns with Makamba in letters dated November 6 2000 and February 6 2000 after they discovered that Makamba had manipulated his accountant identified only as V Ndlovu to twist systems and undervalue shares to favour Makamba over other stakeholders.

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