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Bourse demands CFI explanation

Chris Goko

THE Zimbabwe Stock Exchange (ZSE) has demanded an explanation from CFI Holdings (CFI) over the replacement of board members and alleged transfer of ZHL Holdings Ltd’s co

ntrolling stake to under-fire SMM Holdings Ltd (SMM), businessdigest gathered on Tuesday.

Emmanuel Munyukwi, the ZSE chief executive, confirmed having quizzed new CFI chairman Simplisius Chihambakwe over the former ZHL board representatives’ sacking and suspected share certificate tampering.

He said this week: “I can confirm that we have had contact with them. We basically wanted clarification on the issue (of board appointments) and other matters relating to the group.”

Bourse authorities wrote to CFI about three weeks ago and the company has since responded, prompting another round of talks because the ZSE felt the well-diversified agricultural concern had not satisfactorily answered all queries at hand.

No comment was immediately available from Chihambakwe, a Harare lawyer.

The source of contention, businessdigest heard, was how Hillary Munyati and three other presumed representatives of the former majority owner were shoved out without the full knowledge of the offshore scrip owners whose interests were warehoused by ZHL.

Having been voted onto the CFI board in March this year, Munyati’s exit a few months later coincided with skirmishes between SMM owner Mutumwa Mawere and the government over charges that he did not repatriate $300 billion worth of foreign cash from asbestos sales.

Munyati, a financial guru now employed by the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe, is a former group chief and chairman of SMM. He also served in various capacities in the SMM group of companies which include listed Turnall Holdings.

When he assumed chairmanship of CFI, he was appointed alongside Chihambakwe, but the latter has escaped the chop.

The government has since placed SMM in the tight grip of administrator Afaras Gwaradzimba thus further complicating the CFI ownership and operational structure.

CFI has interests in the animal and foods manufacturing, farming and fertiliser, poultry breeding and sales, property, retail and veterinary services.

It owns and operates Agrifoods, Agrimix, Crest Breeders, grain millers Victoria Foods, Dore & Pitt, Farm & City stores, Maitlands through Endurite Properties, Town & Country supermarket chain and Vetco.

The group, hurtling towards collapse in the first half of the year and wracked by a $70 billion loss owing to the harsh economic climate, has only escaped total ruin by accessing the RBZ productive sector facility.

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