THE Central Intelligence Organisation (CIO) has offered to formally buy out Zimbabwe Mirror Newspapers Group CEO and editor-in-chief Ibbo Mandaza from the company they wrested from him last year.
The move revives the bitter conte
st between the CIO and Mandaza over the control of the media house. The fight for the papers has been going on since August last year. Although Mandaza won a court order reversing his illegal suspension and termination of benefits, he has not worked at the Mirror since October last year as he was blocked from doing so.
In a new twist of events, Gula-Ndebele & Partners, who represent Unique Investments, a CIO shelf company which has a stake in the Mirror, wrote to Mandaza’s attorneys Mandizha & Company on September 4 proposing an out of court settlement.
“We write to you at the instance (request) of our clients Unique World Investments in their capacity as one of the shareholders in the Zimbabwe Mirror Newspapers Group,” Gula-Ndebele & Partners said.
“Our clients instruct us that they would want to engage your client, Dr Ibbo Mandaza, and all the interests in the Mirror he represents with a view to negotiating an out-of-court settlement on all matters that are currently pending or anticipated before the courts.”
Gula-Ndebele & Partners said there were specific issues that its client wanted resolved. “More specifically, our client wishes to make an offer to your client with regards to the following and other issues as may be relevant,” it said: “the takeover of his shareholding; termination of his directorship; termination of his employment as CEO and termination of his involvement in the group in whatever capacity”.
The lawyers said Unique was willing to negotiate although Mandaza should bear in mind the Mirror was in a perpetual financial crisis.
“In this regard, our client wishes to solicit your client’s attitude towards this proposal. Should your client be amenable to the proposal, it is our clients’ view that both parties would need to put together their various positions and offers for further consideration,” they said.
“In making this overture, our clients implore your client to be mindful of the dire financial straits the group has always and continues to be facing. It is also our clients’ expectation that should your client be agreeable, it would be in the interest of all parties to hold in abeyance any court actions between them in order to facilitate and create a conducive environment for the intended negotiations. We await your earliest indications.”
On September 14, Mandaza’s lawyers replied: “Our client’s position is that the key to unlocking meaningful dialogue on the issues you raised lies in your clients. His position is that they have to demonstrate their bona fides by owning up and paying his contractual dues, to date. We requested him to compute them.”
After Gula-Ndebele & Partners replied on September 27 clarifying the issue of payment, Mandizha & Co wrote again on October 19, saying: “We advise that our client has reason to believe your clients are insincere. Consequently, we have been mandated to inform you, as we hereby do, that if no concrete position is communicated to us by the 26th instant, we will revive litigation.” — Staff Writer.