Vingirai sued for $174 billion


Dumisani Muleya/Conrad Dube

FORMER Intermarket Holdings chief executive Nicholas Vingirai has been sued for $174 billion by the curator of two subsidiaries of his collapsing business emp

ire.


In two High Court chamber applications filed yesterday, the curator of Intermarket Banking Corporation and Intermarket Discount House, Kudenga & Co, claimed Vingirai in certain instances used depositors’ funds “fraudulently or through misrepresentation” for personal gain.


Vingirai and his Transnational Holdings have been cited in the applications as respondents.


The curator, represented by Addington Chinake of Kantor & Immerman, is claiming $120 billion from Vingirai and $54 billion from Transnational. He is also seeking an interdict to stop the two financial firms from disposing of their assets.


Court documents expose the link between Vingirai’s empire and prominent business leaders who benefited from the entrepreneur’s largesse.


The curator alleges that the tycoon, who fled the country in February reportedly to escape the fallout from his crumbling edifice, “acted outside normal banking prudential guidelines by authorising lending to institutions not qualified for such lending”.


It is claimed that Vingirai advanced large sums of money to companies in which he had an interest without disclosing that interest. He is also accused of using bank or depositors’ funds for his own benefit or for the benefit of companies in which he had an interest. The curator says Vingirai lent funds to individuals and institutions “outside the authority of the Lending Risk Committee of his company’s subsidiaries”.


It is alleged that Transnational Holdings, in which Vingirai is the major shareholder, owes Intermarket Holdings $54 billion. Another company in which Vingirai has an interest, Closefin Investments, owes Intermarket Holdings $63,4 billion.


Court documents to hand list among Closefin directors Dairibord chief executive Antony Mandiwanza, Innscor Africa and National Foods Holdings Ltd director John Koumides, Standard Chartered Bank Zimbabwe CEO Washington Matsaira, AngloZim chairman Godfrey Gomwe, Zanu PF MP and businessman Ray Kaukonde, and Delta Corporation chief executive Joseph Mutizwa.


Intermarket Nominees Wildale, another Vingirai entity, owes the holding company $40,9 billion, while Intermarket Nominees TA owes it $2,4 billion.

Intermarket Nominees TSL, in which Vingirai has an interest, is indebted to the parent company to the tune of $1,9 billion. Sholliver Farm, Vingirai’s farming operation, owes Intermarket Holdings $377 million and Bulkworth Investments owes it $789 million.


The curator also claims Vingirai bought a vehicle for $299 million, which has now ballooned to $1,6 billion, purportedly on behalf of African Mills and Minerals, using depositors’ funds but later claimed it as his own.


It is further alleged Vingirai, through Transnational Holdings, unlawfully used depositors’ funds amounting to $2 billion, which has now risen to $6 billion, to settle Transnational’s cost of following its rights in a Finhold rights issue.

He also advanced $25 billion to a project codenamed Project Long Range.


The alleged fraud includes $7 billion paid in respect of Finhold shares that had been sold to Intermarket Discount House by Transnational. The shares were however later used by Transnational to secure its position at Intermarket Unit Trusts.


It is further alleged that Transnational owes Intermarket Banking Corporation about $12 billion which was directly advanced to itself.


“In addition, Vingirai is personally indebted to the banking group in respect of his staff loan in excess of $40 million,” the court papers say.


The curator is seeking interim court relief to stop Vingirai from “selling, disposing, or in any way dealing with any movable or immovable property of whatsoever description”.