Dumisani Muleya/Conrad Dube
EMBATTLED former Intermarket Holdings chief executive Nicholas Vingirai allegedly externalised US$2,7 million in a failed bid to acquire Beverley Building Society through Andrew W
eir & Company Ltd, a London-based company.
Sources said Vingirai allegedly used depositors’ funds and breached exchange control regulations to raise foreign currency to fund his bid for Beverley.
Vingirai wanted to acquire 100% “Class A” shares in Beverley Building Society, owned by Forrestdale Trust Ltd. The initial deposit in the failed bid was paid through the businessman’s investment vehicle codenamed Project Long Range, which was set up to “purchase a new business”.
Correspondence between Vingirai and Andrew Weir & Company, the sellers’ representative, show that the tycoon, who has since fled the country to avoid arrest on corruption charges, had secured an agreement to buy the entire Forrestdale shareholding in Beverley.
Vingirai initially paid the London-based company US$1 million as deposit on July 1 2002, US$500 000 on August 16, US$500 000 on August 28, US$1 million on September 5, and US$500 000 on September 30 2002. He went on to make further payments in South African rands amounting to US$200 000. The deal however fell through following events that engulfed Intermarket after Vingirai fled the country.
In total, Vingirai paid US$3,7 million but he was repaid US$1 million.
Vingirai’s business empire, which comprised various companies grouped under Intermarket Holdings, started crumbling due to a liquidity crunch after new Reserve Bank governor Gideon Gono announced a tough monetary policy in December last year. Intermarket was weighed down by billions of internal loans, among other factors. Vingirai and his Transnational Holdings doled out about $174 billion to companies in which he had an interest.
Intermarket Discount House was also exposed to the tune of about $195 billion as a result of mostly internal loans.