FORMER Zanu PF MP David Butau, facing fraud charges linked to the Reserve Bankâ€™s farm mechanisation programme, has been stripped of his chairmanship and directorship in Dande Capital Holdings, a company in which he is the majority shareholder.
High Court judge Justice Lavender Makoni recently granted an application by the companyâ€™s chief executive officer, Danisa Mhlanga, and Butauâ€™s co-shareholders â€” Evison Musanjeya, Wilfred Hlanguyo and Decent Chitsungo â€” for the removal of the former legislator from Dande Capital Holdingsâ€™ board of directors.
Makoni also barred Butauâ€™s brother, Grey, from interfering in the running of the company. Â
In the default judgement, Makoni ruled: â€œ1st Respondent (Butau) forfeited his directorship in Dande Capital Holdings by being absent at the board of directors meeting for a period in excess of six months without permission.â€
The judge also ruled that Mhlanga, Musanjeya, Hlanguyo and Chitsungo were the legitimate directors of the company.
â€œThe 2nd (Mhlanga), 3rd (Musanjeya), 4th (Hlanguyo) and 5th (Chitsungo) applicants herein are the lawful directors of Dande Capital Holdings and as such have the exclusive mandate to conduct the companyâ€™s affairs,â€ read Makoniâ€™s judgement.
The company was incorporated in 2000 and re-registered in 2002. Its core business is to offer financial advisory services to local, regional and overseas organisations.
The company has seven subsidiaries â€” Elâ€™e Resources (Pvt) Ltd, Cynthesis Agriculture Pvt) Ltd, Cythensis Cotton (Pvt) Ltd, Tsakare Chickens (Pvt) Ltd, Timbsbury Timbers (Pvt) Ltd, Heldnet Enterprises (Pvt) Ltd and Telequip (Pvt) Ltd.
Sources close to Butau told the Zimbabwe Independent that the former Guruve North lawmaker returned home last week to fight for the chairmanship and directorship of the company and the criminal charges against him.
Butau fled Zimbabwe in December 2007 when police said they intended to question him in connection with dealings in foreign currency on the black market.
He flew to Britain on a six-month tourist visa before later moving to Pretoria, where he was holed up until March 6 this year.
Butau returned home after arrangements with the Attorney-Generalâ€™s office that facilitated travel documents for him after he lost his passport in South Africa.
The state alleges that on October 19 2007, Butau asked a Joseph Manjoro to deposit $562,5 billion into his company, Nyamasoka Farmingâ€™s CBZ account after having agreed that he would source US$450 000 using a parallel market rate of US$1 to $1 250 000 to purchase tractors from Michigan Tractors of South Africa on behalf of the government.
â€œAfter receiving the money, and during the period extending from October 25 to December 19 2007, the accused sourced foreign currency from the parallel market, which foreign currency was never remitted to Joseph Manjoro,â€ read the state outline.
â€œWhen he did so, the accused knew very well that he had no exchange control authority to deal in foreign currency thereby contravening the said (Foreign Exchange Control) Act.â€ Â
The state alleges that after receiving the $562,5 billion and changing it on the parallel market, Butau gave Manjoro a copy of a telegraphic transfer dated October 23 2007 purporting that he had transferred US$450 000 to the credit of Michigan for the purchase of equipment meant for the Farm Mechanisation Programme.
Verifications made by Manjoro with Michigan proved that no funds were deposited by the accused and when asked to clarify the issue, Butau allegedly asked Manjoro to hand him back the copy of the telegraphic transfer.
He then gave Manjoro a copy of cheque number 100146 for 215 000 British pounds drawn upon his HSBC account number 82435063 domiciled at Channel Islands, United Kingdom, to the credit of Michigan South Africa.
The accused caused the cheque to be deposited into Michigan tractors held by Standard Bank of South Africa.
However, the cheque was returned by HSBC Bank late in November 2007 unpaid with the reason â€œrefer to drawerâ€.
The state alleged that Butau issued the cheque even though he knew he had insufficient funds in his account.
As a result of this misrepresentation, the state alleged, government suffered a prejudice of $562 billion and nothing was recovered.Â Â Â Â Â Â Â
Last week, a Harare magistrate dismissed Butauâ€™s bail application on the basis that he may abscond.
His lawyer Charles Chinyama has since appealed to the High Court against the lower courtâ€™s decision.
BY LUCIA MAKAMURE