EMBATTLED Kingdom Meikles Africa Limited (KMAL) chief executive officer Nigel Chinakira collapsed on Sunday and was airlifted the following day to South Africa, amid reports that the battle to control the blue chip company was taking its toll on his health.
High Court documents in possession of the Zimbabwe Independent, which were used by Chanakira’s lawyers — Dube, Manikai and Hwacha (DMH) — to block an extraordinary general meeting (EGM) of KMAL yesterday for two weeks, revealed that the banker was hospitalised at the upmarket Milpark Hospital, Johannesburg.
The nature of his illness was not disclosed, but it was said he had broken down due to cumulative stress and psychological pressure.
The EGM was meant to implement five de-merger resolutions agreed at KMAL’s last shareholders meeting in June.
Among the resolutions were the ouster of Chanakira and his appointees, Callisto Jokonya and Busi Bango, from the KMAL board to clear the way for the finalisation of the de-merger between Kingdom and Meikles.
In a founding affidavit lodged with the High Court, Chanakira’s wife Carol prayed to the court to postpone the EGM for two weeks because her husband had “substantial interest” in it and had “fallen ill and is indisposed”.
Chanakira and his wife are directors of Valleyfield Investments (Pvt) Ltd, an investment vehicle with about 6% shareholding in KMAL.
“I noticed that 1st applicant (Nigel) was becoming quite unnerved and excitable,” read Carol’s affidavit.
She said she became worried about Chanakira’s health and had to leave Johannesburg where she was staying to be with him on Saturday.
“Although he was clearly in a bad state, he did his best to hold up, but on Sunday 20th September, his condition deteriorated to a degree where he was sedated and then airlifted to Johannesburg on Monday,” Carol Chanakira wrote. “I would not wish to state the full facts of this to the court, suffice to say that he continues to receive good medical treatment and we are hopeful for his recovery in due course.”
The wife attached to her affidavit a letter by Dr Peter Hsu of Milpark Hospital confirming Chanakira’s health condition and location.
“This is to certify that Mr Chanakira is admitted to Milpark Hospital,” the doctor, a nephrologist, wrote. “Due to medical reasons he will not be able to attend the board meeting. We will continue with investigations and treatment for the next couple of days.”
A nephrologist is a physician who has been educated and trained in kidney diseases, kidney transplantation, and dialysis therapy.
In a supporting affidavit to that of Carol, a partner in DMH — Canaan Dube — said Chanakira fell ill before he had a chance to review a draft application challenging the holding of the EGM.
He said the lawyers had scheduled a meeting with Chanakira on Monday, but efforts to locate him were in vain.
“We first received reports from Messrs Mtetwa and Nyambirai that Mr Chanakira collapsed on Sunday
evening and was airlifted urgently to a hospital in Johannesburg on Monday morning, and with a request for us to confirm with 1st applicant (Nigel)’s wife or brother, the terms, meaning and impact of discussions between Mr (Tawanda) Nyambirai and 1st applicant on Sunday,” read Dube’s affidavit.
Sources close to Chanakira said of late the banker had shown signs of stress and on the Sunday in question behaved strangely at a church service at the Celebration Centre in Borrowdale.
The sources said Chanakira attended the church unusually dressed in a tracksuit bottom and a T-Shirt and it is said that during the service he became delirious before he was escorted out of the church.