Mliswa alleges plot to keep him off KMAL board

TEMBA Mliswa has accused Kingdom Meikles Africa Ltd (KMAL) chairman Farai Rwodzi of attempting to keep the fitness expert-cum-politician-cum-businessman off the board by paying him board fees without his actual presence on it.

In a letter dated April 15 to KMAL major shareholder John Moxon and copied to Loakcape Consortium, Mliswa accuses Rwodzi of “orchestrating” his arrest during the last week of March to block him from taking up a board seat in KMAL.

Contacted for comment on Tuesday about the authenticity of the letter and whether he has received it, Rwodzi, a founding shareholder and director of Interfin Merchant Bank, said he does not react to rumours, referring all questions to Moxon.

“There are ways the corporate operates and am not going to comment on that letter or its authenticity,” he said. “Speak to Moxon about that letter although he is not involved in the day to day running of the company. I will not even comment on it.”
Insiders at KMAL however said Moxon had seen the letter.

Mliswa on Wednesday confirmed writing the letter saying he had nothing more to say.
“I am now waiting for Mr Moxon’s response,” was all Mliswa could say.

In the letter, Mliswa said his consortium was lobbying to have Moxon despecified.
“John, what remains of concern to me however, is the continued opposition of the formalisation of my board seat by KMAL chairman, Farai Rwodzi,” reads the letter.
Moxon was eventually despecified a fortnight ago.

Mliswa’s consortium, Loakcape, is made up of Rainbow Tourism Group chief executive officer Chipo Mtasa, businessmen Philip Chiyangwa, Langton Nyatsambo and Rugare Chidembo.

The consortium acquired a 10% stake in Meikles Africa Ltd after a fight had erupted in the then merged Kingdom Meikles Ltd pitting Nigel Chanakira and Moxon.

Sources say the majority of the KMAL board feels that Loakcape has not yet paid for the shares and should not be making demands. More so, Econet Wireless Capital still appears on the KMAL shareholder register as the majority shareholders with a 10% stake, the same shareholding the mobile phone operator sold last year to Mliswa’s consortium.

But Econet this week said the consortium has met its end of the bargain.
In a statement Econet said: “We sold our shares to a consortium led by Mr Rugare Chidembo.  However, the sale was a credit sale.  Transfer of the shares has not yet taken place as it will only take place upon payment for the shares in full.  However, Mr Rugare Chidembo and his team have not defaulted on their obligations to us under the sale agreement.”

In his letter, Mliswa claimed he was arrested at the behest of Rwodzi.
“You will be aware that about two weeks ago I was arrested on spurious charges which the Attorney-General’s office refused to prosecute. I am now pursuing the police officers involved in what publicly would have appeared to be an incident unrelated to KMAL issues,” said Mliswa in the letter. “I have ascertained that my arrest was orchestrated by Mr Rwodzi for the purpose of damaging my image as a way of gaining the support of the other KMAL directors and possibly some shareholders.”

He alleges that prior to his arrest and detention; “every effort had been made” by Rwodzi to dissuade him from taking up the board seat.

Mliswa said Rwodzi should explain why he objects to his board seat on the basis that he owns a farm.
“I can only assume at this point that he detests the land reform programme and the party that gave birth to it,” Mliswa wrote. “Rwodzi proposes to pay me a board fee just to not take up a board seat. This, as I have said, is deeply insulting. He assumes that it is the board fees I am after. In this he forgets that I am a bona fide shareholder From in KMAL, holding a greater interest than he possibly can.

Mliswa said there was every legitimate reason for him to oversee not only his investment, but that of the consortium.

“I do not see why any sane person would object to me sitting on the board of a company I own. It is a sad truth that those with nothing to lose in transactions of this nature will always tend to make the most noise. What constituency is Mr Rwodzi representing in his objections? It cannot be your interests because there is every expression from yourself to the contrary,” wrote Mliswa.

Mliswa said if Rwodzi as chairman considered that he represents the interests of all the shareholders in general, it was his view that an emergency general meeting be convened and the matter put to vote.
“I cannot see how Mr Rwodzi’s opposition will prevail if you, representing the family interests and my consortium, are of the present view that I should take up the board seat,” he said.

Mliswa said Rwodzi’s presence on the board should be objected to as he was a director of African Sun Ltd, another listed entity in competition with KMAL.

“What guarantee is there that confidential information and other issues will not find their way to African Sun. Mr Rwodzi must decide on which board he wishes to sit,” wrote Mliswa.

According to information at hand, Rwodzi resigned from African Sun Ltd in November to avoid conflict of interest between the two companies after he was made KMAL chairman.

Rwodzi, a director of several listed and unlisted companies, replaced Harare mayor, Muchadeyi Masunda.
Masunda had been elevated to the position of chairman after Moxon stepped down from the board following a turf war with Chanakira, who was the group chief executive officer for the merged Kingdom Meikles Africa Ltd (KMAL) then. — Staff Writer.

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