‘Insider trading probe at CFI on course’

A PROBE into allegations of insider trading relating to CFI stock acquired by British business magnate Nicholas Van Hoogstraten when the company was in a closed period is continuing, an official has said.

By Chris Muronzi

Nicholas Van Hoogstraten

Nicholas Van Hoogstraten

The transaction at the centre of the probe occurred on January 21 when Messina Investments, Van Hoogstraten’s investment vehicle, bought 3 313 452 CFI scrip at US$0,0572 apiece.

Securities Commission of Zimbabwe (SECZ) CE Tafadzwa Chinamo told businessdigest yesterday that investigations into the charge of insider trading — illegal trading using confidential information — were ongoing.

“The investigation is still ongoing. My guys haven’t finished,” Chinamo said.

The SECZ boss had earlier promised to send an e-mail, but responded via a text message. He would not be drawn to shed further detail on the investigations. But Van Hoogstraten says he is not under investigation.

“I am not aware of any ‘charges’ or investigation into ‘insider trading’ at CFI. At no stage have myself, my family or any other connected party been in possession of any CFI information of a confidential nature that could have any impact on the CFI share price. There are no accounts, even in draft form, that I have seen. The CFI suspension from trading is nothing to do with ‘insider trading’ but due to the failure of CFI to release its accounts for the year to 30th September 2015,” he said.

“I believe that the ‘insider trading’ claim was made by Hamish Rudland who has his own agenda at CFI and became upset that my family and Nssa (National Social Security Authority) had both increased their respective stakes in CFI during the period prior to suspension.”

Van Hoogstraten said his family and Nssa are anxious to ensure that there is no backdoor takeover of CFI by the same Mauritius-based consortium fronted by Rudland.

Trade in CFI Holdings shares was suspended from the Zimbabwe Stock Exchange on January 29 2016 to pave way for investigations. Van Hoogstraten held a 21,6% equity stake in CFI through Messina Investments. It’s not clear how much his shareholding is now.

A key member of Van Hoogstraten’s team, Shingirayi Chibanguza, sits on the CFI board as a non-executive director.

Chibanguza also represents Van Hoogstraten on the boards of several other companies such as Hwange Colliery Company Ltd and Rainbow Tourism Group.

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