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Doves row: Supreme Court quashes appeal

BY ANDREW KUNAMBURA

THE Supreme Court has dismissed an appeal by businessman Farai Matsika in which he was seeking to overturn an earlier High Court interdict barring him from elbowing his erstwhile business partner Phibeon Busangabanye from Doves Life Assurance Company.

Matsika and Busangabanye bought Doves from incarcerated businessman Munyaradzi Kereke in 2012 through their jointly-owned investment vehicle, Transfrontier Investments, which they formed in 2008.

High Court judge Justice Happias Zhou last year blocked Matsika from convening an extraordinary general meeting to elect a new Doves board pending the finalisation of another ownership wrangle case.

Busangabanye had argued that the EGM and the process to appoint the new directors were in violation of Insurance and Pensions Commission (Ipec) regulations.

Matsika had claimed that Busangabanye had no locus standi to institute the application because he was not a shareholder in the assurance firm, but Justice Zhou upheld Busangabanye’s arguments and granted him the relief barring the holding of the EGM.

After the High Court ruled in Busangabanye’s favour, Matsika then launched an appeal at the Supreme Court.

But three Supreme Court judges of appeal, Justices Tendai Uchena, Samuel Kudya and Felistus Chatukuta unanimously agreed with the ruling by High Court judge Justice Zhou and dismissed that application with costs.

“After reading documents filed of record and hearing counsel, it is ordered that the matter be and is hereby struck off the roll with costs on a higher scale,” the judges ruled on Wednesday.

The dismissal of the suit effectively invalidates the five-member Matsika board comprising Takawira Nzombe, Allan Mutenda, Fungayi Kavhiwa, Vusumuzi Viki and Ezra Chinake which was to be chaired by prominent Harare lawyer Itayi Ndudzo.

Busangabanye had argued in his answering affidavit that the board was full of Matsika’s cronies whom he handpicked and appointed without even undergoing vetting by Ipec as required by the law.

The two agreed to pay a purchase consideration of US$2,8 million for the 100% equity held by Kereke’s Rockford Foundation Trust (RFT) and another US$2,2 million (net of taxes) in deferred dividends due to the Trust.

The deferred dividends were to be paid after five years from the date of the transaction, while the purchase price was to be paid in payments of US$500 000, as deposit and monthly instalments.

Busangabanye further argued that as the chief executive officer of Doves from 2012 to 2016, he raised US$2,8 million to complete the transaction and a receipt dated July 23, 2014 was issued by Kereke’s Rockford Foundation Trust.

However, when Matsika assumed leadership of the company subsequently, Busangabanye contended, he started reneging on making outstanding payments, resulting in disagreements.

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