Thursday 14 September 2017


THE High Court has ordered an investigation into the shareholding of Bikita Minerals (Pvt) Limited to determine the veracity of claims that former army commander,the late Retired General Vitalis Zvinavashe, held a 15 percent stake in the firm.

Bikita Minerals is believed to hold the world’s largest known lithium deposits, estimated at 11 million tonnes. Justice Davison Foroma ordered the Minister of Justice, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs, Emmerson Mnangagwa, also the country’s Vice President, to appoint an inspector to probe claims by the executor of Zvinavashe’s estate, of the late general’s shareholding in the lithium producer.

The late army commander’s son, Richard Zvinavashe, who is the executor of the national hero’s estate, says he has failed to trace the shares.

Richard sought the appointment of an investigator on the basis of his understanding that his father owned 15 percent of the company which he said “may have fraudulently and or oppressively conducted its affairs to the prejudice of the deceased estate”.

According to courts documents, while admitting that Zvinavashe was its director, Bikita Minerals insisted the war veteran was never a shareholder.

A search at the Registrar of Companies by Richard had produced a CR14 that showed that Zvinavashe had ceased to be a director on March 7, 2009, with the reason curiously stated “as a result of death.” Zvinavashe only succumbed to cancer three days after that, on March 10, 2009.

Former energy and power development minister, Dzikamai Mavhaire and businesswoman, Janet Mutasa, were chairman and company secretary of Bikita Minerals respectively, at the time of Zvinavashe’s death. In his founding affidavit, Richard averred that he believed the CR 14 was fraudulently created.

“It is clear, therefore, that three days before his death the board of directors chaired by honourable Mavhaire had already written to the Registrar of Companies through its consultants to have my father removed from the office of director on false claims that he had died,” he said.

The judge said it was highly unlikely that Zvinavashe was just a director with no shareholding in the company. Mavhaire, with whom Zvinavashe joined the company’s board on November 13, 2004, was a 21 percent shareholder.

“That may well be so and such attitude is understandable, especially given that applicant has come to know that D C Mavhaire with whom the deceased joined the board of first respondent on the same day is the holder of 21 percent shareholding in first respondent,” said Justice Foroma.

“The attitude of the applicant has been prompted by first respondent’s negative attitude to his legitimate search for information.
“The applicant’s concerns are understandable.

He requires to bring to account all assets of the deceased estate for the benefit of the beneficiaries of the estate, including the fiscus. The last thing he as executor would expect is any reason to suspect collusion on the part of the deceased’s lifetime colleagues.
In this regard, first respondent (Bikita Minerals) has not allayed such fears,” Foroma added. 

The court noted that the executor should be given equal access to make informed decisions. Bikita Minerals had failed to demonstrate what prejudice, if any, it stood to suffer on account of the investigation, hence the court’s decision to order the probe.

“The court finds that it is desirable that the affairs of the first respondent be investigated for purposes of establishing the shareholding structure of the company and any consequential matters resulting from the said investigation in so far as the same may affect the winding up of the estate of the late Vitalis Musungwa Gava Zvinavashe,” Foroma said. financial gazette


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