Whistleblower Exposes Alleged Fraudulent Takeover of Zambezi Portland Cement

A former lawyer to a multimillionaire financier of President Michael Sata has exposed a conspiracy to fraudulently take over a private company through falsified share transfer forms.

Rajan Mahtani, the owner of Finance Bank and a close supporter of President Sata’s government, is accused by the owners of the Zambezi Portland Cement (ZPC) company of unlawfully seizing their property through brute force and forged documents to force the company into receivership.

According to court documents leaked to Zambia Reports attached below, Mahtani’s former lawyer Zaheeda Essa has acknowledged in a witness statement that Mahtani used photocopied signatures and backdated share transfer forms as part of a corporate raid to steal control of ZPC.

“The Plaintiff [Mahtani] has never bought any shares in Zambezi Portland Cement Limited,” Essa declares in the witness statement. “The document purporting to be share transfer forms bear signatures of the Defendants photocopied from the Shareholders’ Agreement and then backdated.”

According to the document, originally dated Feb. 10, 2011 but made public for the first time today, Ms. Essa, who served as Group Legal Counsel to the Mahtani Group of Companies, including Finsbury Investments, recanted earlier testimony she had made in the case “under duress” from Mahtani.

“The share transfer forms were prepared in Lusaka at the Plaintiff’s in the absence of the Defendants, months after the company was put into receivership,” Essa declared. “The instructions to forge the share transfer forms came from Dr. Rajan Mahtani and this was all planned by the said Dr. Rajan Mahtani way before any discussion about shares.”

The original owners of Zambezi Portland Cement, the family of Antonio Ventriglia of Ndola, are seeking the restoration of their lawful ownership of the company before the High Court, but the case appears to be stalled after a highly unusual move by Supreme Court Justice Lombe Chibesakunda to contradict her own order from 2010 to reinstate the previous board appointed by Mahtani.

The court document may explain in part why Ms. Essa has faced harassment in the past by the PF authorities and at least one arrest, allegedly at the orders of Mahtani. In 2011, Ms. Essa filed a lawsuit against Mahtani and the Post newspaper for defamation of character.

While the Zambian legal situation appears unclear, international efforts have been more successful. Mr. Mahtani lost his case against the Ventriglias before the Swiss Arbitration Panel.

The takeover case of this cement plant has raised questions among the foreign investment community, who are concerned about the potential wielding of influence over the Zambian courts, the police, and immigration authorities. Mahtani’s group originally seized control of ZPC with the assistance of some 200 armed police officers, while other members of the Ventriglia family have been deported under false circumstances, sources tell Zambia Reports.

Rajan Mahtani's Former Lawyer Alleges Fraudulent Takeover of Zambezi Portland Cement


  1. Boinxie

    Isn’t Mahtani’s lawyer bound by some lawyer-client privilege which bars him from testifying against his client/former client. Especially seeing that all this occurred while Essa was serving as his lawyer. Secondly, seeing that he has testified to being part of the offences committed, shouldn’t the justice system prosecute him as well?

    • Susana

      No, of course not … if that were the case, how would a whistleblower ever come forward. Essa has confessed that she took part in a scheme at the request of her former client.

  2. Mwana

    Here is the truth, plain and simple: Mahtani is a thief, a common criminal.

  3. Fumbi

    Lawyer-client privilege? The moment your client starts to wilfully break the law, a lawyer is supposed to advise his/her client. If the client is adamant a good lawyer is supposed to disassociate himself/herself from the case. Lawyer-client privilege is not meant to encourage the perpetration of a crime rather it is meant to preserve the rights of an individual after he has already committed a crime.

  4. Reverend2kaponya

    Mwana- He is not a common criminal. He is an economic sabotager. His late vice chairman at Finance Bank and lawyer Mr. Malama was the chairman of the cement plant. Mahtani boasted in presence of his close Pakistani CEO that luckily there was a page blank in the Minutes book and that he regularised the share transfer issue. The same CEO issued a letter to PTA Bank that Mahtani had deposited $5,000,000 in Zambezi Portland account with Finance Bank and based on that letter Mr. Michael Gondwe submitted the loan proposal to PTA Bank Board for approval. Mahtani is a crook. Wait for Sata’s government to go and many like me who know a lot about this crook will come forward to give evidences against this Money Launderer. His bank in Malawi was closed for money laundering. Has anybody ever heard that a Chairman of a bank visits bank at least 30 times a year and claims $20,000 for each visit to Malawi for a day? And he claimed and paid from Finance Bank Zambia similar amounts by Barkat Ali. These are mafia criminals. Our local judges are let down and the same Chibesakunda whom this criminal coned in London on sale of Mercedes Benz car has under pressure from Mr. Sata stalled the whole process of justice and given the cement plant to rip off. Andrew Kamanga is a conman who tried to steal from Zesco through late Mwanawasa. Anybody who does not know much about Maureen Mwanawasa, wait for the right time. Her involvement in crude oil, army purchases, cement plant shareholdings etc. will be made open. Maureen stole on the death of Mwanawasa through fake medical bills that were footed by French government and Mahtani helped her to stash that money away. It ran into millions of dollars.

  5. Reverend2kaponya

    And Magande was the preferred candidate of Nchito, Membe and Mahtani because he allowed these criminals to steal from National Airport Corproation, ZRA, DBZ and even Finance Bank (bad debt in finance bank but money collected outside by Money Launderer Mahtani). More he tries to wash himself, more he will be exposed. He has not paid an ngwee of tax on transfer of building from one group company to another, simply to evade tax. He has paid nothing on 400,000,000 dollars value shares of Finance Bank. Tax evaded is $40,000,000. There have been a series of transfer of shares and on each transfer he is supposed to pay tax, but nothing paid-Loita, Suisse Credit, Mary Schultz, Daniel, Overseas island outfit. Ask Miles Sampa how he stole from pensioners and calls himself a Christian, born again Christian. He was a pagan and still is a pagan.

  6. Mancity supporter

    Essa is a woman, man enough to stand up to Indian thug by the name Mahtani and his crooked sister Mary Schultz and her husband Reverend Schultz who stole from the church and ran away to Canada. The family of thieves and launderers.

  7. Ifs and Buts

    Dr. Mahtani is a self-made person and in the process made many jealous and lazy Zambians his enemies. His only fault is that he made it in life with his hard work.

    • Wrongheaded

      Ifs and Buts – what a totally bogus statement. Mahtani is about as “self made” as Al Capone. The evidence is everywhere. This man is corrupt, this man steals money from our pockets and food from our mouths, this man is a cancer on Zambia, and he should be chased back to India.

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