The following press release was issued by the Zambezi Portland Cement Legal Centre:
Finance Bank Chairman Rajan Mahtani is deliberately misleading the Zambian people with numerous false statements concerning his illegal theft of Zambezi Portland Cement (ZPC), says Antonio Ventriglia, one of the original owners.
The most recent false statements by Mahtani were published on the website of Zambian Watchdog, under the title “The truth about Zambezi Portland and the missing $40 million.”
Specifically, the article claims that Mahtani through Finsbury “owns 58 per cent shares in Zambezi Portland Cement,” and that Ital Terrazzo owns 42 per cent, and then goes on to cite a 2007 agreement for the sale of shares.
“Mahtani’s dishonesty and lies with regard to the theft of our company will only further damage his credibility,” said Mr Ventriglia. “We invite anyone and everyone to review all the facts and evidence in this case, where this fraudulent conspiracy being orchestrated by Mr Mahtani can be clearly seen.”
What the Watchdog article fails to disclose is that Mahtani never actually paid for those shares, therefore rendering the agreement null and void. Furthermore, this wholly fictional claim is contradicted by the recent discontinuance of case 2008/HPC/0366 by Mahtani’s legal team relating to the shareholdings of ZPC.
The issue of the 2007 ZPC shareholding agreement was recently addressed by a Swiss Arbitral Tribunal Tribunal which ruled against Mahtani in favour of Antonio Ventriglia & Claudio Ventriglia. In its final arbitral award, the Swiss Tribunal found that Mahtani had insufficient evidence to prove that the money borrowed from Barclays was taken out on behalf of shareholders.
The award decision declares: “The Arbitral Tribunal finds, as a factual matter, that there is insufficient evidence of any shareholder information, instruction or agreement with regard to the proper characterization of the Barclays Facility, particularly at the time when the agreement was signed in October 2006. In fact, the Shareholders’ Agreement dated 26 February 2007 indicates that the increased Barclays Facility was understood to be an obligation of ZPC.”
The whole point of taking out more debt was to inject the company with liquidity in exchange for shares to transferred to Mahtani – but the funds never arrived.
The ruling continues: “For the Arbitral Tribunal, it is decisive that (i) the Agreement itself does not state anywhere that the Claimant was providing a loan to Respondent 2 for the purpose of contributing quasi equity to ZPC; and (ii) the Agreement itself does not set out any direct and primary payment obligations of Respondent 2.”
Recent media repots have raised serious questions about the legality of Mr Mahtani’s conduct with regard to the Ndola-based company, including allegations of forgery and politically motivated deportations.