Finance Bank Chairman Rajan Mahtani has recently seized control of a prime plot of land belonging to the state broadcaster ZNBC, a source tells Zambia Reports.
Mahtani’s bank exercised a preemptive call to grab the plot, which had been put up as collateral for a loan from Finance Bank to the borrower Chibamba Kanyama, the former Director General of the television broadcaster who resigned from his position after running into political differences with the sitting government.
Kanyama had allegedly taken out a loan worth K18 million rebased, and put down the deed to the ZNBC plot in the Twin Palm area, which is currently occupied by a rental apartment building.
“The money was borrowed over a period to pay workers’ salaries. But ZNBC surrendered the title deeds as surety. As we speak, that land is gone and Mahtani’s creditors have moved in with plans to put up blocks of flats and a shopping mall,” the source said.
The source says that borrowers are likely to become more wary to taking loans from Finance Bank as Mr. Mahtani develops a reputation for asset seizure, including the disputed takeover of the Zambezi Portland Cement company and the Radisson Blu Hotel in Lusaka, which were both seized following highly controversial diputes.
Mahtani has recently announced that Finance Bank would launch initial public offerings on stock exchanges in Lusaka, Johannesburg, Nairobi, and London before the end of the year, however some questions remain regarding the feasibility of the listings. Mahtani is also working with a UK-based company Sunbird Bioenergy to build a $150 million ethanol plant in Luapula Province.