The controversial former banker Rajan Mahtani failed to follow procedure and never presented original share transfer certificates for his disputed claim of shares in Zambezi Portland Cement, according to a new testimony brought before the Lusaka High Court.
This is in the judicial review case brought by Mahtani’s company Finsbury Investments against the Ndola-based cement company seeking to block the shareholding.
According to testimony in a sworn affidavit (see below) Wilson Banda, the Senior Inspector of Companies at the Patents and Companies Registration Agency (PACRA), Mahtani’s group “failed to disclose” in their judicial review application that the documents “were mere copies of original documents contrary to the practice and that despite a reminder to file original documents, the Applicants failed or neglected to lodge with the Registrar original documents.”
The official’s testimony goes on to note that Mahtani’s lawyers also failed to disclose a standing court injunction restraining them from acting as shareholders, and have also failed to show how PACRA is proposing to take any decision that exceeds its jurisdiction, meaning that the judicial review application should not be granted.
This latest twist in the long-running dispute between the controversial former banker Rajan Mahtani and the owners of one of Zambia’s largest cement producers comes after dramatic series of events, including Mahtani allegedly arranging the illegal deportation of executive officers, multiple raids of the plant by hired police, and the apparent fraud committed to submit forged share transfer certificates to steal control of the +$160 million company.
Last April the company owners were successful in reversing the illegal deportations and were able to gain back control of their stolen company. Mahtani was subsequently arrested on two counts of fraud on June 2.
Back in August, PACRA had reverted its shareholding records to the 2008 status quo, listing Antonio Ventriglia as owner of 830,000,000 shares and Manuela Sebastiani as owner of 170,000,000 shares, and removing the management illegally appointed by Mahtani in 2013. However, PACRA’s chairman William Nyirenda reversed the filing without explanation, leading to his eventual dismissal from the agency.
The fact that Nyirenda had been serving as Mahtani’s employee as interim Chairman of Finance Bank of Zambia Ltd at the time has raised serious concerns about conflict of interest and Zambia’s overall rule of law when such alleged thefts of company shares can occur at the registration agency.