Businessman Rajan Mahtani, widely known for his fraudulent activities, has lost a legal battle against Lusaka-based financial expert Simataa Simataa. This follows the decision by the Lusaka High Court to dismiss a claim by Mahtani and his former business entity Finance Bank Zambia Limited which aimed at grabbing K1 million (K1 billion old currency) from the veteran banker and former employee of the institution.
Simataa was paid K1 million by Mahtani and Finance Bank as a separation package after the matter was taken to the Industrial Labour Relations court where the two parties agreed for a settlement. Mahtani had included a clause in the settlement which indirectly sought to gag Simataa, but the court has interpreted that provision in the agreement could only to the material labour dispute.
According to a statement of claim filed before the Lusaka High Court on 7th April 2014, the plaintiff (Mahtani and Finance Bank) alleged that Simataa as a former employee of Finance Bank breached an oath of secrecy signed between him and the bank and received K1 million to buy his silence.
They said written agreement was signed on 23rd May, 2007 with the bank undertaking to pay Simataa K1 million in six monthly installments. Simataa, on the other hand, contended that he had not breached any agreement in the cases referred to by the plaintiff as he was only testifying in an open court against the bank with the full knowledge of Mahtani.
Simataa further told the court that the said sum was payment of his separation package with the bank. But Mahtani, who has used similar tricks to swindle people, sought damages for breach of agreement, a refund of the said K1 million and also interest on the sum.
Justice Prisca Nyambe dismissed the Mahtani’s claims with costs saying the defendant did not breach the said agreement. The crooked Mahtani will now have to pay Simataa for the legal fees and all expenses on the matter.
Apart from suing Simataa, Mahtani took to scandalise the financial expert on his websites – Zambian Watchdog and Zambian Intelligence News, where through his surrogates he called him a mercenary and failure. Furthermore, Mahtani excitedly published the intent to seek legal action against Simataa and recover K1 million on his personal website.
The court has however laundered Simataa stating, “It is therefore the finding of this court that since signing of the agreement dated 23rd May, 2007 up to date, the defendant has kept confidential its contents.
“It follows that the plaintiffs are not entitled to the refund of K1 million which was given to the defendant as part of the ex-curia settlement.”
The plaintiff (Mahtani and Finance Bank) had contended that Simataa had gone ahead and testified in several cases against them thereby breaching the said agreement.
“Therefore, I am not persuaded by the plaintiff’s agreement that in testimony in cases cited herein the defendant breached the agreement under consideration. To hold so would be outside the ambit of the said agreement and tantamount to a global gag on the defendant to forgo constitutional rights to testify in a court of law which can have no legal basis,” said Justice Nyambe.
The court dismissed the plaintiffs claim with costs but reserved their right to appeal.