KINGDOM Miekles Africa (KMAL) chief executive officer Nigel Chanakira has launched a major counter-attack against group chairman John Moxon whom he wants arrested on charges on externalisation.
Chanakira, who is the target of Moxon’s guns, has deposited an affidavit with the Reserve Bank and reported the chairman to the Criminal Investigations Department’s serious fraud squad for allegedly externalising US$18,6 million and R21,2 million.
The counter-attack comes after Moxon, the company’s majority shareholder with a 43% shareholding shared with his family, called an Extraordinary General Meeting (EGM) on October 23 to have Chanakira and non-executive directors Rugare Chidembo and Callisto Jokonya removed from the board.
In a statement to the CID serious fraud squad obtained by businessdigest yesterday Chanakira said: “In my capacity as the group chief executive officer, I would like to make a report to the police in connection with a case of unexplained delays at the instances of John Ralph Thomas Moxon, chairman of Coolbay (Proprietary) Ltd and Steven Levenberg of Mentor Holdings (Proprietary) Ltd of funds as indicated on page 37 and 43 of Kingdom Meikles Africa Ltd which I place before the court as exhibit.”
In the annual report, there was an item marked “funds earmarked for future investments” in respect of Coolbay (Proprietary) Ltd and Mentor Holdings (Proprietary) Ltd.
“The funds amount to US$18,6 million and are believed to be invested in South Africa. There are currently no approved future investment projects by the board of Kingdom Meikles Africa Ltd,” said Chanakira in a statement to the CID.
“In addition it is reflected on page 43 of the same report that R21,2 million security deposit is held by Standard Chartered South Africa against Cape Grace Hotel in South Africa. The said Hotel is part of Kingdom Meikles Africa Ltd,” said Chanakira.
“The accused (Moxon) has refused to repatriate the funds back to Zimbabwe and probably because of this together with my different and amply substantiated views on the illegal sale of the Cape Grace Hotel, the accused has sought to have me removed as a director of Kingdom Meikles Africa,” Chanakira said.
Moxon and Chanakira declined to talk about the conflict when asked by businessdigest this week.
KMAL was formed in December 2007 after the merger of Meikles Ltd group, Kingdom Financial Holdings, Tanganda Tea Company and Cotton Printers.
According to information gathered from executives close to Moxon and Chanakira, their fallout started when Levenberg was still employed by Mvelapanda in South Africa.
Levenberg, a close friend of Moxon, was managing director of Mvela before joining Mentor Africa, a company owned by Moxon.
The executives said Levenberg and another Mentor executive Bret Till then proposed to buy Cape Grace and an internal evaluation of the Grace was done with Chanakira’s approval. Mentor wanted to buy the hotel from KMAL because it required assets to leverage their quest to raise capital in European markets.
When they wanted to buy Cape Grace, Chanakira claims he suggested that the deal should pass through the Reserve Bank for exchange control approval.
Moxon, who is said to have opposed Chanakira’s suggestion, sought advice from Athertone & Cook legal firm who assured Mentor that their plan was legal and did not require the approval of the Reserve Bank.
Cape Grace was priced at R250 million after the evaluation.
Chanakira is said to have questioned why Moxon would want to raise money for offshore business, when their local shops such as TM, Meikles, Greatermans and Barbours are undercapitalised.
Businessdigest understands that Chanakira had initially approved the purchase of Cape Grace because prior to the elections the group was not sure if the outcome would enable them to remain viable without expanding their wings in the region and abroad.
“They wanted to sell Cape Grace and use it as leverage to obtain foreign currency in Europe in the event the outcome of the presidential and parliamentary elections would not be conducive to improve foreign currency inflows,” a source close to the deal said.
But Moxon is alleged to have signed an agreement of sale for the Cape Grace which is supposed to have been signed by Chanakira as the chief executive.
Some senior officials at the company said the clash between Moxon and Chanakira centred on the latter questioning Moxon’s quest to make executive decisions as chairman.
“If Cape Grace is moved upstairs (sold within the group) resources therefrom will no longer be available for the benefit of the group, especially TM, Greatermans and our other retail shops (Miekles and Barbours),” said one director within the organisation.
There has been various correspondence between Kingdom Miekles Africa group and Cape Grace to have the money repatriated but to no avail.
Moxon is said to have told the board that he had the money to buy Cape Grace when they pulled out of Mvelapanda and as such were not externalisng any money.
Moxon also argued that Chanakira signed the MoU for the deal to take place but was now throwing spanners in the works.
As the pair’s differences intensified Moxon called for the removal of Chanakira, Jokonya and Chidembo.
A notice to shareholders, which was advertised in the media, contains 10 resolutions which include the removal of Chanakira, Chidembo and Jokonya as directors.
Resolution 5 will see the appointment of Marilyn Hugill, Moxon’s sister, as a director, while another the appointment of four South African-based directors comprise resolutions 6-9.
These are Ashwin Mancha of Afrifocus Securities, Jack Mitchell, a partner in Alan Gray for 12 years, Fiona Silcock of FPS Investments, and Carl Stein of lawyers Bownan & Gilfillan.
Of the directors appointed following the December 11 knife-edge vote in favour of the merger between Meikles Africa and Kingdom, only former Kingdom chairperson Busi Bango will remain.
No resolution was filed to remove Econet CEO Douglas Mboweni, who replaced Tawanda Nyambirai earlier this year.
Following the latest developments Moxon stepped down as KMAL chairman and was replaced by Harare mayor and lawyer Muchadeyi Masunda until the conclusion of the EGM on October 23.
By Paul Nyakazeya