According to a notice to shareholders of RTG, “at the instance of a notice received from various individuals or companies controlled by or related to the Hamilton and Hamilton Trustees Group, it is proposed that Messrs S Chibanguza, AS Hamilton, MR Hamilton and I Haruperi be appointed as directors of the company by a single resolution”.
The quartet was supposed to be appointed last year but the AGM rejected the move.
“If my appointed directors are defrauded again of their rightful positions we will call an EGM (Extra-ordinary General Meeting) and expose their self-serving and dishonest history back to the 2005 fraud,” van Hoogstraten said.
The businessman said his nominees were not rejected but were victims of part of the “ongoing conspiracy and fraud” and accused former RTG chairman Patterson Timba of combining forces with Econet and the National Social Security Authority (NSSA) to block his appointments.
“We will see what happens this time around but one does not need to have the intelligence of Albert Einstein to work out that the last thing the present board would wish (bearing in mind past history since we were defrauded by them of a 19% shareholding in 2005) is to have competent, honest and non-aligned outside directors,” he said.
As the single largest individual shareholder, van Hoogstraten appears to have failed to call the shots and analysts are questioning whether this is not the right time for him to exit the company.
“This cannot be a serious question,” he retorted. “Also, as the only shareholder of any substance with no debts anywhere in the world, why should I sell out?
“Econet has disclosed debt of over US$800 million… I am not aware of anyone in Zimbabwe that would have the money to buy us out,” he said.
On Econet’s secondment of people to sit on the board, van Hoogstraten said: “Econet is playing a double game here — on one hand seeking to distance itself from their pawns, Timba and Kundishora, and on the other hand, trying to pretend that they are the injured party when, in fact, it will be business as usual.”
Econet had not responded to questions sent to their offices by Friday. Timba was unreachable despite promising to “call later”.
Econet recently appointed Tracy Mpofu as RTG board chairperson, Krison Chirairo, John Gould and SC Vera as non-executive directors.
The appointments have to be confirmed at the AGM.
Fights for the control of RTG have been running for over two years.
Van Hoogstraten insists that by virtue of being the single largest individual shareholder, he is entitled to more board seats.
Econet chief executive officer director, Douglas Mboweni yesterday dismissed van Hoogstraten’s assertion that the mobile operator was working against him as mere speculation. “We don’t influence things at RTG because we don’t sit on the board. We only have influence when we go to an Annual General Meeting (AGM) as a shareholder”.
Tycoon goes to court over alleged fraud
In a case before the courts, business tycoon Nicholas van Hoogstraten claims he was defrauded of 19% shareholding when he agreed to underwrite RTG’s capital raising initiative.
Van Hoogstraten’s family has over 36% of the shares held by Hamilton & Hamilton Trustees Ltd, Zimcor Ltd, Messina Investments Ltd and his six children.
“This rises to 55% when the 2005 fraud is reversed. We will then dispose of 10% of our holding to the market,” he said.
The businessman alleged that the embattled (Patterson) Timba never owned any shares in RTG as he used the proxies that he obtained from NSSA and the pension and insurance funds managed by Afre Corporation.
“A RBZ ( Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe) report draws attention to the fact that stolen funds were used to ‘borrow’ from Kingdom Bank, TN Bank and Econet, all, I should point out, part of the same corrupt and ‘smoke and mirrors’ operation.”
A report by the central bank showed that Timba and Kundishora had abused depositors’ funds at ReNaissance Merchant Bank which was recently placed under curatorship by the RBZ .