Cold Storage Company (CSC) Pension Fund is considering challenging the outcome of the first creditors meeting that was recently held in Bulawayo, because it allegedly did not afford it the opportunity to either endorse or reject the appointment of Ngoni Kudenga of BDO Chartered Accountants as a corporate rescue practitioner.
They argued Additional Master of the High Court (Bulawayo), Ms Rose Dube, who presided over the meeting, disqualified Mr Kudenga on the basis of an objection that he was conflicted because of his previous association with Lands, Agriculture, Fisheries, Water, Climate and Rural Resettlement Minister Dr Anxious Masuka.
The objection was raised by Dumisani Dube of Mathonsi Ncube Law Chambers, who reportedly was representing some CSC workers.
“As one of the major creditors, we feel what happened was unfair and we need to challenge it,” CSC Pension Fund chairperson Mr Wilfred Masunda told The Sunday Mail Business.
“We were actually happy with the appointment of the corporate rescue practitioner but somehow the Master (of the High Court) disqualified him.”
Mr Kudenga is the Zimbabwe Agriculture Society (ZAS) president, while Dr Masuka was the organisation’s CEO prior to his appointment as minister.
Vonani Majoko of Majoko and Majoko Legal Practitioners was voted the interim corporate rescue practitioner.
Government and Boustead, which was given rights to use CSC assets for 25 years, jointly applied to have the company placed under corporate rescue to protect assets from being attached over debts.
This is because the agreement between the Government and Boustead allowed CSC to continue operating as a legal entity, thus it remained subjected to lawsuits.
This heavily constrained the investor.
Mr Kudenga had been initially given the mandate to establish if Boustead had the capacity to implement the agreement.
CSC Pension Fund submitted a US$15 million claim.
“Contrary to what is being reported, the creditors never rejected Kudenga. In fact, we never got to a stage of ratifying or rejecting Kudenga’s appointment because the Master had already disqualified him.
“Apparently, there is a lawyer who purported to represent some of the workers. We have done our investigations and nobody whatsoever confirmed to be represented by him,” claimed Mr Masunda.
Mr Kudenga said the meeting never got to the stage were voters got the opportunity to ratify or reject his appointment.
“The Master (of the High Court) told the meeting that she had received an objection that I am conflicted; the reason being the minister was the CEO of ZAS where I am the president,” said Mr Kudenga.
“So the creditors were not given the opportunity to ratify my appointment or otherwise.”
In the report presented to creditors, Mr Kudenga noted that while CSC is currently not operational it can be resuscitated.
He said the entity has the base infrastructure that only needs to be refurbished.
There is also need to assess the assets required by the company.
The company has previously supplied the European Union market and it still has a licence to supply that market.
Reviving the EU market would require building alternative capacity by CSC to handle the bloc’s concerns.
The company also has the capacity to enter new markets.
At the time that CSC entered into the Scheme of Arrangement, it had secured new markets in Angola and in West Africa.
Given its installed capacity, CSC has the ability to spread its tentacles to other international markets, the report added.
Some of the conditions precedent for CSC revival include continued support (financial and non-financial support) from the Government, assumption of foreign loans by the shareholder, settlement of all creditors, securing of funds for refurbishment of facilities and equipment, re-establishing old markets as well as entering new ones.