Rudland leaves CFI

Source: Rudland leaves CFI | Daily News

HARARE – Businessman Hamish Rudland has resigned from CFI Holdings (CFI)’s board ahead of a second extra-ordinary general meeting (EGM) called by Willoughby’s Investments (Private) Limited (Willoughby’s) in Harare today.

This also comes as the Stalap Investments (Private) Limited (Stalap) representative’s internecine fights with Nicholas van Hoogstraten had reached fever pitch and such that four key directors had left in frustration.

While Rudland was unreachable for comment yesterday, sources said the ZHL Holdings Limited (ZHL) majority shareholder had resigned “to save his reputation and after solid legal advice that any unceremonious departure would soil or affect his other directorships”.

“He has not only left, but I understand the companies he represents are due to issue statements to confirm the development,” they said, adding his lawyers had told him “to strategically withdraw and prepare to fight another day”, and that Stalap’s on-going lawsuits would continue.

With Willoughby’s EGM expected to call for Rudland and ex-chief executive Shingirai Chibanguza’s ouster from the CFI’s board, among other things, the tenacious businessman was also expected to make an impassioned please to shareholders for them to vote against Van Hoogstraten’s plans “to control the struggling firm without checks and balances”.

“The onslaught by shareholder companies ostensibly controlled by… Van Hoogstraten against Stalap, National Social Security Authority, myself, my fellow directors and the general investing public has been unprecedented and totally unacceptable,” read a document he was due to present at Wednesday’s meeting.

“…Van Hoogstraten and his associate companies are not Zimbabwean, he does not reside in this country and does not feel the pain that investors and companies have endured over the past 17 years.

He is an opportunist that has a history of destroying and devaluing companies where he has interests,” Rudland said.

“The methods used by this shareholder and his associates undermine the integrity of capital markets and have caused damage to the entire stock exchange, not only at CFI, by creating uncertainties for investors and minority shareholders,” he said.

With the Stalap representative accusing Willoughby’s of causing the departure of chairperson Grace Muradzikwa, Douglas Mamvura, Ephraim Chawoneka and acting CE Timothy Nyika through  “intimidation and harassment”, Rudland also accused the British businessman of using illegal means to effect board changes, protecting unsavoury characters at the beleaguered agro concern and exploiting legal loopholes in Zimbabwe.

This was after Van Hoogstraten had called for another EGM last month — seeking to reverse the disposal of an 81 percent share in Langford Estates — and which degenerated into chaos after the ZHL investment vehicle had questioned the legitimacy of Itai Valerie Pasi in presiding over the meeting.

With Willoughby’s accusing Rudland of abusing his authority to push for “free use of company property by Swift and resulting in CFI suffering prejudice to the tune of $100 000, and suppressing an internal audit on Glenara Estates”, the latter has vehemently denied the charges and says that his nemesis was out to tarnish the image of the company.

The ZHL major shareholder, however, said it makes sense for shareholders to remove Chibanguza —  a director nominated by Willoughby’s — who has been charged and found guilty by an independent panel of nine counts of fraud involving $1,8 million at Farm and City.

“Chibanguza has been suspended by the company and the matter has been referred to the CID special fraud squad. Shingirai Zinyemba, a director also nominated by Willoughby’s, has also been cited in the

investigations. He is the managing director of Bellevue Butcheries and Abattoir. The two directors collected cash receipts without authority and allegedly converted them to personal use,” Rudland said.

“As a director I am desirous of ensuring that good corporate governance practices are put in place in the company for the protection of all shareholders.

“Based on the investigation it is clear that Shingirai has breached his fiduciary duties to the company and should be removed from office,” he added.