Nssa not affected by High Court ruling

HARARE – The National Social Security Authority (Nssa) said its assets and operations are not affected by the recent High Court ruling which nullified the acquisition of Renaissance Financial Holdings Limited (RFHL).

Nssa chairperson Robin Vela yesterday said the national pensions administrator disputes the inferred effect of nullification.

“In addition, the public is advised that the authority was never a party to these proceedings, nor indeed are the several other creditors who were involved in, and were signatories to, the agreements and transactions leading to Nssa’s acquisition of the said shareholding in the bank,” he said.

The tough-talking Vela said there is no existent Court Order or pending legal proceedings setting aside these agreements and transactions, or indeed holding them to be unlawful.

“The public is reminded that Capital Banking Corporation Limited’s licence was cancelled and there are ongoing proceedings for its liquidation presently before the High Court. The necessary steps are being taken for Nssa to assert its legitimate right and ownership of its interests in Capital Bank,” he added.

This was after High Court judge, Justice Owen Tagu, this week declared that the RFHL board of Christopher Chetsanga, Collin Kahuni and Monica Mukonoweshuro had been “validly dismissed from their directorship” of RFHL at an extraordinary general meeting (EGM) of January 25, 2012.

He ruled that any business the three had “purportedly undertaken” on behalf of RFHL soon after the EGM was “null and void and of no force and effect”.

Chetsanga and his board had, soon after their dismissal by shareholders, signed off agreements facilitating the takeover of RFHL by Nssa, which had targeted a cache of assets held by FMHL, whose assets are valued at $248 million, according to the company’s latest balance sheet.

Market watchers had opined that the ruling will affect Nssa’s acquisition of FMHL, which was on the basis of its assumption of a controlling interest in RFHL.

Nssa has a 51,33 percent stake in FMHL, followed by Capital Bank Corporation Limited, which has a 20,08 percent shareholding.

Capital was a unit of RFHL which had been rebranded from Renaissance Merchant Bank.

The judgment, made after the case had been referred back to the High Court by the Supreme Court following an appeal by Nssa of an earlier judgment, is likely to tear up the planned takeover of short-term insurer, NicozDiamond, by FMHL).

FMHL’s planned takeover of NicozDiamond, majority-owned by Nssa, was voted for by shareholders at EGM held over a fortnight ago.

Patterson Timba, who controlled RFHL before Nssa’s takeover, had apparently warned NicozDiamond and former majority shareholder, Zimre Holdings Limited, against the transaction, arguing that it could be embroiled in a shareholder dispute that was at the courts.

Timba, then RFHL’s chief executive officer, appeared vanquished after allegations of delinquency at RFHL’s subsidiary, RMB that resulted in the financial institution being placed under curatorship.

The Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe cleared Timba a few years ago.

Timba declined a request for comment, referring enquiries to Thabani Mpofu, the advocate who was instructed by his lawyers in the case.

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