Listed concern Hwange Colliery Company (HCC) is on the verge of liquidation after Grace Mugabe looted it in cahoots with her side-kick, the British criminal Nicholas van Hoogstraten, Now Daily can reveal.
Shareholders and workers are now demanding a say in the running of the firm after the company abused a loan from India Import Export bank and bought equipment worth millions of dollars, which has now been declared unsuitable for use at Hwange.
The company has not paid workers for more than 20 months although production is taking place and coal is being sold.
Investigations have revealed that proceeds of the sales are going directly to an offshore account controlled by van Hoogstraten and benefitting Grace Mugabe. The theft only came to light after the president’s wife clashed with Savanhu and his disgruntled associates in the syndicate leaked the information.
Deputy mines minister Fred Moyo, a former senior employee of Hwange, confirmed the Zimbabwe Stock Exchange-listed company was on the brink of collapse.
“We are now discussing the intervention of shareholders because the company is being threatened with judicial management and liquidation. So, I am discussing issues past the point where the company’s going concern is now threatened,” Moyo said.
Shareholders and creditors are demanding that the company be wound up and sold piece by piece to pay them. The government has opposed the plan to shut down and says it will be paying institutional creditors through treasury bills from the Ministry of Finance. Unpaid workers are up in arms that authorities are prioritising institutional creditors when employees have not been paid for 15 to 20 months. The company has not come clean on measures to pay them and the unions are disgruntled.
Moyo however denied that the workers were being ignored.
“What we are trying to do is to avoid the company from going into judicial management or liquidation. We want to bring all creditors together, discuss with them, agree on how shareholders can protect them, allow them to have payment plans put in place and then give the company the chance to raise capital, which will not be intercepted by creditors and therefore try and resuscitate the company. So, all creditors will be looked at. In any case, the law expects workers to be at the top of the creditor priority list,” said Moyo.
He said management “has been instructed to put a specific arrangement that will give some level of comfort to employees on an ongoing basis” but would not give details.
Moyo denied that government had ordered the purchase of ‘wrong equipment’ through the India bank loan but said the state was now investigating the matter as the company faced liquidation.
“The importation of the equipment which was capital investment was done by the company, board of directors and management without the shareholders necessarily being directly involved,” Moyo said. “Yes, the issues that happened upstream of that have been raised and we are going to be looking into that issue as well. But, I am talking of preempting potential company exposure in its going concern aspect.”
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