Vingirai ousted from ZB board in high-noon showdown with NSSA


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Nicholas Vingirai’s return to high finance suffered a dramatic setback when ZB Financial Holdings shareholders voted against his re-election to the board following a charged confrontation with institutional investor NSSA at yestrday’s annual general meeting.

NSSA is ZB’s largest shareholder with a 37.79 percent stake, with Vingirai’s Transnational Holdings Limited (THL) being the second biggest, with 19.79 percent.

The government, which previously held 23.5 percent, is now a 3.71 percent shareholder after agreeing to cede 19.79 percent to THL following a legal battle that led to a May 31 2016 agreement between the parties.

Old Mutual has a 5.5 percent stake in ZB.

Vingirai lost his Intermarket Holdings Group at the height of the 2004 bank crisis when the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe intervened to arrest a liquidity crunch by bailing out troubled banks and ejecting several owner-managers it accused of financial imprudence.

The central bank took over Intermarket before selling it off to ZB, then a rival banking group.

Vingirai, however, fought back and reclaimed his shareholding, but has had a tempestuous relationship with fellow shareholder NSSA since his 2016 comeback, tangling over board appointments, a contentious dividend payment and his quest for a bigger stake.

At the heart of the raging shareholder feud is a $658 699 dividend paid by ZB to THL on January 23, 2017, and the latter’s claim of an additional 10.9 million ZB shares, or 6.21 of the financial group’s total issued shares.

NSSA, which has shirked its reputation as a supine investor since investment banker Robin Vela was appointed chairman in 2015, has protested against the dividend payment.

The $1.3 billion statutory pension fund argues that the record date for the payment was June 17 2016 and THL was only registered as a ZB shareholder on February 6 2017.

Because the government was still on the ZB shareholder register on the record date, it had received a dividend payment from the financial group.

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The Insider

The Insider is a political and business bulletin about Zimbabwe, edited by Charles Rukuni. Founded in 1990, it was a printed 12-page subscription only newsletter until 2003 when Zimbabwe's hyper-inflation made it impossible to continue printing.

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