For 20 years, Friday Ndhlovu did everything in his name, powers, skills and knowledge to raise Investrust, an indigenous bank from nothing.
Sadly, Friday Ndhlovu is now languishing at some farm after Robinson ‘Meanwood’ Zulu and Rupiah Banda grabbed his bank, which he has suffered to create and build to its current international status.
After working as Managing Director for ZANACO, Friday Ndhlovu in 1995 founded Investrust Merchant Bank. He was the executive chairman, meaning he was the head of the board and management. This is how most emerging companies are run.
But in 2000, as the company grew, he relinquished his dual role by giving up the position of board chairperson. He became the managing director. Dr Justine B Zulu took over as chairman. The bank continued to grow in assets and branch network.
As a Public Limited Company, the bank listed on the Lusaka Stock Exchange in 2007. Earlier in 2002, the bank had changed its name from Investrust Merchant to Investrust Bank PLC.
Being listed on the Stock Exchange meant that members of the public could purchase shares in the company. That is how Robinson Zulu of Meanwood and Rupiah Banda came in the picture.
By April this year, Meanwood Zulu by himself and through other agents had acquired enough shares in the bank to push out the founder and formerly majority shareholder Friday Ndhlovu.
So on May 1, 2015, Friday Ndhlovu was kicked out as managing director of Investrust.
He was replaced by no other than Richard Chembe, an associate, confidante and former economic advisor for Rupiah Banda during his short, corruption filled presidency. Even Dr Justine B Zulu was removed as chairman and replaced by Dr. Jacob. M. Mwanza.
It was Dr Mwanza who announced the dismissal of the bank’s legitimate owner and founder .
In April, a source close to the case told the Watchdog that,
‘There has been a corporate “coup” at Investrust Bank resulting in major shareholder Friday Ndhlovu losing his job of CEO.
It is said that the instigator of the move was a once trusted friend and confidant of Mr. Ndhlovu, Robinson Zulu of Meanwood Investments. The latter has over the recent past been scooping up Investrust Bank shares on the LuSE thus amassing up to 20% stake in the bank. The move has been justified on basis of Investrust’s poor financial results in the last two years. However, what is interesting is how Zulu whose Meanwood Financial Services business has been struggling and may soon lose its license can throw mad at Friday Ndhlovu. Mr. Ndhlovu has been replaced by Dr. Richard Chembe, former Economic Advice to RB.
The source further said:
‘Apparently, the real reason behind Ndhlovu’s firing has been a settlement of old scores. Mr. Ndhlovu as Chairman of the LuSE Board is said to have influenced the Board not to renew the contract of Beatrice Nkanza, who was LuSE CEO before Brian Tembo.
‘ Now, Beatrice Nkanza is the older sister to Womba Kamuhuza Zulu the wife to Robinson Zulu.
‘As one of the major shareholders Robinson has a seat on the Investrust Board, which proxy is Eddie Samakai a brother to his wife. However, recently Robinson Zulu has been pushing for a second seat which was supposed to be given to Beatrice Nkanza. Ndhlovu together with other major shareholders have resisted this move as they all have only one seat each.’
That is how Friday Ndhlovu lost his job and the bank he built from nothing. He is now an old man and it is doubtful that he still has enough energy to start up something or get another job. But Meanwood Zulu is smiling, enjoying all the sweat of Friday Nhdlovu for 20 years.