*Companies that want to enter this market or show growth potential are visited by ZRA, sent by Trade Kings, with all sorts of tax issues and huge bills until the get frustrated and die.
Trade Kings Zambia Limited boasts that it is the largest Fast-moving consumer goods (FMCG) manufacturer in Zambia. This indeed appears to be true and Trade Kings owners Mohamed Khalid-Mohamed and Iqbal Patel are among the richest people in Zambia.
But Trade Kings has built its empire using underhand methods, unethical and predatory market behaviour. Working together and in collusion with the current Commissioner General of the Zambia Revenue Authority (ZRA) Kingsley Chanda, Trade Kings has successfully killed off any exiting or potential competitor in the manufacturing of Detergents, Soaps, Sweets, Lollipops Confectionery, Soya Nuggets, snack food and energy drinks.
Credible sources within ZRA and the industry have explained how Trade Kings has made it impossible to enter this market.
ZRA boss Kingsley Chanda is a personal friend and partner of Khalid-Mohamed and Iqbal Patel. Before being appointed as commissioner general of ZRA, Mr Chanda was a tax consultant for Trade Kings, a relationship that seems to be more beneficial to both parties now. According to ZRA insiders, Trade Kings is the only company in Zambia that gets its tax refunds almost immediately, thanks to its consultant cum ZRA commissioner general. Other companies can wait for many years before getting refund from ZRA. By receiving its tax refunds immediately, Trade Kings has cash for operations all the time while operations of other companies remain on ice due to withheld cash at ZRA. It does not even pay all the tax due, but that is a story for another day.
The so-called competition and consumer protection commission Zambia is in the pockets of Trade Kings and can’t even say ‘nfyo’.
Traders at Kamwala also complain of Trade Kings’ anti-competition behaviour. Trade Kings forces wholesalers and retailers in Kamwala to stock their shelves with Trade Kings products only. Traders who are found breaching this law are banned from ever trading in Trade Kings products. And when a trader is banned from dealing in Trade Kings products, they are doomed because Trade Kings products are dominating the market due to the predatory tactics of Trade Kings highlighted above.
In March 2019, Trade Kings all but killed an energy drink manufactured by a rival company in Zambia.
For almost three months, Power Natural High Energy Drink SX, was banned in Zambia and neighbouring countries after the manufacturer was maliciously accused of adulterating the drink with a male sex booster Viagra. Power Natural Energy is manufactured by Revin Zambia Ltd and was one of the most popular energy drinks among men in Zambia until Trade Kings stepped in to kill it. According to government sources, Trade Kings owner Igbar Patel bribed senior figures at the Pharmaceutical Society of Zambia and other government agencies to concoct laboratory results that would indicate that the energy drink contained harmful drugs. The plot was extended to Uganda and Malawi which also came up with all sorts of charges against the Zambian product.
Trade Kings produces its own energy drinks, such as Kungfu, that are not as popular as Natural Energy, so they needed to protect their inferior products by killing the popular one.
The government finally allowed Revin’s Power Energy Drink on the market but the reputational damage caused both locally and internationally was irreparable and many people still think it’s a banned product.
Before being banned, the drink was also exported to African countries such as Uganda, Malawi and Zimbabwe. But these countries withdrew it from their shelves.
Trade Kings owns Yoyo Foods, a snack food manufacturing entity. Through Trade Kings, Iqbal Patel and Khalid Mohamed also own ‘Big Tree Brands’, a company that produces baby cereals. They also own Universal mining Industries which deals in Iron and Steel.
TO BE CONTINUED….