The Mansa Milling Management Buy Out will soon meet to decide the fate of Mansa milling following the death of its owner Ben Tetamashimba, the Watchdog has been informed.
Before Tetamashimba died, a dispute had arisen whereby the MBO had reported him to the the Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC) for alleged abuses at Mansa Milling company.
The meeting, which is to be convened soon, according to sources, will consider withdrawing the report from the ACC.
Sources also disclosed that the other item on the agenda will be to consider reconciling with Tetamashimba’ s daughter who has inherited her father’s estate.
When contacted for a comment, Leonard Chabala Kataya chairman of the Mansa Milling Management Buy out refused to discuss the matter.
Kataya, who before the death of Tetamashimba was in constant touch with the Watchdog directyl and through his son in UK, pretended not to know the Watchdog at first.
He later said he will get back after the meeting.
On July 8, 2009 Kataya wrote to the Director of the ACC, accusing Tetamashimbaof depositing company money into his personal account after closing company accounts.
“I humbly write to you, to bring to your attention the misdeeds and fraudulent acts that have transpired at Mansa Milling Company Limited as a result of the involvement of one of the Government Ministers by the name of Mr Benny Tetamashimba.
“Upon joining hands with Mansa Milling Company Limited’s management in April 2008, Mr Tetamashimba within one month contravened the Companies Act (2000) Cap 388 Section 19 Part 3(b) by unlawfully terminating the services of two senior management team members without notice who have worked for over 25 years for no tangible reasons. The two management members never ceased to be members and never delivered a signed notice in writing to that effect.
“Similarly after five (5) months he decided again to contravene the same law quoted above or others similar from the Companies Act 200 CAP 388 by writing to unlawfully terminate the services of another senior manager without notice on 5th October 2008 (copy of letter attached as Exhibit A), who is at the same time the Chairman of the Management Buy Out (MBO) and has worked for the company for over thirty (30) years. No apparent reasons were given but just to consolidate his selfish personal interests using his ministerial jacket.
Mr. Kataya told the ACC in the letter also copied to president Rupiah Banda, the police and DEC that Mr Tetamashimba without consulting anyone closed the Mansa Milling Company Bank Account.
“We believe he did this to pave way for his dubious transactions of siphoning money from the company and thus defrauding Mansa Milling Company Limited. He thereafter conveniently started to fraudulently bank the sales proceeds directly to at least two accounts namely his personal account in his name as Benny Tetamashimba and in a business account in the name of Norwest Quarries Company Account based in Solwezi and which is legally not related or affiliated to Mansa Milling Company by law.
Mr. Kataya also accuses Mr. Tetamashimba of altering the shareholders agreement to include his daughter.
“Initially before the shareholders agreement was signed, it was agreed that 50% shares will be offered to any interested party while 50% was to be retained by the MBO Team. To the surprise of other shareholders, the agreement signed on 9th January 2009 in Lusaka was falsely and intentionally altered to read that Rachel Tetamashimba gets 80% while the MBO gets 20%.
” I, as Chairman of the MBO Team with some other shareholders were not party to the signing of this agreement so that room to alter final contents was facilitated to suit Mr Tetamashimba’s group. Since that time, Mr Tetamashimba has made himself a self-imposed sole shareholder and continues to defraud or swindle the company without fear of prosecution and with no regards or respect for the Companies Act CAP 388, while still sidelining the same MBO management team,” reads part of the complaint.
It further states that “we further want to clarify Mr Benny Tetamashimba’s usual outburst to the general public that he is the owner of Mansa Milling Company Limited. This is NOT TRUE. He is just represented as a shareholder through his daughter by the name of Rachel Tetamashimba as per our initial shareholders agreementment mentioned herein and as such Mr Benny Tetamashimba is NOT LEGALLY part of the SHAREHOLDERS in Mansa Milling Company Limited as per Companies Act CAP 388 Section 203”
“…since Mr Tetamashimba joined the Company from April 2008 to date, we suspect that he has already swindled monies to a tune of over K3 billion through company sales and has banked these monies in his two accounts he is associated with namely (a) his personal account in name of Benny Tetamashimba and (b) Norwest Quarries in Solwezi.
“Further he has not declared any dividends and his ideas of swindling and defrauding the company yet again has shown him to be one who has no regard and respect for the Laws of Zambia, besides none for the company, and the society in general.”
Benny Tetamashimba has caused enormous stress and suffering to the families of managers/shareholders whom he has sidelined illegally and have made to suffer for no apparent reason but for his selfish interests and greed and by abuse of his public office. He has simply used his constitutional public office as a Government Minister to transgress the Laws of Zambia especially that pertaining to the Companies Act Cap 388, on the pretext that he is above the law and is untouchable.
Benny Tetamashimba has so frequently exhibited acts of selfishness, pomposity, dishonesty and mistrust that even the general public in Luapula Province is not happy with his approach and attitude to the masses. Mr Tetamashimba has taken the law in his own hands and decided to use his public office as a Minister to subject people of Luapula to starvation and intimidation and all sorts of evil doings, his continuous sign of total disregard for the Zambian Laws and especially his oppressive approach as described under the Companies Act 2000 CAP 388 Section 239.
“The company called Norwest Quarries has no relations legally with Mansa Milling Company Limited and does not satisfy the Companies Act (2000) Cap 388 Section 43 in any way. It is neither a subsidiary or sister company nor affiliate as per stipulations and requirements and guidelines of the said Act quoted within the appropriate Laws of Zambia. We suspect that Norwest Quarries has been just one of the formulae of swindling Mansa Milling Company Limited’ of monies that Mr Tetamashimba decided alone without the agreement and approval of other shareholders, to bank Mansa Milling sales monies in his two accounts he is associated with as explained earlier. He has also been using Mansa Milling Company Limited’s letterheads and correspondence with “(subsidiary of Norwest Quarries Limited)”
“To ascertain the truth, Mansa Milling Company Limited Accounts and assets including his two associated accounts should be audited and investigated by your offices so that the truth can be established and justice can prevail. Mr Tetamashimba cannot call for such an action because he is an interested party and will want to avoid any process that could lead to his prosecution as he thinks he can circumvent or transgress laws of the land using his public office.
We suggest that the access to Mansa Milling Company Limited’s assets and books be immediately frozen to keep all records and evidence intact and enable you audit and investigate this case thoroughly. Depending on your findings, once the sales and profits embezzled or misappropriated are established, we propose that the balance owed thereafter be paid back so that the Company can start operations automatically as before and be run by the original MBO Team; the remaining profits (if any) be deposited in a newly opened Mansa Milling Company Account.”