THE appointment of William Nyirenda SC as chairman of Finance Bank Zambia Plc following the arrest and resignation of Rajan Mahtani who was until this week the chairman of the bank, has been challenged.
Mulenga Fube, a governance activist, has protested the appointment of Mr Nyirenda as chairman of Finance Bank Plc citing conflict of interest because he (Nyirenda) is also the chairman of Patents and Companies Registry Agency (PACRA) where the alleged forgery by Dr Mahtani took place.
In a letter to Commerce Minister, Margaret Mwanakatwe, Bank of Zambia and copied to the Managing Director of Finance Bank Plc, Mr Fube said the fraudulent transfer of 500 000 000 shares from Zambezi Portland Cement to Finsbury Investment took place at PACRA, an institution chaired by Mr. Nyirenda.
Mr. Nyirenda when contacted confirmed his position at PACRA but said he was only going to respond to Mr. Fube’s complaint after seeing the letter.
When asked if his position as chairman of PACRA would undermine the investigations against Dr Mahtani, Mr. Nyirenda responded: “If that be the case, we shall respond when we see the document.”
Mr Fube said he had written a public interest complaint against Mr Nyirenda to the Minister of Commerce and the Bank of Zambia because the new Finance Bank chairman was deeply conflicted to chair the bank.
He complained that Dr Mahtani could not appoint Mr Nyirenda to succeed him as chairman of Finance Bank because the forgery allegations he (Mahtani) was facing were committed through PACRA.
Mr Fube said Mr Nyirenda’s appointment had the potential to undermine the due process of the law and could easily interfere with PACRA and public interest.
“The offences of forgery involving the transfer of 500 000 000 shares from Zambezi Portland Cement to Finsbury Investment can only be conducted at the Patents and Companies Registry Agency (PACRA), a public body chaired by Mr William Nyirenda SC. The acceptance of this appointment by Mr Nyirenda to be chairman of Finance Bank owned by the person being prosecuted conflicts with his position as chairman of PACRA, an institution where the forgery offences are alleged to have been committed. This conflict is likely to undermine the due process of the law and interfere with PACRA and public interest,” Mr Fube said.
He said the Bank of Zambia should consider Mr Nyirenda’s position as chairman at PACRA before approving him as chairman of Finance Bank so that the due process of the law could be protected in dealing with Dr Mahtani’s forgery case. Police early this week arrested Dr Mahtani for fraudulently transferring 500 000 000 shares from Zambezi Portland Cement to Finsbury Investment and he immediately stepped down as chairman of Finance Bank and immediately appointed Mr William Nyirenda to succeed him.
In a brief statement, Finance Bank stated that Dr Mahtani was arrested on an offence the State through suspended Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) Mutembo Nchito had entered a nolle prosequi and then Attorney General Mumba Malila made an undertaking that the matter had been permanently closed.