State acts on acting Finance Bank chair



GOVERNMENT will soon decide whether Finance Bank acting chairperson William Nyirenda can retain his chairmanship of the Patent and Companies Registration Agency (PACRA) where his predecessor at the bank Rajan Mahtani is alleged to have transferred to himself 500 million shares from Zambezi Portland Cement.


Minister of Commerce Margaret Mwanakatwe said in an interview that she had received a letter from Mr Mulenga Fube, a governance activist, and she would give a response before the end of this week.


“Yes I’m aware of the letter and I can confirm that the response will be given before the end of this week,” she said.


Mr 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 PACRA where the alleged forgery by Dr Mahtani took place.


In a letter to Ms Mwanakatwe and the 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.


When he did not a response from the Minister  wrote a second letter where pleaded that the office of the Registrar of PACRA should be protected.


In his letter availed to the Daily Nation yesterday, Mr. Fube said there would be a conflict of interest when Dr Mahtani who was arrested by police on 2nd June 2015 on alleged offences of forgery appears in court because Mr. Nyirenda was appointed by him.


Dr  Mahtani who is facing alleged offences of forgery owns Finance Bank and appointed Mr Nyirenda as chairman of the bank.


“Kindly refer to my letter of 4th June 2015 on the above matter to which I have not received any response.


In the letter referred I suggested that in order to protect the office of the Registrar and PACRA itself, the PACRA chairman should resign or be removed from his position.


This is because the person or persons who are likely to assist with investigations and testify in the alleged forgery in the Mahtani case is the Registrar of PACRA or PACRA employees who report to Mr. Nyirenda  the same person who is a director and chairman of Finance Bank owned by the accused person,” the letter read in part.


Mr. Fube said he had consulted with lawyers over the same matter and threatened to commence legal proceedings if no action would be taken.


He said that Mr. Nyirenda would be privately prosecuted for disobedience of statutory duty under section 126 of the Penal Code as read with section 35 under section 309A of the Banking and Financial Services Act.


Mr Fube  said this was meant to protect the Zambian public and to safeguard good governance in public institutions.


He 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.


On June 2, police 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.


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