HomeBusinessHow NSSA thwarted tycoon van Hoogstraten’s AGM plot

How NSSA thwarted tycoon van Hoogstraten’s AGM plot

The businessman’s bid to appoint four directors — Shingirayi Chibanguza, Alexander Hamilton, Maximilian Hamilton and Ian Haruperi—on the board was blocked by shareholders at a stormy Annual General Meeting (AGM).

“Despite an earlier amicable agreement, on the eve of the AGM, the Minister of Tourism (Walter Mzembi) directed NSSA to vote against our nominations,” van Hoogstraten said.

On Monday, NSSA had agreed to vote alongside van Hoogstraten.

This proposal came after Econet had appointed four people on the board and van Hoogstraten thought by virtue of having 36,07% in the hospitality group, he was entitled to four seats on the board.

Econet has a combined shareholding of 36% after factoring in Afre Corporation’s stake.

NSSA has 12,64% in RTG.

Mzembi confirmed that he had consulted other government departments before the meeting and had given the businessman an audience where he told him to wrap up the RTG debate in the media.

“What he is doing (talking to the media) is sabotaging the asset and its value and I will not sit and watch. He is undermining a government asset,” Mzembi said.

Government, through the ministry of Tourism has 5,05% shares in RTG.

Mzembi said the businessman “cannot go head on fighting him or the government”.

Van Hoogstraten said he would call an extraordinary general meeting of shareholders “to expose inter-party dealings between Econet, Renaissance, Afre and RTG which have recently prejudiced the company of several million dollars”.

Van Hoogstraten then asked how a company that was debt-free had now accumulated debt of over US$20 million.

In response to the US$20 million debt, RTG CEO Chipo Mtasa said the group had long-term loans of US$10 million borrowed to refurbish two of its facilities, A’Zambezi River Lodge and Rainbow Towers.

She said that RTG had borrowed a US$9 million short-term loan for working capital requirements.

“The issue of debt is not confined to RTG alone. That is the general business environment issue,” she said.

When van Hoogstraten asked about progress to recover US$5,1 million in RMB, Mpofu said the group was in constant touch with the curator and indications were that “there won’t be any loss suffered”.

Unconvinced, van Hoogstraten hit back: “The fact you have been avoiding is that the money shouldn’t be with Mickey Mouse people in the first place.”
RMB is currently under curatorship after being ripped apart by founding directors, according to a central bank report.

 

THE AGM THAT WAS NO ORDINARY SHAREHOLDERS’S MEETING

Wednesday’s RTG AGM was no ordinary meeting of shareholders.

When the RTG chairperson, Tracy Mpofu called for the meeting to resume van Hoogstraten was up from his seat questioning the financial performance of the company and how its association with ReNaissance Merchant Bank (RMB) was now affecting the group.

At that point, Mpofu solicited the view of the group’s lawyer Addington Chinake.

Chinake said that according to the Articles of Association, an AGM is called in terms of specific agenda of the notice issued and any member who had questions was required by law to give notice to the secretary.

That had not been done. The business mogul was up again accusing certain directors of working with “fraudsters” that had left the hospitality group in problems.

Anthony Mandiwanza stood up and said that perennially, the hospitality group’s AGMs “are characterised by squabbles which do not add value to our investments.

“It is important that if there is anybody who is concerned, that person can exercise his or her views through the ballot,” he said.

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