Police attempt to seize private home of Zambezi Portland Cement executive

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Zambia: Zambian police have allegedly been spotted attempting to seize control of a private residence owned by Valerio Ventriglia, one of the executives ousted from Zambezi Portland Cement (ZPC) company as part of a contested corporate raid by Finance Bank chairman Rajan Mahtani, according to local media.

The reports claim that police officers were seen approaching the property in violation of a court order. Sources said that this was an indication that police are acting in the service of a private businessman against the law. The police raid comes just days after the Ndola High Court ruled that Ndola State did not have any proof linking the construction of the home to money laundering and fraud allegations brought by Mahtani against the founders ZPC.

On 27 June 2014 the Ndola High Court ruled that the Zambian police must hand over the property to its rightful owner or an appointed representative. Failure to carry out the court order would result in a bench warrant issued against the Police Commissioner for failing to obey the Court’s Order. After police complied with the order and handed over the house to a representative of Ventriglia, a day later the Police Commissioner informed the representative that Mahtani ‘had already spoken to the inspector general of the Zambia Police’ and that on 2 July 2014 the police would repossess the property once again against the order of the court.

The ZPC legal saga has featured a number of revelations, including allegations of forged share transfer certificates and an allegedly illegal board of directors meeting to oust the company founders from control of the company. Ventriglia, along with his brother Daniele Ventriglia, were deported from Zambia to Italy in November 2012 despite a court injunction. The police have also played an intricate role in the ZPC dispute, as they refused to serve Andrew Kamanga with an injunction preventing him from acting as managing director of the ZPC, while a force of more than 200 armed officers in full riot gear were deployed to forcefully seize control of the company in December 2012.