By MARTIN MUSUNKA –
ZAMBEZI Portland Cement (ZPC) management has cautioned business executive Rajan Mahtani and his group against dragging President Edgar Lungu and the Zambian Government into the perceived ownership wrangles at the cement company.
Meanwhile, the company has dismissed, as unfounded, allegations by Bishop John Mambo that workers at the cement-manufacturing firm are subjected to inhumane body searches.
“We would also like to request Bishop Mambo to leave the President of the Republic of Zambia Mr Edgar Lungu and the Government out of the ownership dispute of the company between us and Dr Mahtani,” the spokesperson said in a statement.
“He should not drag the President into our perceived wrangles because that is tantamount to lack of respect for the Presidency.”
The company spokesperson said it was unfortunate for Bishop Mambo to allege that President Lungu and his Government had no interest in the workers at ZPC when the issue of legitimate ownership was between the two parties.
He said ZPC management upheld strong work ethics and culture and would continue to undertake routine disciplinary processes and formal security checks, like at any company, which should not be interpreted as racism and an insult to the workers.
The spokesperson said ZPC management was perturbed by the misrepresentation of facts by Bishop Mambo who wanted to wage war against the legitimate owners of the cement company in his desperate antics of wanting to help Dr Mahtani to shift attention from real issues surrounding the company.
“We dare Bishop Mambo to come out clean on the issue of ZPC rather than fabricate stories on the operations and legal status of our cement company and misleading the general public with his concocted statements,” he said.
The spokesperson reiterated ZPC’s earlier statement in which it assured customers and the general public of prompt product and service delivery as they are in control of the repossessed assets and ignore Dr Mahtani’s purported ownership of ZPC.
He said it was outlandish for Bishop Mambo to brand ZPC managing director Mr Antonio Ventriglia as a racist when he had stayed in Zambia for more than 58 years during which period he had lived and worked with people of different races without such insults being hurled at him.
The spokesperson further said Bishop Mambo’s biased remarks regarding the deportation of Mr Ventriglia and other directors were meant to mislead the public on the residence status of the Ventriglias.
He, however, said that management was fully aware that the deportation was instigated by Dr Mahtani in order for him to have a free hand on the operations of ZPC.
“We followed laid-down legal processes to challenge the action and the courts ruled that there was no material evidence for the deportation of the founding directors. We would like to remind Bishop Mambo that, following our decision to challenge the deportation, the Lusaka High Court recently ruled that the rightful owners of the cement firm are the Ventriglia family. In case he is not also aware, the court also quashed the deportation order of 2012,” he said.
He added that it was a known fact that the claim by Dr Mahtani of 58 per cent ownership of ZPC through Finsbury Investment was fraudulent, illegal and forgery which they would not accept.
“For about seven years, no original transfer share documents have been submitted to the Patents and Companies Registration Agency (PACRA), a situation which raises a lot of dust. We pride ourselves in credible business undertakings and we shall always endeavour to follow the legal systems in an event of underhand methods being engaged by the likes of Dr Mahtani,” the spokesperson said.
On Friday police summoned Dr Mahtani for questioning.
Police spokesperson Charity Chanda, who did not disclose reasons for Dr Mahatani’s summoning, said details would be known when he appears before police in two weeks time.-
Story courtesy SUMA SYSTEMS via Times of Zambia