HARARE – Within four months, listed banking group BancABC has survived two raids from Mackie Diamonds BVBA (Mackie)-led bailiffs after a $10 million dispute.
Although the company’s attorneys and executives have declined to comment on the basis that “proceedings leading up to Wednesday’s raid were held in camera”, businessdaily witnessed a second mini drama at the bank’s Harare head-office when court messengers pounced on cars in the aftermath of the Belgium-based gem dealer’s recent legal victories.
Yesterday, a man driving the combative process and top Harare lawyer Jonathan Samukange confirmed that Mackie was eager to seize BancABC’s assets, in execution of a writ.
“This is the first time… we are attaching property from,” the feisty solicitor said, without disclosing further details.
This also comes as Samukange has been at the centre of another Mount Pleasant storm, where his client threw out one of Innscor Africa’s SPAR Zimbabwe grocers for failing to pay rentals amounting to $63 000.
But even, though, BancABC has endured a torrid time from the controversial diamond trader — led by Lebanese entrepreneur Jamal Joseph Hamed — observers said the debt wrangle was unlikely to hurt the five-tier financial behemoth.
With an asset base of $600 million, the bank could easily pay or dispense of the Rand 86 million ($8,6 million) cash outlay — although it may feel hard done by the fact that Mackie owes it in excess of $10 million.
When the issue broke out in February, it emerged that the retail group had no business relationship whatsoever with the European-domiciled company, but was still struck with a writ from Hamed’s representatives. The man also owns Premier Diamonds Limited.
In that episode, bailiffs led by assistants from Venturas and Samukange tried to impound cars and other property from the Harare-headquartered bank and after a peculiar High Court judgment from Justice George Chiweshe.
“What is interesting is that the issue also involves another diamond trader and miner Anjin Investments. It is understood the dispute arose from a loan extended to Hamed for the purchase of Marange gems from the Chinese-Zimbabwean army-owned company,” said a source then.
And after a follow-up on its monies, BancABC has found itself on the other end of Mackie’s wrath.
However, the executions were temporarily stopped after the bank’s lawyers lodged a Supreme Court appeal on the grounds that they were not afforded ample time to prepare responses.
But with the courts ordering a High Court re-trial, BancABC lost the subsequent and protracted battles.
And even, though, Hamed does not dispute owing BancABC some money, he wants the R86 million or American dollar equivalent garnished from his accounts returned. – John Kachembere