Bard Santner CEO accused of orchestrating the arrest of former shareholding partners

by | Oct 16, 2023 | Local News | 0 comments

Bard Santner CEO and Former Access Finance Group Managing Director Senziwani Sikhosana, is being accused of orchestrating the arrest of his former shareholding partners and withdrew US$60,000 to pay off law enforcement agents, in a failed “hostile takeover plot” that severely strained the company’s key relationships.

Isau Bwerinofa, a director of Access Finance, made the bold accusations against Sikhosana, in an opposing affidavit in response to Sikhosana’s High Court application.

Sikhosana is suing Access Finance directors for breach of contract, claiming that they failed to transfer three townhouse units worth US$320,000 to him as part of his exit package after he sold his shareholding to the company in 2021 following a fall out.

Bwerinofa argues that Sikhosana has been collecting rentals from the properties in question since 2021, describing his former partner’s demands as “premature”. He further argued that, in any case, he has not completed the necessary paperwork around the transfer of his shareholding back to the business.

The opposing affidavit reveals that the relationship between the partners had long since broken down as a result of a complete loss of trust and confidence following events in 2021.

In their defense, the majority shareholders, who between them own 80% of the company, describe how Sikhosana had attempted to do a hostile takeover of Access Finance while his partners were incarcerated, withdrawing from the company $60,000 to allegedly bribe various individuals.

Bwerinofa said that there are minutes and an audio of a shareholders meeting where Sikhosana confirms his actions. He said that this evidence is available to be turned over to the court if needed.

Prior to this, the directors argue, Sikhosana had prejudiced the business of close to US$200,000 which he agreed to pay-off through deduction from the separation fee due to him.

Bwerinofa was particularly frustrated that his former partner had allegedly masterminded the arrest of his fellow directors, leading to a breakdown in the partnership between key shareholders.

The events unfolded in September 2021 when Sikhosana’s business partners, who were also directors of the company, were apprehended on charges of violating the Exchange Control Regulations. Remarkably, Sikhosana managed to escape the legal system by fleeing the country and sought refuge in South Africa, evading an arrest warrant, his former business partner told the court.

Upon his return to Zimbabwe in January 2022, Sikhosana faced no legal consequences, unlike his partners who had been detained for 21 days. Bwerinofa pointedly questioned how Sikhosana, an executive director, was never arrested, despite being labeled a fugitive by the police.

“It was clear that the First Applicant (Sikhosana) orchestrated our arrests, and he was fully aware that we would be arrested. He conveniently disappeared,” Bwerinofa argued.

“He was unbothered by the fact that his refusal to hand himself over to the police was part of the reasons why we were denied bail at the Magistrates Court. How was the warrant for his arrest cancelled when he never appeared in court? The cumulative effect of all this was to erode all trust and confidence in the First Applicant, resulting in the parties parting ways. He was prepared to do anything to ensure that he wrestled control of the Access Finance Group from us, the majority shareholders.”

Bwerinofa alleged that while his partners were incarcerated and unable to defend their interests, Sikhosana made several questionable financial moves. He withdrew over US$60,000 from company accounts during his South African exile, claiming that the money was needed to secure his freedom in Zimbabwe.

Turning to other facets of Sikhosana’s current court application, Bwerinofa argues that a dispute in terms of the Share Purchase Agreement should go to arbitration, not to court.

He raised several legal technicalities, including issues of jurisdiction, locus standi, incompetent relief, fulfillment of agreement terms, and arbitration.

Bwerinofa’s affidavit argued that Sikhosana had no right or capacity to bring the application before the court, adding to the complex and contentious legal battle that has ensnared Access Finance’s key stakeholders.

Source: Kukurigo Updates


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