The Sunday News
Vincent Gono, Sunday News Reporter
A legal tug-of-war has exploded between a Bulawayo businessman and his estranged wife over a bakery with accusations and counter accusations flying as they battle for a stake in the business.
This was after the wife got a protection order barring the man from visiting the bakery thereby keeping him in the dark of all its operations. The wife, according to the application, allegedly opened another company in the same line of business in Harare in partnership with her mother who owns a percent in shares while she owns 99 percent and the man suspects that she is diverting company funds and assets from the bakery in Bulawayo.
The businessman, Mr Tendai Tarinda, through his lawyers Liberty Mcijo and Associates, filed an urgent chamber application at the High Court where he cited the company — Cake Fairy (Pvt Ltd) as the first respondent while his former wife Ms Kathy Mwanza is the second respondent seeking an order for provisional liquidation of the company. The company specialises in cake baking and selling of baking ingredients.
Mr Tarinda is fighting for his shares in the company where he states in his application that his being barred from physically accessing the company premises and records is clear malice on the part of Ms Mwanza with the intention of committing fraud adding that Ms Mwanza also interfered with the banking system so as to bar him from accessing company funds including those that were due to him.
He further alleges that Ms Mwanza had opened a new shop in Harare in the same line of business known as Cake Designs where she owns 99 percent shareholding while one percent is owned by her mother. In his application dated 2 October 2019 Mr Tarinda prays that the proposed liquidation will allow for winding up and dissolution of the company and that its assets and particularly his shares be protected from mismanagement and possible disposal by his estranged wife.
He said he was a co-director of the company with Ms Mwanza who was his customary wife, having equal shareholding in the company of 50 percent each but due to a strained marital relationship they can no longer co-direct or co-manage the company.
“This is an application for an order placing first respondent company under provisional liquidation in terms of section 207 as read together with section 206 (g) of the Companies Act (Chapter 24:03),” reads part of the application papers in possession of Sunday News.
The application points to a series of meetings between Mr Tarinda and Ms Mwanza’s lawyers — Coghlan and Welsh where positive conclusive results were reached.
“On the 29th of July the second respondent filed a frivolous application for a protection order under case number P/O 337/19 in an attempt to maliciously eliminate me from the company on false allegations of emotional and verbal abuse and further alleging that I was taking money from the company without her consent and abusing her and the employees. In her application she sought that I be interdicted from going to her place of work which is Cake Fairy which was also my place of business,” argued Mr Tarinda in his application.
He said under advice of their legal teams the two agreed to an out of court settlement of the case where he agreed for the sake of progress to consent to the protection order to prompt for the audit from where the dissolution of the company was going to be born.
The application further states that the agreement to have the audit carried out by PNA Chartered Accountants to reveal the general state of finances, the adequacy of obtaining accounting systems, the extent of any prejudice suffered by the business, the liability thereto and the potential value of the business was later withdrawn by Ms Mwanza’s legal advisors claiming that there was a variation of what was initially agreed.
“The 2nd respondent’s legal practitioners expressed a change of heart through their letter dated 21st August trying to allege that they could not allow for the audit since I had allegedly taken documents of original source which I vehemently denied and alleging further that the audit was being forced onto their client when they had previously consented to it firstly through their letter dated 2nd August and as a condition precedent to my consenting to the protection order,” states the High Court application by Mr Tarinda.
He added that on the 5th of September Ms Mwanza through her legal practitioners caused summons to be issued out under case number HC 2085/19 where she alleged dissolution of their universal partnership and prayed to be awarded 100 percent shares in the company amongst other jointly acquired assets.
Mr Tarinda said efforts for him to be furnished with all books of accounts, sales reports and cctv passwords were still not made available to him after his estranged wife’s lawyers claimed that the lawyer dealing with the matter was not around.