Government embroiled in Trek Petroleum ownership fight

Government embroiled in Trek Petroleum ownership fight
Energy Minister Simon Khaya Moyo

Energy and Power Development, Minister Simon Khaya Moyo

A MAJOR shareholder in Chaparrel Trading, a petroleum retail company operating the Trek Petroleum brand, has challenged government’s takeover of the company in the High Court, alleging the transaction was irregular, fraudulent and violated the proprietor’s rights.
Energy and Power Development Minister, Simon Khaya Moyo, told Parliament early this month that government had bought the firm through the National Oil & Infrastructure Company of Zimbabwe (NOIC). But Max Makuvise, who claims to own 51 percent of the business, argued that the transaction had not been authorised by members and that it was “unlawful and fraudulent”.
In court papers filed last week, Makuvise cited Chaparrel Trading (Private) Limited and Trek Petroleum (Private) Limited alongside two individuals — Deone Le Roux and Patricia Jane Browell — as defendants.
He said Le Roux and Browell had alienated, disposed and transferred Chaparrel’s assets, which relate to eighteen service stations, to Trek Petroleum (Private) Limited, which the two had incorporated without the approval of shareholders.
Chaparrel had used Trek Petroleum as a trading name, which was not registered as a company.
On January 8, 2018, Makuvise wrote to the chief executive officer of NOIC, Wilfred Matukeni, claiming ownership of the brand Trek, its goodwill and related signage.
“There was no general meeting of Chaparrel that approved the transfer, alienation or disposal,” said Makuvise’s lawyer, Tawanda Tandi, of Kantor & Immerman legal practitioners, in his letter to Matukeni.
In the High Court papers filed on February 13, Makuvise alleged tax evasion and fraud against Trek Petroleum Private Limited, and two of its directors, Le Roux and Browell.
“The alienation is of a fraudulent character, because there is misappropriation of money, property and the business which belong to (Chaparrel Trading)…in which the plaintiff and other members are entitled to participate in,” he said.
He said the alienation prejudiced the interests of shareholders and was done without public notice.
“It is therefore prayed that the said unlawful alienation be set aside,” Tandi said.
There have been questions over government’s motive in buying Trek, which has a tax liability amounting to $45 million emanating from an assessment and penalties charged by the Zimbabwe Revenue Authority (ZIMRA).
ZIMRA garnished Trek’s bank accounts after its investigations established that Chaparrel was related to the firm through common shareholding.
A raid by tax officials on Chaparrel in early 2016 revealed an outstanding tax liability of $44,2 million.
Chaparrel Trading contested the tax bill and the matter remained unresolved until August 2016, when ZIMRA demanded the outstanding tax, which had now been revised to $45 220 636,28.
Based on information obtained from Trek’s documents and from a laptop that ZIMRA officials seized from Browell, it was established that the business was maintaining two sets of financial statements, one of which reflected higher scales of income than those submitted to the tax authority. newsdesk@fingaz.co.zw

  • Arnold Madzima

    Cry my beloved country.

  • Valentine Jomwe

    In court papers filed last week, Makuvise cited Chaparrel Trading (Private) Limited and Trek Petroleum (Private) Limited alongside two individuals — Deone Le Roux and Patricia Jane Browell — as defendants. Pane nyaya

  • Tarerai Gambe

    Simon Khaya Moyo, does not inspire me.

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