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Tetrad directors intimidate shareholders



TETRAD Investment Bank’s (TIB) interim management has threatened to take legal action against one of the financial institution’s shareholders after he requested for financial information on the defunct bank in a bid to evade transparency and accountability in the running of the affairs of the institution.


 This comes amid a heated row between TIB shareholders and directors for the control of the closed financial institution’s US$13 million as[1]sets portfolio.

 Shareholders led by Jackie Levey and Dimitri Divaris are battling it out with directors led by Andre Lourenco Vermaak and trustees such as John Pybus.

 Divaris, son of the late former Miss Zimbabwe pageant organiser Kiki Divaris, said most shareholders, who include the elderly and vulnerable, are unhappy over the state of affairs at Tetrad. They want a different arrangement in management.

In a letter addressed to Dimitri, TIB’s acting chief executive John Graham referred an in[1]quiry made by a shareholder to the company’s lawyers.

“Thank you for your reminder and the tele[1]phone conversation which preceded it contain[1]ing your request for financial information. In this regard as previously advanced: “In respect of the properties, a listing which you have previously received from the bank, the rights of Tetrad to the properties have been verified by the auditors. Not all properties are registered directly in the name of Tetrad, as some are held in subsidiary companies,” Graham wrote to Divaris in a letter dated 22 May 2022.

“The income statement cannot be published without RBZ approval, which approval is de[1]pendent upon the completion of the audit by Deloittes. We are hopeful that the audits will be completed in the near future. We trust that you are not suggesting making unfounded pub[1]lic accusations which, as you are aware, will be defamatory and actionable.”

This demonstrates the ongoing battle for the heart and soul of Tetrad. Shareholders are complaining about a lack of return on investment, while directors and management are defending the status quo from which they benefitting.

Last week, in a bid to contain a growing shareholders’ revolt, the defunct TIB — taken over by depositors eight years ago through a debt-to-equity arrangement — dragged Bard Santner Investors to court to prevent the asset management company from engaging the disgruntled stakeholders.

Bard Santner Markets Inc has taken over Tetrad’s managed portfolio of clients. Bard chief executive Senziwani Sikhosana (pictured) spiritedly defended his clients who are also bank shareholders, and those who are not, saying they have done nothing wrong in engaging investors as they only want to get a return on their investments.

 “Some of our clients are shareholders in Tetrad Investment Bank. Through them, other minority shareholders have reached out to us for help. As a result, we want to know how their investment portfolios are performing. That’s why we are here. That’s our job. When we act and ask questions on behalf of our clients, we expect answers whether the company is listed or unlisted; not stonewalling, intimidation or scare tactics,” Sikhosana said.

 “Our clients expect nothing less than that and so do our regulators. There is no passive investment in our world. We simply want our clients and other shareholders to get a return on their investments. We are open for business to those who want to engage us and we are always ready to help.”

 Initially, Tetrad Holdings, established in 1995, comprised financial services (a merchant bank, TIB; asset management entity, TFS Management Company; a microfinance unit, Multiridge Finance; and an insurance company, Tobacco Hail Insurance), a mining and mineral resource processing company, Tetrad Resources; a property development and management company, Tetrad Properties; and other interests.

However, when the group closed in 2014 it was broken into different entities. This left the bank, TIB, in the hands of depositors after a debt-to-equity scheme of arrangement. TIB was incorporated on 12 June 1995 as Tetrad Securities Limited.

The institution commenced operations in 1996 after obtaining a licence to operate as a discount house in terms of the Banking Act. Tetrad Securities Limited’s discount house licence was converted to a merchant banking licence on 6 March 2009.

 However, TIB’s licence was withdrawn by the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ) in 2014. In 2015, the bank was then placed under provisional liquidation, while it looked for a new in[1]vestor. Its liabilities exceeded assets by US$1.5 million.

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