Foreign investors in one of the country’s biggest stockfeed producers, Feedmix Zimbabwe, are reportedly planning to pull out of the venture citing malpractices bordering on corruption by some of the company’s local shareholders.
Feedmix co-owner Mr Yitbarek Tekie said it was unfortunate that the investors were pulling out because of lack of a shared vision amongst the shareholders.
Mr Tekie, said he acquired a 50 percent stake in the company in January 2020, in collaboration with an international equity investor.
He said his international partners target companies with strong growth and profitability potential and were convinced by Feedmix’s operations, hence the investment in the company.
He said his involvement in FeedMix transformed it from a loss-making entity at the time of acquisition into a profitable business that had doubled its revenue by October 2020.
“Unfortunately, evidence of a pre-existing toxic workplace, including race and gender-based harassment emerged. After repeated attempts to remedy the situation, it became clear that my values were not shared by my partner Alex Kirkman, leading to our decision to exit the firm.”
An offer to sell Tekie’s shares or buy out Mr Kirkman’s on favourable terms was rejected.
“A third party offer for our 50 percent was rejected by Mr Kirkman. He was objectionable to the offer on the account that the prospective buyer was indigenous.
“Mr Kirkman invited Mr John Taylor back to cancel the sale in order to have the shares contested and unsellable. Mr Taylor’s return was fraught with fraudulent acts of desperation.
Mr Tekie said he received an e-mail from a partner in Nairobi stating: “Yit, your passion for Zimbabwe is admirable, however, the vision we collectively had for impact investment cannot be sustained.”
Mr Tekie said the forceful takeover of Feedmix by Mr Taylor and Mr Kirkman despite a High Court case he won was incomprehensible and pointed to corruption by some individuals in law enforcement.
Forensic audit reports seen by the Herald showed that Mr Taylor had declared non existent assets worth US$2,2m.
Another audit report showed an effort by Mr Taylor and Mr Kirkman to strip assets of the company with many irregular bank withdrawals which appeared to be fraudulent.
Mr Tekie and other partners have submitted a report to the Zimbabwe Anti Corruption Commission (ZACC) claiming corruption by some individuals in law enforcement.
Mr Taylor and Mr Kirkman could not comment on the matter yesterday.