Information reaching The Gazette suggests that Gaborone property magnate Sayed Jamal could soon be the country’s biggest media owner through his hostile and covert takeover of Mmegi Investment Holdings (PTY) LTD. shares through longtime share holders Metlhaetsile Leepile and Titus Mbuya.
If the allegations are true, it would mean that Jamal now owns stakes in Duma FM and Gabz FM, Mmegi Newspaper, its sister publication Mmegi Monitor, the Botswana Guardian and its sister paper Midweek Sun.
Two close sources to the Mmegi shareholding case revealed to this publication that it is highly probable that four new directors appointed to the Mmegi board in December, namely Metlhaetsile Leepile, Titus Mbuya, attorney Efan Khan and Eugene Mukomeza are fronting for Jamal. One source noted that Khan is Jamal’s attorney, and that Mukomeza is his finance manager.
Responding to the allegations, Mukomeza denied the allegations of fronting but confirmed that he has been working for Jamal as his financial manager for the past 10 years.
For his part, Khan dismissed the allegations, saying, “I am not Jamal’s attorney. He is a client to the law firm I am working for.” The Gazette can confirm that when the matter of shares appeared before the Court Of Appeal on January 10, Khan represented Leepile and Mbuya. The case was scheduled for extension of a temporary order suspending the judgment of the High Court.
Leepile who appeared furious during an interview at his office asked why he would front for someone when he has been working with Mmegi for the past 30 years. “I need not front for anybody,” he charged.
Jamal has previously denied allegations of any connection in the tussle at Mmegi. Mmegi Investment Holdings (PTY) Ltd, together with shareholders Monageng Mogalakwe and Burton Mguni yesterday (Monday) summoned the company’s two ‘new directors’ Leepile and Mbuya for contempt of court following their new appointments.
Leepile and Mbuya were last December granted judgment by a High Court declaring that they have validly purchased from the trustees of Mmegi Publishing Trust 355, 122 shares worth P5 million in Mmegi Investment Holdings (PTY) Ltd.
Aggrieved by the outcome of the judgment, Mmegi Investment and other 12 shareholders appealed the verdict before the Court of Appeal. They then made an application that the judgment should not be implemented pending the appeal. A day after they filed the application and served Leepile and Mbuya, the duo then went ahead and implemented the judgment, and Mmegi Investment was also granted the order on that day.
It was then that Mmegi Investment filed an application for contempt of court against the duo.
In January last year, Mmegi Publishing Trust issued a notice to sell 355, 122 of its shares to interested parties. Two months later, the company secretary issued a notice to all its shareholders and gave them 30 days to buy the shares.
A day before the deadline, two of the shareholders, Leepile and Mbuya bought half of the shares at P2.5 million each. After the closing date, the 13 shareholders complained that the offer was not due, because they believed that it was valid for 30 working days not the 30 calendar days in which the offer was closed.
They argued that the sale be started afresh as there were irregularities in it. Members of the board of directors of Mmegi Investment also refused to effect registration of the shares into the names of Leepile and Titus. It was then that Leepile and Titus dragged the 13 shareholders before the court on an urgent application.