Asa board jets in

The Sunday Mail (Zimbabwe) - - BUSINESS - Africa Moyo

ASA Re­sources Group (for­merly Mwana Africa) board is ex­pected in Bin­dura this week to clear the air af­ter the re­cent cri­sis where more than US$4,3 mil­lion went miss­ing at gold pro­duc­ing unit, Freda Re­becca.

The scan­dal — which in­volved in­di­vid­u­als sec­onded by the com­pany’s largest in­di­vid­ual share­holder, Mr Yat Hoi Ning — later claimed the scalps of Mr Yim Kwan (fi­nance di­rec­tor), Mr Ed­mund Zhang (for­mer chief pro­cure­ment of­fi­cer) and Mr Yuan Hu Ching (non-ex­ec­u­tive di­rec­tor).

While the for­mer chief ex­ec­u­tive of­fi­cer Mr Yat Hoi Ning holds a 7,6 per­cent stake in the group, China In­ter­na­tional Min­ing Group (CIMGC), the big­gest share­holder,has 16,2 per­cent eq­uity.

Last week, Asa com­pany sec­re­tary Mr Ian Barry Dear­ing told The Sun­day Mail Busi­ness that the board will try to mend the rep­u­ta­tional dam­age caused by the axed di­rec­tors.

“The board of Asa in­tends to meet in Bin­dura next (this) week to pull to­gether a num­ber of threads and plan the next steps in con­sol­i­da­tion of the group.

“I hope that my col­leagues in Bin­dura will have pre­pared ad­di­tional back­ground in­for­ma­tion to en­able de­tailed plan­ning of a new project, to ben­e­fit part of the com­mu­nity in Bin­dura, to get un­der­way,” said Mr Dear­ing.

“I will share de­tails of this planned project with you once I have the rel­e­vant board ap­provals (but) the present po­si­tion is that both BNC and FRGM are car­ry­ing on busi­ness as usual to try and con­tinue to make good any dam­age which was done to their busi­nesses and af­fairs by ex­ter­nal and in­ter­nal in­ter­fer­ence from per­sons who no longer have any role with the com­pa­nies or the group.”

Though Asa re­ported that US$4,3 mil­lion could not be ac­counted for, sources said more than US$15 mil­lion could have been si­phoned.

Ac­cord­ing to the min­ing group, the con­tro­ver­sial share­hold­ers, who were re­cently re­ported to be plot­ting a come­back, have not been heard of since the scan­dal blew up.

CIMGC and Mr Yat are be­lieved to be plan­ning to req­ui­si­tion an ex­tra­or­di­nary gen­eral meet­ing that is de­signed to turn the ta­bles against Mr Toin­depi Mu­ganyi, the in­terim CEO of Asa and CEO of Freda Re­becca; and Mr Bati­rai Man­hando, the in­terim ex­ec­u­tive di­rec­tor.

The duo, ac­cord­ing to the Chi­nese share­hold­ers, is re­spon­si­ble for their woes. A re­cent re­port leaked from the com­pany ac­tu­ally ac­cused Mr Mu­ganyi of prej­u­dic­ing Freda Re­becca US$7,7 mil­lion fol­low­ing the ac­qui­si­tion of al­legedly over­priced, sec­ond-hand ball mills for the Toi mills num­ber 4,5 and 6 in April last year.

He was also ac­cused of do­ing so “with­out fol­low­ing the ap­proval and re­port­ing pro­ce­dures of the board of di­rec­tors of FRGM and Asa”.

The to­tal ex­pen­di­ture for the ball mills is said to be over US$11,7 mil­lion when sup­pli­ers of brand new ones in China, in­clud­ing in­stal­la­tion with equiv­a­lent pro­duc­tion ca­pac­ity at En­gi­neer­ing, Pro­cure­ment and Con­struc­tion (EPC) terms, might have cost ap­prox­i­mately US$4 mil­lion.

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