The case between Dr. Mahtani and the Ventriglias for Zambezi Portland Cement is definitely catching national attention. It can be easily considered as among the longest pending high-profile case across Zambia’s corporate sector. The company was previously run by Dr. Rajan Lekhraj Mahtani. However, it has been claimed that the factory was illegally taken over by the Ventriglias, a popular Italian family in Zambia known for their increasing notorious nature. Going by market opinion, it has been suggested that Dr. Mahtani will be winning this case by a wide margin.
Since the start of the court proceedings, Dr. Mahtani and his company Finsbury Investments have submitted numerous evidence which confirms his real ownership over the factory. He holds the legal shareholder’s agreement as per which he holds 58 percent shares in the factory. Also, independent audit report on the factory states that the project was started as joint-venture with Dr. Mahtani holding joint-venture partnership. Rest all members of the board were shareholders. This automatically gives him the legal ownership with the majority of the shares. At the same time, the Ventriglias are yet to submit any proper document to support their claim. Reports have also suggested that the Ventriglias have often avoided court proceedings by making excuses and not appearing, especially when they were asked to submit evidence. This can be attributed as a major reason for this long pendency of the case. At the same time, the factory conditions clearly indicate negligence from the Ventriglias. Loss of profitability, low production, non-payment of salaries and wages, equipment malfunction and increasing agitation among workers are few of the characteristics of the cement factory which once used to produce in excess.
The judge handling the case has confirmed closure of case hearing and has assured that final judgment will be given soon once the evidence submitted from both ends are evaluated properly.