Mashudu Netsianda, Senior Court Reporter
A businessman allegedly hired two hit men to kidnap a Bulawayo man who he had ditched after they disagreed over a $2,7 million pharmaceutical business deal.
Premchand Gulabrai Hassamal and the two hit men were arrested for allegedly attempting to kidnap Mr Charles Makhaza Zulu. The incident occurred last week.
Mr Zulu entered into an agreement with the Hassamal family and they formed a pharmaceutical company in Bulawayo and registered it with the Medicines Control Authority of Zimbabwe on November 5 in 2012.
The company, Emadeni (Pvt) Ltd, secured a $2,7 million business deal with a Malaysian firm to supply its pharmaceutical products in the country.
Premchand together with his brother, Sunilkumar and sister-in-law Kamini were initially in a partnership with Mr Zulu, but later ditched him following a fall-out over the distribution of shares and profits.
Mr Zulu said Premchand instructed his security guard only identified as Jabulani to phone him under the guise that he wanted to supply him with vital information concerning a court order issued against his boss.
“The security guard phoned me and asked me to come to Premchand’s offices situated along Joshua Mqabuko Nkomo Street on the pretext that he wanted to share some confidential information with me related to the court case, which I had won against his bosses. He lied to me that the three Hassamals were out of the country,” he said.
“When I entered the office, I was shocked to see Premchand inside. He was in the company of his property manager and Jabulani. Premchand instructed Jabulani to give me some substance to drink and I refused.”
Mr Zulu said the businessman then ordered his security guard to close the door. He said Premchand and his property manager confronted him and he ran towards the exit door.
“I ran towards the exit before Jabulani could close the door. The security guard grabbed my shirt and I wrestled with him and managed to overpower him and I stormed out. I tucked my hand into my side pocket and Jabulani did not pursue me apparently thinking that I had a weapon,” he said.
Mr Zulu walked to a nearby hotel along Lobengula Street where he sought refuge.
“I didn’t want to go to the police station straight away because I had a feeling that they would waylay me. I reported the matter to my lawyer who advised me to make a police report,” he said.
Mr Zulu’s lawyer, Mr Dumisani Dube yesterday confirmed to The Chronicle that a docket under case number 2607/17 was opened at the Bulawayo Central Police Station.
“My client reported a case of attempted kidnapping by three suspects and a docket was opened against them under case number 2607/17 at the Bulawayo Central Police Station. The three men will appear in court soon once police are through with investigations,” said Mr Dube.
According to court papers, the Hassamals approached Mr Zulu and offered to jointly venture into a pharmaceutical company with him.
Mr Zulu brought in his pharmaceutical expertise while the Hassamal family offered to provide capital and the business premises. Mr Zulu was offered one percent while the Hassamals retained 99 percent of the shares.
Soon after the company was registered, the Hassamals allegedly elbowed out Mr Zulu and barred him from accessing their premises situated at corner Robert Mugabe Way and 5th Avenue.
Last year, they locked the premises and ordered Mr Zulu not to interfere with the operations of the company.
Mr Zulu approached the court citing the three Indians as respondents. He sought an order for spoliation against the trio and an interdict barring them from interfering with the business activities.
Bulawayo magistrate Ms Sithembiso Ncube granted the order in favour of Mr Zulu on December 28 last year.
“It is ordered that the respondents restore applicant’s peaceful possession of Number 61 Robert Mugabe Way/5th Avenue, Bulawayo. The respondents are interdicted from interfering in any way whatsoever with the applicant’s quiet and peaceful possession of the property,” ruled the magistrate.
Mr Dube said the Hassamals did not file opposing papers.
He said they have since engaged the messenger of court to evict the Hassamals from the building.