Golden Grill workers vow to fight on
BULAWAYO – Golden Grill Fast Foods (Golden Grill) workers — who controversially took charge of the food chain after its owner, Paul Evans, fled the country allegedly for fear of persecution by politicians — have vowed to maintain control of the business.
In reaction to a series of articles by this paper, the workers — who have since reregistered Golden Grill as All Stuff Supplies — yesterday defended their position, saying everything about the move was above board and within legal parameters.
They accused Evans of being insincere and deceitful at the time he left.
Mayibongwe Zvigadza, the finance director, told the Southern News that Evans was no longer the owner of the company since he ran away from the massive debts he had accumulated.
“All Stuff Supplies is the name of our organisation, formerly known as Stoneyroad Catering, which was trading as Golden Grill,” Zvigadza said.
“It should be noted that when Evans ran away, he left the company in huge debt and the monies ran into thousands of dollars. The organisations that he owed were Zimra, Nassa, Drummond, Tilbar Butchery, CBZ and huge amounts in unpaid salaries among others,” he said.
Zvigadza showed Southern News court documents dated September 21, 2006 in which the Deputy Sheriff attached the entire equipment at one of the company’s branches in the CBD.
This was after a property attachment notice had been issued on March 21 that year.
“After we lost all the equipment, we asked for donations from a certain organisation which then kindly heeded our appeal. We then looked for money and managed to retrieve some of the properties. Evans also left the shops empty. So, basically there is nothing for Evans except the name Golden Grill that is still on our shop,” Zvigadza said.
“As if that was not enough, we also received an eviction notice from our business premises by John Pockock in March again, but we had to engage them and pleaded with them and fortunately they understood,” he said.
The workers, who are also known Zanu PF youths, also dismissed allegations that war veteran George Mlala was part of the illegal takeover of the company.
“We never worked with . . . Mlala, these are all lies meant to drag us into politics, yet this matter is purely a labour issue which should be dealt with by those who are into labour,” he said.
Zvigadza said they queried the power of attorney that was transferred to Evans’s long time business partner Douglas Siziba.
“Siziba . . . wanted to take advantage of Evans’ departure and he was never a business partner . . . The power of attorney is fake, why was it done in Botswana if it was genuine? Siziba was never part of the company, we only knew him as a vegetable vendor who used to supply Golden Grill,” he said.
Zvigadza said the latest move to try and take away the company was ill-advised.
“Evans and Siziba are just trying to politicise everything such that they get sympathy from the new political dispensation. We know that Evans’s escape was not political; he was running away from his debts. He is just trying to get sympathy.”
Last week, Siziba, together with Evans’ lawyer, officially made a report to the Zimbabwe Anti-Corruption Commission (Zaac).
The workers, however, said the anti-graft body was welcome, as they also wanted Siziba and Evans to be investigated for their alleged crimes involving the business.
“We are very happy that they have taken the initiative to report the matter to Zaac, it’s good because the truth is now going to come out.
“We are very confident that Siziba and his accomplices are the ones who are going to be caught on the wrong side of the law. Our hands are clean and we are quite confident that at the end of the day, the truth shall come out and the crooks will be prosecuted.”
Paul Evan’s lawyer speaks out
BULAWAYO – Exiled Golden Grill director Paul Evan’s lawyer has finally opened up on the matter involving the “unlawful” acquisition of his client’s fast foods chain by workers.
Evans allegedly left fearing political persecution.
While the lawyer Vonani Majoko of Majoko and Majoko Legal Practitioners refused to delve in the political aspect of the matter, he confirmed that Evans at one point met senior Zanu PF politicians in a dispute involving his business.
“I never dealt with politicians in the matter, Paul did tell me that he met with some but I am not aware of the political side of things,” Majoko told Southern News, before he gave his side of the story on the matter that is now in the Zimbabwe Anti-Corruption Commission (Zacc)’s hands.
This comes after the anti-graft body sent its team here last week as part of the first leg of their probe into the matter.
“I managed to meet the Zacc officials this week, there are many aspects on how Paul and his wife were unfairly dealt
with and we agreed that I will need time to compile a proper report.
“There are many things involved, it’s not only Golden Grill but his former bakery Gold n Crust where all bakery equipment was illegally sold,” he said.
Douglas Siziba is one of the complainants in the matter after he was also hounded out of Evans’ business empire, despite the fact that a power of attorney had been transferred to his name such that he could continue running the business.
Majoko, however, dismissed the new Golden Grill owners.
“They cannot be new owners of the business without there being a sale of either the business or shares. If property has been removed, except under lawful authority, it’s a clear case of theft,” he said.
One of the major arguments that the workers raised when they refused to leave the Golden Grill was that Siziba could not be in charge of the business since he was holding a fake power of attorney, which was authorised in a foreign country, an allegation Majoko dismissed again.
“There is no power of attorney which is fake, one was signed by Evans in Botswana before a notary public and a commissioner which was regular, the other one was signed in South Africa and properly authorised in respect of both, they are perfectly valid.
“We have used these in courts and the courts have actually accepted them and orders have been issued based on those documents. . . . Siziba’s authority has been accepted by the courts on the basis of those powers of attorney. He has the authority to run the companies.”