CAPITAL Base Savings clients have turned to the Governor of Manicaland in a desperate bid to recover the money they ivested.
In a petition to Cde Mushohwe, dated January 21, 2013 - which this paper has in possession - the clients pleaded with the Governor and the heavens to intervene and help them recover the money.
"All the people now look forward to your assistance as they feel that there is a lot going on at Capital Base than that which meets the eye. They have placed their hope in you in view of the word of the Lord in Proverbs 3:27 which say "withhold not good from them to whom it is due, when it is in the power of thine hand to do it". We humbly ask you sir in the name of the Lord, Jesus Christ to help these clients as they have nowhere to run to," reads part of the petition.
Cde Mushohwe could not comment on the petition saying he was still on leave and would start work soon.
Manicaland Provincial Administrator, Cde Fungai Mbetsa, acknowledged receipt of the petition and said since it was addressed to the Governor it would be best for him to comment.
The petition was signed by members of the society Board of Trustees and Board of Management.
Reads the petition: "We, the beleaguered clients of Capital Base Society, hereby seek your hand, Cde Governor, to assist us recover our investments from Capital Base Society. We invested with Capital Base Society at various points from 2009 to 2012 when the society collapsed. Our agreement provided for monthly interest (rates) which started from 30 percent down to 15percent by the close of 2012. At the close of 2012 around end of October, the society failed to pay the contractual interests. Ms (Solomy) Kambunda, the director of the society was hauled by angry clients to the police. After the clients revisited their actions, it was unanimously agreed that she should be released and two boards, the Management Board and the Trustees Board were set up to work with Capital Base. This led to a signing of a Memorandum of Understanding between the two parties.
"The director, Ms Kambunda, on the day of her release, promised clients that she was going to start repaying back the capital amounts from the 10th of December 2012 to 10 January 2013. She promised the two boards (that she was going) to pay $250 000 installments after every two months. She has failed to meet the first targeted date as she has only paid 125 out of 600 clients initially promised. She did not even disclose the total amount she has paid so far. This failure has angered the clients who had their initial meeting on the 12th of January 2013 which she absconded…it was (at) this meeting that the clients resolved to approach your honourable office for assistance."
In the petition the clients revealed that the society was operating with a capita figure of $29 million.
"Investigations done so far by the clients' board show that Capital Base Society has over 10 000 clients with a capital base of around US$29 million. The clientele base is a mixture of old retired pensioners, widows and orphans, government workers, retrenchees from companies which have closed down, small businesses and powerful politicians and business people".
The Board of Trustees chairman, Mr Phillip Masudze, said what the clients wanted was to recover their money.
He said apart from petitioning the Governor they had since engaged the Small and Medium Enterprises Ministry to chart the way forward.
"We are not going to achieve anything by fighting or trading harsh words. We need to sit down and come up with strategies that ensure that our membership gets what they are owed. Taking the criminal or civil prosecution route will not take us anywhere because we will not get anything at the end of the day. The society has inventory valued at less than $1 million dollars so if we sue it, the society will be liquidated and the $1 million will not serve us all. We need Capital Base to find alternative ways of paying us back," he said.
The latest developments come amid growing speculation among the clients that the society's top brass might have externalized their savings to South Africa.
Ms Kambunda has since refuted these allegations saying the society has no money because it used it to pay interests.
She said the missing millions were paid to the same clients as interest and thus the society needed more time to exploit the little resources it has and generate more income to pay people.
"As we speak, we are working flat out to generate money and pay back. We are into timber business which is doing very well. We need time to make money and honour our dues," she said.