Mahtani demands K1 b from Simataa

Finance Bank chairman Rajan Mahtani has demanded K1 billion from Simata Simataa for disclosing negative information in the Lusaka High Court contrary to an agreement he allegedly signed to keep quiet about the affairs of the bank after he left in 2007.

Mahtani has demanded the return of the money because Simata has testified in the Lusaka High Court revealing grave internal banking irregularities reported in the Daily Nation last week.

According to evidence Simataa laid in court, two employees of Finance bank were also signitories to the hotelier, a company that Mahtani has sued for debt.

But speaking in an interview, Simataa said that he was not scared by threats from Mahtani because he was not on his pay roll and that he had not signed an agreement to cover up wrong doing.

He has now challenged Mahtani to proceed in courts of law if he was man enough so that the whole truth about the bank could come out.

And when contacted for a comment Mahtani’s lawyer John Sangwa refused to comment saying as advocates they do their work in courts of law and not through newspapers.

A letter of demand written to Simataa, has given him a seven days ultimatum to pay back K1 million (K1 billion) with interest for breaching the agreement, in which Simataa undertook not to reveal any negative information about the bank.

“Our instructions are to demand from you the refund of the said amount of K1 million within seven days from the date of the letter. If this does not happen, or we do not get a reasonable proposal on how you intend to repay this money we have instructions to commence legal proceedings against you to recover the same,” the letter stated.

But Simataa has dared Mahtani and his lawyers to go ahead saying the truth will set both Mahtani and himself free as Zambians would now know the truth which was buried for a long time.

“I dare him to be brave enough and proceed to court so that we can settle this matter once and for all like men. What surprises me about this whole issue is that I received the letter on Friday and I did not make copy of it and handled it over to my lawyers but it is all over on online publications. I hope he is not as usual playing to the gallery. I am a serious person and I don’t entertain his jokes,” he said. Simata explained that he has never heard someone guarding someone hiding good news about the other part, adding that it would be in Mahtani’s interest and the nation to know the truth over the K1 billion (K1 million).

He wondered why Mahtani would pay him K1 billion then and now (K1million) to keep quiet.

“Rajan Mahtani should explain to the public why he would pay K1 billion (K1 million now) to keep me quiet. He should explain to the people of Zambia what is it that I know about him and his dealings worth that colossal sums of money, assuming the contract he claims I have breached to guard me,” Simataa dared Mahtani.

Simataa warned that he would not allow Mahtani to threaten him because he was not on his pay roll, adding that he has never been on his pay-roll. He explained that it was unfortunate that in his letter of claim which he only received on Friday Mahtani was referring to statements he had made before the courts of law of which his (Mahtani) defense lawyers had an opportunity to cross examine him, adding that in one instance they chose not to.  “Let me remind Rajan in case he has forgotten that it was payment in settlement of a case I raised against Finance Bank for constructive dismissal, and that payment was in lieu of me withdrawing the case in court and never seeking to resurrect it,” he said. Simataa a sports administrator said that Mahtani should be aware now that, “The matter would definitely come back from the dead when we meet in court.

And in light of what has been published I have asked my lawyers to look at the possibility of defamation on his part because in that letter they are simply implying that I was paid to keep quiet when it was in settlement of a court case which did not include my pension plus that of 360 others which is still in the Courts of law right now.”