CONSOLIDATED livestock feed producer, Feedmix, says Yitbarek Tekie, has no shareholding in the company and is making unfounded claims to soil its image.

This comes after Tekie alleged he was muscled out of the company.

Lawyers represending Alex Kirkman, whom Tekie accuses of muscling him out of the company, Wintertons Legal Practitioners, he was desperately trying to have them locked up having failed to do so earlier this year after raising the same allegations.

The lawyers also allege that Tekie is not a director at Feedmix.

As the dispute unfolds, the company further said it is not embroiled in any shareholder dispute as alleged by Tekie.

“Our clients and in particular Mr Kirkman are not involved in any shareholder dispute with Yitbarek Tekie, the source of the information in your article. His dispute is with Mr John Taylor,” the lawyers said.

They also said their dispute is presently the subject of pending litigation following cancellation of the agreements on the basis of which he would have become a shareholder.

The matter is therefore sub-judice.

According to Wintertons Tekie was removed as a director of Feedmix at a meeting of shareholders February 18, 2021, implying he therefore ceased to be a director of the company on that date and the company records were updated accordingly.

After being removed as a director, it is alleged that he sought to have its executives, Kirkman and Taylor arrested.

It is also said when the prosecution could not give Kirkman and Taylor a trial date, which they insisted on from the time they first appeared in court, an application for refusal of further remand was made and was upheld.

The lawyers said the impression created in initial media reports that Tekie was denied documents by Kirkman and Tayler is misleading.

“As laid down in the Criminal Procedure and Evidence Act, at the instigation of our client, the IO obtained a warrant of search and seizure from Rottenrow Magistrates court to secure documents that Tekie had directed them to obtain,” the lawyers’ letter reads.

“The warrant was executed and the documents that were identified were collected from Feedmix with the full cooperation of management at Feedmix.”

“Still, the prosecution could not sustain the trumped-up charges with all the documents they had collected. If any further documents were required, the police could have secured a further warrant for this.”

“Most importantly some of the allegations against Tayler did not require any documents from Feedmix. It was an allegation based on information or documents that were exclusively in Tekie’s possession.”

The lawyers also said the impression created that Kirkman and Taylor did something wrong or untoward in order to get off the charges is wrong and has no basis.

“Kirkman denies meeting the IO after the case against him was dismissed. For the record, they consistently asserted their right to be given a trial date to clear their names. Sadly, they were denied that opportunity.”

With regards to the fraud of US$1,5 million, the case against Kirkman according to Wintertons, was for alleged prejudice of US$157 000 which Tekie could not sustain.

The prejudice alleged in the case against Tayler was US$615 000. The lawyers said there was no fraud case of the alleged amount.

Coming to the issue of death threats, the lawyers said Tekie made similar accusations before.

“The allegation that a hit-man was hired to kill Tekie is not new. The allegation was first made at the shareholders meeting of February 18, 2021,” they wrote.

It is said a letter of demand asking Tekie to retract the defamatory statement was written to him.

When he did not, legal proceedings for payment of damages for defamation in the sum of US$200 000 were commenced against Tekie in the High Court under case HC898/21 on March 23, 2021.

The matter is still pending.

It is alleged that upon realising that the fraud case will not stick, Tekie made a further report at CID Homicide for conspiracy to commit murder.

According to the lawyers, this report was made notwithstanding that he was defending a lawsuit against him for making these false allegations.

The matter was taken to the courts on May 21 this year and the prosecutors, according to the lawyers, after reading through the allegations made against Kirkman and Tayler, determined that there was no reasonable suspicion that they had committed any offence and refused to place them on remand on this charge.

“The police were asked to do further investigations. Nearly seven months later, there have been no further developments.”

They also said at no stage was an audit requested as stated by Tekie. The lawyers said board minutes of all meetings held during the time Tekie was a director contain no such request.

“That was the reason why the trumped-up charges were made up in the hope that Kirkman and Tayler would be locked up so as to give Tekie unfettered access to the company.”

Wintertons also says the board of directors in place is not fraudulent but properly constituted in accordance with the law and the company’s constitutive documents.

“Our clients are law abiding citizens and have no desire to harm Tekie. They have since differences arose with him and dealt with him in accordance with the law.”