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Waverley empire haunts deceased’s daughters as nephew shuts them out

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By Mary Taruvinga

DAUGHTER of the late Victor Eric Cohen, founder of the Waverley Blankets empire, says she has not known peace after the death of her father as her nephew, Aron Vico is trying to shut them out.

Vico is the current Managing Director and has been accused of changing directorship, forging documents and signatures in a bid to elbow Cohen’s daughters out.
Zimbabwe Anti-Corruption Commission (Zacc) has of late issued several warrants of search and seizure against Vico to recover some of the documents used to acquire the companies and the properties without the knowledge of other shareholders.
Vico has however made court applications trying to block Zacc from carrying out its work.
Cohen’s daughter Amanda Berkowitz (nee Cohen) and her sister Belinda Halfon nee Cohen in light of the circumstances have filed a High Court application seeking to be joined to all legal proceedings saying they risk missing out on important information regarding their father’s empire.
They also sought Vivo’s mother, Debra to be joined to the proceedings as well as one of Waverley Blankets Pvt LTD subsidiary, Tanrest Trading Pvt LTD to be included as well.
In her founding affidavit, Berkowitz said the two have direct interest in the outcome of the pending court applications filed by Vico blocking Zacc from conducting searches at Cohen’s entities.
“There has been a request for release of these documents but there have been selectively provided for, and whilst the few that have been selectively provided for are forged documents, a fact I will fully canvas in the course of my affidavit,” she said.
Berkowitz went on to explain that there were some important documents which have never been seen by some of the directors and shareholders including herself and Belinda.
She also told the court of how she had to learn about some changes after she visited the Registrar of Companies herself upon realising that Vico was playing mind games.
Berkowitz said the process was difficult and costly.
Cohen’s daughter prayed that if her application was granted, she would want the respondents to release information including meeting minutes from April 2016, special resolutions from the same period and financial statements among other crucial documents.
She also accused Lakshimakanth Boddapati, a secretary in some of the entities of withholding information unilaterally, involving share allotment collusion and numerous litigations.
Before his death, Cohen according to his daughter, gave her daughters 33 percent share ownership to all his companies save for Waverley Blankets.
However, Vico is accused of having changed everything.
“There have been material changes made to these entities without my knowledge as a director including but not limited to diffusion of the share allotment, bringing in of new players, restructuring of the directorship of these entities and institution of legal proceedings resulting in million dollar loses without prior informed consent of shareholders or some of the listed directors,” said Berkowitz in the court application now before the High Court.
The matter is yet to be heard.