Shareholders, who have been kept in the dark for more than two years, demand answers

Leseja Mokgata

Leseja Mokgata

Shareholders of R1billion worth of shares in a company called Ubambo have been kept in the dark about the status of their shares for more than two years since the launch of the private equity deal in 2004.

Leonard Mnisi, of Pimville, Soweto, along with hundreds of other investors, has been waiting for information about the future of his money.

Mnisi said: "I bought R60000 worth of shares at R2 a share in 2005.

"A friend of mine recommended them to me and brought me the share certificate once she bought them."

Mnisi said all attempts to contact Ubambo and the unlisted share broker that sold the shares, Buyer's Equity Guide, were met with "dodging" and finger pointing.

"I tried calling the number on their brochure and they told me the company wasn't available," he said. "Now I can't even get any information and I just want to sell them off."

Sowetan tracked down Buyer's Equity Guide chief executive Michael Berk at the company's offices in Sandton.

Berk overlooks advisory and intermediary services for the company, including all financial matters.

He provided the phone number for Ubambo where the four Ubambo directors - Shahiem Bouwer, Pascal Simelane, Yusuf Mohamed and Garry Howell - were all out of the office, and would not be available until today.

Ubambo has not provided investors with mandatory annual financial reports for more than a year. The company is not registered with the Financial Services Board, although this is one of the requirements for a company dealing in equity.

In April this year Ubambo chairman Garry Howell promised to let shareholders know where they stood.

Yesterday, Berg said: "We can't sell these shares since there is no market for them.

"We were promised by the new chairman of Ubambo that the latest financials will be out by the year end which is not far off. Once we have these, the question of the way forward will be answered."

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