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MBABANE – One of the questions asked by some of the investors during their general meeting held last weekend was how Zimbabwe-born George Manyere found himself caught up in the Ecsponent Eswatini Limited’s crisis.

In fact, some of the investors even asked if he had any vested interest in the recovering of the E340 million lost by emaswati to Ecsponent or he was merely a ‘messiah’. Manyere did not shy away from explaining how he found himself in the mix of attempting to recover the lost investments.


He said; “Personally, my involvement in Eswatini started in 2020. I was approved and appointed into the board on January 8, 2020. Prior to that in 2018, I had bought shares in Ecsponent Limited South Africa.  Around August or September 2019, I was contacted by Mr Ndumiso Mamba, the board chairman, who requested to meet me privately here in Eswatini. This was after he had learnt that I had become the controlling shareholder in Ecsponent Limited South Africa. I honoured the invite and met with him. He had just joined the board a year ago at the request of some locals and investors. He wanted assistance in making sure that the business activities of Ecsponent Eswatini were being done properly.


‘‘It was during that meeting that he expressed his misgivings and concerns about the governance of the business. He informed me that the company’s investment activities were not transparent. That is when we started investigating even the past activities dating back from 2013. Within six months, we fired the management in SA as well as Eswatini. This marked the start of the process of rescuing this business.” Manyere took back the investors to July 16, 2013 when Ecsponent Eswatini was established. He stated that the company was formed by four emaswati in partnership with Escalator Investment Holding Limited, Escalator Financial Services and Escalator Capital, all from South Africa. The SA shareholders had 85 per cent equity and the remaining 15 per cent was owned by the emaswati.


In 2014, about six months after it was founded, the company applied to the Financial Services Regulatory Authority (FSRA) for an investment licence to raise money from the investors.
One of the first products was the Link Loan Unit, which had about 13 prospectuses that most of the investors bought into until 2020. Under this product, over E300 million was raised from 1 500 investors. Manyere pointed out that the regulations did not permit investment companies to raise money from investors without issuing prospectus. The first prospectus was issued in March 2014 and about 13 prospectuses were issued, each aimed at raising millions of Emalangeni. These prospectuses, it was explained, contained crucial information that would govern the relationship between the investor and investment company, including the risk of investment being offered. They also included the application form signed by each investor. It later transpired that most of the investors never received the prospectuses, save for the application form and statements regarding their investments. Manyere advised the investors to critically analyse and read with understanding any information regarding their investment prior to depositing their hard-earned cash.

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