Zambia: Brewery Demands $400,000 From Catholic Church

Mansa, Zambia - MANAGEMENT at Top Star Breweries is demanding US$400, 000 from the Catholic Church in Mansa as final settlement for the church to withdraw its 20 per cent shareholding in the company or face court action.

In a letter addressed to the bishop of Mansa drawn by lawyers representing Top Breweries, Milner Katolo dated April 11, the company has given the church 14 days in which to make the whole $400, 000 payment and an additional K2 million as compensation for defaming Alan Kandala, the other shareholder in the brewery.

The defamation arises from the letters to the church sent to the Registrar of Companies in which it alleged that Mr Kandala fraudulently registered the church as shareholders in Top Star Breweries.

"We have been instructed to advise that our client would accept a payment from you of US$400,000 in full and final settlement of your contribution towards sorting the issues arising in the receivership.

"Once the payment is received by our client, this will effect a clean break as far as your shareholding in Top Star Breweries is concerned," Mr Katolo wrote.

The Catholic Church through Mansa Diocese has been running the opaque beer brewing business with a 20 per cent stake since 2004.

The church now wants to exit from the business but Mr Kandala is contesting the decision that leaves the workers, other shareholders and creditors in financial difficulties following its being placed under receivership.

Mr Katolo also said Mr Kandala was disturbed by the letters the church wrote to the Registrar of Companies and copied to Zanaco and Deloitte and Touche.