Addis Fortune (Addis Ababa)

Ethiopia: Shareholders File to Dissolve National Consultants

Three shareholders of National Consultants Plc. are asking for the dissolution of the firm, citing improper management by National's current manager and his associate. National designed the Arada Tower, in Piazza, the Federal Police Headquarters and the airports in both Axum and Lalibela.

National was established in 1971, with 150 shares. Sima Elala, who was the general manager then, had 80 shares. In 1981, he relinquished his position due to illness and appointed Assefa Bekele as general manager, to whom he transferred 30 shares. Assefa had previously served as Sima's deputy. He also passed 17 shares to each of his two sons, Amanuel Sima and Mulualem Sima, and 16 shares to a third son, Kaleb Sima, according to the statement of Sima's will, in 1997. Sima died later that same year.

The three brothers accused the company and Assefa Bekele of a number of misdemeanors, including; transferring a number of businesses to a third party, inappropriate expenses, renting machines improperly and a general lack of responsibility towards the company. They claimed that they conducted independent audits of the company from 1998 to 2008, which showed a series of problems related to mismanagement.

After 2008, the company declined to be audited, the plaintiffs declared on their statement of claim.

The brothers claim that they swore to their father, to be loyal to Assefa and to trust him in the business. They did not ask the company for any benefits, since receiving the shares, in 1998, according to the file.

Be this as it may, Assefa failed to be loyal to the plaintiffs, they complained.

They accuse Assefa of being dishonest. He established another company called Ziyas Design Group Plc, jointly with his son and the deputy manager of the company, and began competing with National. According to the statement of the claim, Zias blocked National's website and put designs and other works done by National on their own website.

Citing the lack of trust between share holders, the plaintiffs asked the court for the dissolution of the company. They also requested that the court audit the financial statements of the company with an independent auditor.

Amanuel lives in theUnited States, but he too has filed a claim through a lawyer in Addis Abeba, who is also representing his brothers.

The Lideta First Instant Court has ordered the company and Assefa to present their statement of defense, on January 26, 2012, with the hearing scheduled for January 31, 2012.

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