…..Romanian websites claim US$2 billion unpaid bills
….wanted to borrow US$50 million using Malawi guarantees
Very high risk, transacting business with this company or its principals will most likely result in nonpayment- that is a warning that is very prominent when one searches on the reported President of East Bridge Estates Srl Hiam Tzutziashvili, raising questions about Minister of Agriculture Sam Kawale’s direct involvement in setting up a deal and lying to Malawians due diligence was done.
Romania websites where Tzutziashvili has been operating a long list of companies that went bankrupt for the past decade in May 2022, less than a year before the Ministry of Finance issued the Sovereign Guarantees worth US$250 million, reported that he had 9 billion Romanian Lei of unpaid suppliers. His companies are banned from issuing cheques in Romania.
We can say without doubt that his deal in Malawi would have ended the same way as many of his deals reported in Romania, back-to-back with the recent scandals in the Ministry of Agriculture. In Romania he used promissory notes and refused to honour them, opting to declare companies bankrupt.
The Investigator Magazine has obtained damning evidence that points out that East Bridge Directors Likhwa Mussa and Tedd Moya supplied Kawale with information including write ups, that were presented to Cabinet on the deal. The papers did not go through the Ministry of Agriculture technocrats.
Moya was quoted in the Daily Times that the company was preparing a K273 billion claim for the deal if Malawi Government went ahead and cancelled the controversial deal, which Minister of Finance Sosten Gwengwe and Reserve Bank Governor Wilson Banda said will be cancelled. The company has not paid suppliers all over the world, it would be a joke to raise a US$250 million Moya wants Malawians to believe he paid for fertiliser.
“He is confused. He says they spent US$250 million, meaning his company was not going to make any profit. Every time they open their mouths, they create new things that do not make sense. They should accept this deal stinks and stinks bad for anyone advocating for it,” said our legal analyst.
East Bridge has no money
Moya and Mussa who have been tracked to Tanzania, Nairobi, South Sudan, and Mozambique before heading to South Africa where fugitive Paul Mphwiyo is said to be hiding, were in Maputo talking to officials at the Malawi High Commission about the potential arrival of fertiliser.
“The two did not have any paperwork to show that fertiliser had been shipped, the Ministry of Agriculture requested the embassy to help them, they left Maputo for South Africa without any consignment of fertiliser arriving in Beira where they had spent some time,” said a source at the embassy in Maputo.
The Ministry of Agriculture sources said it was possible, the Minister himself was involved in the deal as he has been engaging with the Directors on daily basis waiting for the consignment which was due on 25 July.
A source in Lilongwe who sat with Mphwiyo, Mussa and Moya at a pub said the deal involved the company getting US$50 million loan using the sovereign guarantees issued by Ministry of Finance and then supplying the same to Malawi.
“Malawians will guarantee their borrowing and then pay for them again. It is ridiculous to believe Sam Kawale knew about this and proceeded with the deal,” said a source, revealing that East Bridge has no money to afford any tonnage of fertiliser anywhere.
“Hiam says second shipment is on its way, when the first one did not arrive. The shareholding is very strange as Likhwa Mussa is Vice President of East Bridge International, a subsidiary of East Bridge Estates Srl. The boys (Mussa and Moya) have invested their lives in this deal,” said another close ally of the team.
Haim Tzutziashvili did not sign anything
Musa who is a lawyer facing disbarment and Moya might have thrown themselves into an international financial crime ring as their boss, President of East Bridge International Hiam Tzutziashvili has not written anything on paper leaving the two gullible Malawians to sign their lives away.
“There is no document he has signed, or no one can pin him on anything. Imagine someone creates a company and wins a US$500 million contract, he does not put his signature on anything. Mussa and Moya should have raised questions with the conduct of this gentleman,” said our analyst whom we presented a cache of documents tracking President Tzutziashvili and his movements in Africa.
Online search of the East Bridge founder reveal that he has left a colourful trail of non-payments and bankruptcies from 2008 and more in several African countries where he opens company’s and close them, almost in the same fashion as Zuneth Sattar.
“He cannot sign or be a front of anything because everyone who takes five seconds to search his name will find that he does not pay for anything and swindles suppliers. He found a very stupid group in Malawi and played them. They can’t use google. This is worse than Bridgin Foundation,” said an expert we showed the evidence we have obtained on Tzutziashvili.
Born in Georgia, Hiam Tzutziashvili is an Israel national whose passport he uses across Africa, but he is registered his businesses in Bucharest, Romania where he rarely spends time as he had a lot of unpaid deals.
A public notice about his other companies claims he does not pay anything after business transactions.
FDRS Ltd, a Romanian company posted on its website www.fdrs-ltd.com another company owned by Tzutziashvili called CAF Activ Invest Srl which owed it US$19 811. 40
“Hiam Tzutziashvili, 19 811.40. Very High Risk- Transacting businesses with this company or its principals will most likely result in non-payment,” warns the website which is readily available on google search debunking Kawale’s claim that the company and its directors had reputable references.
Only months before Mussa met Tzutziasvhili in Dubai, a Romanian website supervisor.ro carried a series of articles focusing on Tzutziashvli at times using strong language stating that; “As if our swindlers weren’t enough , some so-called foreign investors (“broke in their ass” in their countries, but pretending to be businessmen in Romania) started deceiving their business partners , especially after the appearance of crisis.”
The article introduces as Haim as having been mentioned in an article from 2008, which refers to an intelligence officer involved in the affairs. About the East Bridge President it was reported as: “An Israeli businessman. Born in Georgia, Haim developed a chain of stores in Romania under the Fiorangelo franchise. Now, he identifies opportunities and mediates real estate investments in Romania for Israeli companies. He is the representative of the tycoon Ronny Bruckner”.
The article constinues that “until now, Haim Tzutziashvili has managed to bankrupt 6 companies , which have already been written off following the closure of the procedure:
CHAMP BRAND HOLDING SRL (CUI 19228337), EDEN INVESTMENTS & DEVELOPMENT SRL (21693422), HS BRAND INVEST SRL (CUI 19685282)
POWER DRINKS DISTRIBUTION SRL (CUI 27622730), SPORTMARK SRL (CUI 16586349), VERTIGO GROUP SRL (CUI 14415091)” reads the article.
It adds, “Of course, the debts accumulated by these companies have never been paid .Two other companies with which he is associated are on the road “to the graveyard”, even if not through the bankruptcy procedure.”
The article identifies the companies as; ESSENZA IMPEX SRL (CUI 11202102) – liquidation, HSA INTERNATIONAL INVEST SRL – judicial dissolution while he still had some companies namely
· AGRICOLA ITA ALBEŞTI SRL (CUI 22765004) – expired headquarters
· EUROSHOES SRL (CUI 21654911) – expired headquarters
· EUROSHOES DISTRIBUTION SRL (CUI 31312908) – expired headquarters
· ROMIL MINERALS LIMITED SRL (CUI 30755559)
AGRICOLA ITA ALBEŞTI SRL was declared inactive by ANAF since May 2011, while EUROSHOES SRL has been in the same situation since October 2012. According to the last balance sheet submitted to Finance, the latter company had total debts of 1.8 million lei on December 31, 2010.
“EUROSHOES DISTRIBUTION SRL (CUI 31312908) was established in March 2013, and in August 2013 it marked the first payment incidents reported to CIP . In about a year, the company managed to accumulate two checks and 6 promissory notes refused payment , totaling 3.5 billion old lei . EUROSHOES DISTRIBUTION SRL is still under a banking prohibition to issue checks. In addition, since June 2014, the company has been declared inactive by ANAF , which proves thank Tzutziashvili has not yet learned that Romanian legislation provides for the submission of monthly or quarterly statements to ANAF. At EUROSHOES DISTRIBUTION SRL, He is a business partner with Ionel ŞTEFAN, which holds 25% of the share capital, as well as the position of administrator,” reads the report.
Another company EMADI QUALITY MARKET SRL Bucharest (CUI 30755559) was established in October 2012 by Emanuela Mihaela LUNGU and Adrian-Valentin LUNGU.
Like using Malawians to register the companies, this time he used Zambians to penetrate into the mineral market but the company in Romania listed different objectives.
After only one year, the company was taken over by Haim Tzutziashvili (90%) and Ştefan CIUCĂ (10%), the name is changed to ROMIL MINERALS LIMITED SRL, and the main object of activity becomes “Cultivation of cereals (excluding rice), leguminous plants and plants producing oleaginous seeds”. It is worth mentioning that only the Hiam became an administrator, writes the website.
“In March 2014, ROMIL MINERALS LIMITED SRL refused to pay the first promissory note , and by the end of the year there were 11 more incidents , some of which were considered minor because the Tax Office had seized the company’s accounts . In total, the amount refused payment reaches 5.25 billion old lei . The company has not yet been declared inactive by ANAF, but it probably won’t last long, as its VAT registration was already cancelled in November 2014,” claimed the old report.
It concludes that, “drawing a line, we notice that only in two ongoing businesses, the stakes drawn by Tzutziashvili are approaching 9 billion old lei . And taking into account the way this individual works, demonstrated in over 10 years of activity in Romania, there are good chances that he will return soon . Of course, with a new company and… looking for new victims!,” closes the article.
A second article puts the number of companies he had declared bankrupt at 8 listed as;
· CHAMP BRAND HOLDING SRL (CUI/CIF: 19228337)
· EDEN INVESTMENTS & DEVELOPMENT SRL (CUI/CIF: 21693422)
· ESSENZA IMPEX SRL (CUI/CIF: 11202102)
· HS BRAND INVEST SRL (CUI/CIF: 19685282)
· POWER DRINKS DISTRIBUTION SRL (CUI/CIF: 27622730)
· ROMIL MINERALS LIMITED SRL (CUI/CIF: 30755559)
· SPORTMARK SRL (CUI/CIF: 16586349)
· VERTIGO GROUP SRL (CUI/CIF: 14415091)
“All these 8 companies were deregistered, they had their headquarters in Bucharest, Tzutziashvili was also the administrator of 7 of them, and some of them also stood out by issuing checks and/or promissory notes without cover. Of course, the debts accumulated by these companies, mainly to the Tax Office, have not been recovered,” says the report.
How did Kawale, Media miss it
Malawi media covering the fertiliser story has failed to critique the deal, opting to advocate and write disinformation articles without any investigation.
One of the Directors of East Gate was recorded boasting at a pub that they had paid as much as US$15,000 for damage control, listing down national media as “doing our bidding” and to make sure “the deal goes through.”
Department of Immigration sources have confirmed that Mussa and Moya, despite a national newspaper claiming are in the country has not been in Malawi for a while, placing some of the Malawi media close to a claim that a US$15,000 bribe has been paid to some media companies to mislead Malawians on the deal.
The Investigator Magazine is analysing audios of recorded drunk East Bridge Directors who are claiming that their lives is under threat, speak of meeting very senior Malawi Government officials with a promise of extra 5,000 tons of fertiliser to be sold through a designated company. We will soon publish the audios and the highest authorities involved in the deal.