New twist to Waverly dispute
By Prosper Dembedza
Harare magistrate Mr Shane Chibonera has issued a warrant of arrest against Amanda Berkowitz, daughter of the late business mogul and Waverley empire founder, Victor Cohen after she failed to show up for trial on allegations of perjury.
Berkowitz landed in the dock on allegations of making a false declaration in a case which is pending before the High Court.
The complainant in this case is her nephew, Aron Vico, who is the managing director of Waverley Blankets, one of the subsidiary companies of the empire.
The two have been embroiled in a bitter fight over the late Cohen’s company for years.
Berkowitz argues that her nephew is trying to elbow her and another sister Belinda Halfon, out of their father’s inheritance.
In her defence, Berkowitz said she did nothing unlawful as alleged by her nephew.
She contends that Vico raised a case against her in a bid to silence her over Cohen’s companies.
“There was nothing unlawful about the accused’s statement that she subscribed to the shares in the registered entity known as Waverley Plastics (Pvt) Ltd,” said her lawyer
Added her lawyer: “The accused person rightly made that statement in respect of her knowledge over what she experienced.
“The statement was not false at law as it has its own legal meaning and effect in terms of elementary company law wherein no person would challenge the meaning of the same in the given circumstances.”
In his testimony, Vico maintained that Berkowitz made false statements under oath.
He said he was still employed by the company adding that there had been no disciplinary hearing against him.
Vico said on July 2, 2020 during judicial proceedings at the High Court , the accused person, through a statement made under oath, gave a false declaration and deposed it during proceedings under case number HC 5040/19.
“After the death of my grandfather, there have been some disputes which have spilled into the courts. In one of the cases involving Waverley Plastics, I said in my affidavit that aunt did not subscribe to memorandum of association of the company and in fact the signatures were forged.
“My aunt, in her responding affidavit said she in fact, did subscribe,” he said.
He said he engaged an examiner who confirmed that the signatures were forged.
“I had a forensic report when I noticed that the signatures were forged. In fact, none of the people in there have subscribed,” said Vico.
Berkowitz is alleged to have written in the contested document: “I deny this and refer to the subscription page of the Memorandum of Association of the Company attached in the main founding affidavit.
“I subscribed to the shares in the company and the suggestion that I and the other subscribers did not is nonsensical.”
However, Vico insists she did not subscribe and when the document was signed, she was not in the country.
He, however, failed provide evidence she was indeed not in the country.
The investigating officer provided a statement allegedly made by Amanda Cohen where she states that her signature was forged on the memorandum and articles which he believes is contrary to her statement made in court. The Herald