Woman arrested at Zimbabwe court over ‘online defamatory comments’ on financial advisor




DeVere Group chief executive Nigel Green

A woman in Zimbabwe was arrested last week as she attended court to fight DeVere Group chief executive Nigel Green’s efforts to secure an interdict that would to stop her from posting what he has described as “defamation” online.

Coreen Kooy has a long-standing complaint about a policy she was sold by a DeVere financial adviser. She says she agreed to a 14-year savings plan for her daughter’s education but was instead tied into a 25-year whole-of-life insurance policy.

But it is not the mis-selling allegations or even the interdict that resulted in her spending time in jail last Tuesday.

Kooy had been seated in court when the police asked her to step outside, where she was subsequently arrested for cyberbullying, her lawyer Diana Kawenda told International Adviser.

Kawenda said she was unable to accompany Kooy to the police station as “we still had to appear before the judge”. But the cyberbullying claim “never saw the light of day”, Kawenda said, as the “prosecution declined to prosecute”.

“Based on the facts that they had, they could not conjure up a probative case against Coreen. Nigel Green had given a power of attorney to his lawyer, Philippa Philips, to act for and on his behalf as the complainant. But the prosecutors decided that that would not be evidence that meets the burden of proof in criminal law, here in Zimbabwe.”

Kooy was released on Tuesday 24 May 2022.

As it stands, the interdict and original mis-selling complaint are understood to be ongoing, but it is not clear at this point the status of the cyberbullying allegations.

International Adviser reached out to DeVere Group but a spokesperson for the company declined to comment.

Kawenda believes that the best course of action is to “virgorously pursue” the underlying claim because it will “bring finality to all other ancillary issues”.

‘Time to take legal action’

Kooy is a member of a Facebook community called ‘Financial Ruin by deVere Advisors in all corners of the world’. Its members share stories of negative experiences with the firm’s advisers.

The group, which currently has 452 members, was the subject of an International Adviser story from December 2021, when Green posted a message complaining about the personal abuse he was receiving.

He wrote: “Ex clients of deVere Zimbabwe and deVere France plus others who are not even clients or ex clients, have posted negative remarks against me personally on average 7 times a day.”

Green rejected the accusations and denied involvement in the two respective regional businesses, stating that he is “a shareholder” only.

He concluded with: “I have been patient, but now have to take legal action. The damage is substantial and easy to prove.”

Source: International Advisor