Saturday, 27 May 2017

Chiyangwa Loses Legal Battle -- Fails To Save Auctioned Property Over Unpaid Water Bill

Business tycoon Philip Chiyangwa has lost the legal battle against the auctioning of his company’s industrial machinery attached over a debt of nearly $300 000 in unpaid water bills to the Bulawayo City Council.

Chiyangwa’s company, Native Investments Africa (Pvt) through lawyers Sengweni Legal Practice, filed an urgent chamber application at the Bulawayo High Court citing Bulawayo City Council, the Sheriff of the High Court and two businessmen who bought the attached property as respondents.

Mr David Mackwell and Mr Bruce Christopher are the two businessmen who bought two cranes at an auction conducted by Holland Auctioneers.

By Mashudu Netsianda
Justice Nokuthula Moyo ruled that Native Investments Africa’s application was baseless and tantamount to abusing court processes.

“This is a baseless and unnecessary application which should not have been launched in the first place. In fact, this application amounts to an abuse of court process in my view.

Chiyangwa Loses Legal Battle -- Fails To Save Auctioned Property Over Unpaid Water Bill
“It is for these reasons that I dismiss the application with costs at an attorney and client scale,” ruled the judge.

BCC obtained a judgment against Native Investments Africa for the payment of $290 000 in water bill arrears.

Acting on the judgment, the council obtained a writ of execution and instructed the Sheriff of the High Court to attach any property belonging to Chiyangwa’s company.

The two cranes weighing 30 and 60 tonnes were valued at $300 000, but the Sheriff allegedly sold them for $4 800.

Native lnvestments Africa through its lawyer Mr Byron Sengweni sought an order blocking the Sheriff of the High Court from authorising the delivery of the two cranes to Mr Mackwell and Mr Christopher.

Native Investments Africa also wanted an order compelling the two businessmen to return the property to its premises within 48 hours of being served with the order.

Native Investments Africa’s administration manager, Mr Givas Goteka, in his founding affidavit, queried how the property valued at $300 000 ended up being sold for a song.

Mr Goteka said on February 10, 2017, Native Investments Africa through its lawyers wrote to the Sheriff requesting the identities of Mackwell and Christopher and also querying how property valued at $300 000 had been sold for a paltry $4 800.

“On 21 February, the applicant (Native Investments Africa), which was under the impression that the Sheriff was attending the query, noticed that Mackwell and Christopher were now preparing to move the cranes from its premises,” he said.

Mr Goteka said on making a follow up on the matter, the Sheriff told them that the sale had been confirmed. He said the sheriff labelled the cranes as “completely stripped” to justify the price they were auctioned for.

“The sheriff’s agent recorded the cranes as completely stripped.

“That is ridiculous considering that only wheels to the 60 tonne crane had been removed to prevent corrosion and the 30 tonne crane has a mechanical problem which is being attended to,” said Mr Goteka.

The company argued that the Sheriff’s decision to sell the cranes for $ 4 800 lacked justification when he failed to take into account the market value of the cranes before accepting and confirming the sale. The Chronicle

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