Mugabe hits hard times

By Tendai Kamhungira

A company owned by former president Robert Mugabe has been dragged to the High Court for failing to pay over $174 000 for potato seed acquired on credit in 2015.

President Robert Mugabe
Former President Robert Mugabe

According to court papers, in July 2015, Seed Potato Co-op (Private) Limited entered into a verbal agreement with Gushungo Holdings, owned by the former first family, in terms of which the former was to supply Mugabe’s company with potato seed on credit at a unit cost of $30 per pocket.

Between July 21, 2015 and September 24, 2015, it is being alleged that Seed Potato Co-op made 11 deliveries of the product to various farms owned by Gushungo Holdings.

A total of 12 761 pockets of potato seed worth $382 830 were delivered during the period to farms listed as Mwenewazvo, Gushungo Dairy, Highfield, Vusumuzi, Kaseplan and Iron Mask.

Seed Potato Co-op is the applicant in the matter while Gushungo Holdings is cited as the respondent.

“Accordingly, defendant is currently owing the balance in the sum of $174 193, exclusive of interest. Despite several demands, defendant has neglected, failed and/or refused to pay plaintiff the sum of its indebtedness,” the court heard.

Mugabe’s company has not yet responded to the summons, but was given 10 days within which to respond.

“If you wish to oppose any of the plaintiff’s claims, you must enter an appearance to defend by making an appropriate entry in the appearance book kept in the office of the registrar of the High Court of Zimbabwe at Harare within 10 days after service of this summons (Saturdays, Sundays and public holidays are not counted as part of this 10-day period, nor is the day on which this summons was served).

“If you do not enter appearance to defend, the plaintiff’s claim will be heard and dealt with by the High Court without any further notice to you,” the summons further read.

Of late, Mugabe’s family businesses have been in soup over debts.

Only last month, Mugabe’s family business, Alpha Omega Dairy (Private) Limited, was taken to court by a local property consultancy firm, Levgal Investments (Private) Limited over a $29 000 rental debt at its rented premises in Harare’s Southerton industrial area.

Levgal Investments, through its representative, Dawn Property Consultancy, cited Mugabe’s firm Alpha Omega Dairy, two senior employees Stanley Nhari and Joseph Zirebwa as respondents.

In May 2016, a South African plastics company in KwaZulu-Natal took Alpha Omega Dairy to the Harare High Court over a debt of more than R600 000 it says it was owed.

Blakey Investments said the previous year it had produced plastic products for Mugabe’s dairy farm in the Mazowe District about 20 kilometres west of Harare and was seeking an order to compel the Mugabe family business to pay the debt of $38 391.72 (R605 232.03). Daily News