By Fungai Lupande
Mashonaland Holdings chief executive officer Manfred Mahari allegedly bought two of his children a Mercedes Benz each, but is failing to pay their school and tuition fees, the court heard.
Mahari is appearing before Harare magistrate Ms Lucy Ngwari for failing to pay over $31 000 maintenance for his three children.
He pleaded not guilty and said he had full school fees benefits from his employment contract, but had been on suspension from December 2016, without pay or benefits.
“I had a new arrangement with the complainant, which saw her settling my obligations,” said Mahari. “I am currently lacking in means due to the suspension.
“The lack in means is not due to misconduct or unreasonable debts, but rather the prolonged nature of the ongoing disciplinary proceedings at my workplace. The complainant is seeking to recover a loan she advanced to me.”
To the contrary, Mahari’s wife Moyra said he ran successful businesses.
“The accused is a man of means,” she said. “He is currently the executive director of Turnall Holdings. He has three houses in Borrowdale and he owns a bottle store at Gatwick Liquor Centre.
“He owns a shoe shop at Travel plaza called Smitten Feet, he owns a plot in Nyasha and possesses eight Mercedes Benz vehicles.
“He bought a Mercedes Benz for our 16-year-old child and for another, who is in Cape Town, South Africa, yet he is failing to pay for the children’s schools fees and tuition.”
Moyra said Mahari was failing to send their child suffering from scoliosis to America for treatment.
Scoliosis causes abnormal curvature of the spine.
“Our child needs $20 000 for treatment in America,” said Moyra.
“Mahari has another child, who suffered the same condition, and he sent that child to America for treatment. He has nine children with different women.”
The prosecutor, Ms Devoted Nyagano, told the court that on April 12, 2012 Mahari was ordered by the Harare Civil Court to pay maintenance for his three children.
Mahari and Moyra agreed in their decree of divorce that he would pay all school and tuition fees.
They also agreed that Mahari would provide uniforms, footwear, sportswear, school equipment, text books and extra lessons for the children.
He was also to provide day to day needs for the children and bear 100 percent of their medical bills.
The maintenance arrears stand at $31 577. The Herald