By Charles Laiton
MDC vice-president Tendai Biti has rekindled his $15 million retirement claim against First Mutual Holdings Limited (FMH) after the insurance company said it would only pay him less than what was agreed upon reaching the retirement age of 60.
Initially, Biti dragged FMH to court over the same issue in August this year, but the matter was not pursued further culminating in the present lawsuit.
In summons filed at the High Court this week, the Harare East opposition MP said in 1993 while he was a partner with Honey and Blanckenberg, his pension contributions were with his consent converted by FMH into an annuity policy.
“The annuitisation phase commenced with a payment of $15 648,04 and the written projection given by defendant (FMH) was that upon attaining the retirement age of 60, plaintiff would be paid a capital value of $4 133 593 and an annual pension of $782 066,47 giving a total assured sum of $15 000 000,” he said.
“In breach of the agreement between the parties and taking advantage of the changes in currency that occurred in 2009, defendant has unilaterally claimed that as at March 2009, the value of plaintiff’s policy was US$196,76 and US$327,28 as at December 31, 2015.”
The MDC deputy president said FMH’s unilateral position means that it will, upon his retirement at the age of 60, pay less than the agreed value of the annuity policy.
“In terms of the purchasing power parity theory, which constitutes an integral tacit term of the insurance relationship between the parties, plaintiff (Biti) is entitled to a payment which preserves and reflects the total value by which he was insured,” he said.
Biti further said despite this being the agreement between the parties, FMH has refused, even in the light of the findings made by a presidential commission of inquiry, to take a position which recognises and upholds the essence of what was agreed to rendering it necessary for the court to declare the correct position to guide the parties. The matter is pending. NewsDay