By Munyaradzi Musiiwa
Prominent Gweru business family, the Baron family is embroiled in a nasty property dispute that has seen the 85-year-old mogul Mr Thomas Baron divorcing his wife of more than 60 years while their sons, William and Gilbert are now up in arms with each other over the family’s properties.
Mr Baron accused his son Gilbert of looting his farming equipment and 40 cattle worth more than US$ 70 000 alleging that he took his cattle to his White Waters Drilling and Buttercup Farm on the outskirts of Gweru claiming that there were more and better pastures.
According to documents that were submitted in court in possession of this publication, the renowned farmer and businessman Mr Baron also accused his son Gilbert of stripping off equipment at his farm. He said his son must return the irrigation equipment he stripped to Plot 17 Greenvale Plots Gweru.
Gilbert on the other hand has sued his father for defamation and had his property attached. William, who is now based in Australia, accused his brother Gilbert of taking advantage of the rift between their parents to emotionally abuse his father.
“Gilbert Baron owns White Waters Drilling and Buttercup Farm which he was given by Government. In 2009 Gilbert approached his father and convinced him to give him his cattle claiming that he was running out of grazing land. He was given 40 cows. Of those, 27 were accounted for and 13 were never accounted for and every time his father asked him, he failed to give a satisfactory answer. When his father asked senior family members to ask Gilbert to return the cows, he agreed to hand the cattle over but went on to sue his father for US$10 000 for defamation. He however dropped the case,” said William.
He said Gilbert went to his father’s farm in Greenvale, Gweru and allegedly stripped and damaged irrigation equipment before destroying fruit trees.
“The amount of damaged and stripped equipment is about US$70 000,” he said.
Gilbert refuted the allegations claiming that the matter was dismissed with costs at the High Court and his father’s property was being attached in order to settle the legal costs incurred by lawyers during the court processes.
“My brother William who is in Australia is the one pushing my father to approach the courts and also reporting me to the police. I never took my father’s cattle. If they are his, why would I refuse to give him. Also, the equipment at my father’s farm was mine and I went there to go and remove it because I had other plans with it. Unfortunately, my mother developed mild hearing impairment so she may not hear you over the phone but you may come over to get her side of the story,” he said.
Mr Baron could not be reached for comment. The Sunday News