Mashudu Netsianda, Senior Court Reporter
PROMINENT Bulawayo businessman Ismail Moosa Lunat has approached the High Court challenging the auctioning of his property over a debt of more than US$384 000 that he owes fellow businessman Mr Mohammed Zakariya Patel.
The property which is set to go under the hammer includes a Mazda Axela, Toyota Rav4, Honda Odyssey, laptops, leather couches, office furniture and accessories, television sets, refrigerators, nursery toys and clothes among other valuable items. The goods were supposed to be auctioned last week in Bulawayo by Auction House after they were attached by the Sheriff of the High Court following Lunat’s failure to pay back Mr Patel US$384 177.
Lunat was last year taken to the High Court by Mr Patel over the debt, which he failed to repay.
The auction was suspended due to Covid-19.
Lunat (57), who has a pending court case for allegedly fuelling the forex black market, money laundering and externalisation of more than US$2,2 million, filed an urgent chamber application at the Bulawayo High Court, citing Mr Patel and the Deputy Sheriff of the High Court as respondents. He wants an order interdicting the respondents from selling his property.
In his founding affidavit, Lunat who is being represented by Mr Nqobani Sithole of Ncube Attorneys, said in light of Statutory Instrument 33/2019 and the Finance Act No 2 of 2019, it was wrong for Mr Patel to demand the debt is United States dollars, arguing that all assets and liabilities denominated in United States dollars owing immediately before February 22, 2019 were automatically valued in RTG$ on a rate of 1:1.
“As such, the first respondent (Mr Patel) misled the High Court in its claim and the honourable court acted on this misleading claim. The law could not have been clearer than this and I am advised by the counsel that the Supreme Court has pronounced itself on the issue, leaving no doubt as to the meaning of both SI 33/19 and the Finance Act No 2 of 2019 in respect of this matter,” he said.
“Through my attorneys of record and on the 17th of March 2020, I paid a sum of $384 177 in local currency to the respondent’s legal practitioner, who however, protested insisting on payment as per the judgment under HC196/19.”
Lunat said Mr Patel acknowledged payment of the debt but claimed that it was not enough resulting in him attaching his property.
“I have a prima facie right to protection and benefit of the law as a debtor in circumstances where legislation has been made that affects my indebtedness. The conduct of the first respondent through his lawyer is injurious to my right because despite payment of my debt in full, they seek to have my property sold contrary to the law. I therefore seek an order interdicting the second respondent (Deputy
Sheriff of the High Court) from disposing of my property pending the return date,” he said.
On April 3 last year, Mr Patel filed summons under case number HC762/19 through his lawyers Moyo and Nyoni Legal Practitioners, citing Lunat, as a defendant.
According to court papers, on January 11 last year, Lunat signed an acknowledgement of the debt and offered to pay back the money within three months.
Mr Patel then later filed an application for summary judgment under case number HC2489/19 through Samukange Hungwe Attorneys citing Lunat as a respondent.
Mr Patel said his claim against Lunat was premised on the acknowledgement of the debt by the respondent. — @mashnets