Fidelis Munyoro, Harare Bureau
Former Vice President Joice Mujuru and a business partner have been ordered to pay US$70 000 compensation to a United Arab Emirates-based company, Suzane General Trading JLT (Pvt) Ltd, over the collapse of a joint venture with her International Travel Shops Africa (Pvt) Ltd.
Mrs Mujuru and her business partner Tirivanhu Mudariki were sued together with International Travel Shops Africa for breach of contract resulting in the collapse of a joint venture signed more than eight years ago.
In the judgment delivered by Justice Amy Tsanga, Mrs Mujuru was issued with an order to settle the debt within seven days from the granting of the court order on December 4, 2019.
“The debt shall be paid within seven days from the granting of this order and the second defendant shall pay costs of this suit on attorney and client scale.”
The lawsuit arose on November 16, 2011 when the Dubai firm entered into an agreement with International Travel Shops Africa termed a share sale and management agreement.
In its claim, the Dubai-based firm said following a breach of the terms of agreement by International Travel Shops Africa the joint venture collapsed. The matter then went for arbitration and Mrs Mujuru was ordered to compensate the Dubai-based firm by arbitrator and veteran lawyer Mr Innocent Chagonda in November 2015. Other business interests of Mrs Mujuru have also reached the courts.
In September last year, Mujuru and another of her companies, Ruzirun Investments, approached the High Court seeking to stop a couple she owed money from attaching her property as she fears going “under liquidation or facing multiple claims”.
She owed over US$226 000 to Sabrina and Tony Sarpo, through their company Peppy Motors (Pvt) Ltd, which was demanding the money in Zimbabwe dollars at the interbank rate.
In her application for stay of execution, Mrs Mujuru argued that the company issued a writ of execution and notice of attachment despite an application for rescission of the judgment against her. Executing the judgement would leave the firm’s 80 employees in untold tribulation.
The suit against Mrs Mujuru arose in 2012 when Sabrina and Tony Sarpo, who sell agriculture and farming equipment, obtained a loan from Steward Bank which they used to buy farming machinery. They sold the equipment to Mrs Mujuru’s company under an agreement of sale on July 25, 2015. The couple issued summons in 2018 for payment of outstanding amounts and interest. According to a deed of settlement, parties agreed that Mrs Mujuru pays the capital sum of $226 000 and $226 000 in interest.
She was also to pay the capital debt within three months in monthly instalments of $76 000. The couple had won their case to recover US$452 000 from Mrs Mujuru in May last year, but Mrs Mujuru failed to settle the debt in full.