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Ex-deputy minister fails to pay rent, evicted

by Staff reporter
25 Oct 2017 at 13:39hrs | Views
Former deputy Health and Child Care minister Edwin Muguti has been evicted from his business premises in Gweru, following allegations he failed to pay $19 000 in rentals.

Communications and Allied Industries Pension Fund dragged Muguti to the High Court in July, seeking cancellation of the lease agreement and Muguti's eviction.

However, Muguti did not respond to the application, which has prompted the Communications and Allied Industries Pension Fund to have the matter set down for hearing today on the unopposed roll.

According to court papers, the pension fund owns the property, commonly known as TelOne Building, which comprises offices - part of which Muguti is occupying.

In its declaration, the pension fund said it previously had a lease agreement with the late Dr Marikano before Muguti moved in and assumed the lease through Marikano's executor.

"The defendant (Muguti) took occupation of the offices on September 1 and up to now no cent has been paid towards rentals and operational costs. The rentals are pegged at $900 per month. To date, the defendant is in arrears of $19 277, 85," the pension fund said.

"It was a term of the lease agreement that the defendant would pay to the landlord all actual damages caused by his holding over occupation of the premises in the event of a dispute arising between the parties."

The company also said it was a term of the lease agreement that it would charge interest at the rate of 2, 7 percent per month on all overdue rentals and that whoever would be a tenant at the property would be liable for any lawsuit costs it would incur.

"Despite demand, the defendant has failed and/or neglected to make payments of the outstanding arrears, wherefore, plaintiff's claim against the defendant is for: Cancellation of the lease agreement and ejectment of the defendant from first floor, Medical Chambers, TelOne Building, Robert Mugabe Way, Gweru," the firm said.

According to court papers, the company is also demanding the rental arrears and operational costs, as well as holding over damages at the rate of $30 per day from the date of the issuance of the summons to the date of vacation.

Meanwhile, businessman and Zimpapers board chairperson Delma Lupepe is challenging eviction from his house attached over debt in Matsheumhlope low-density suburb.

An order for ejectment has been filed against Lupepe for failing to pay $18 000 in rentals, at a property he used to own.

Lupepe has approached the High Court, seeking to have the judgment for his eviction that was granted in default to be rescinded, claiming that he only became aware of the ruling after his lawyers went to court to postpone the hearing.

He said that the summons for his ejectment was filed in August last year by the property's new owner, Ecobank, which he defended.

"Respondent (Ecobank) herein applied for summary judgment on the 13th day of December 2016. Applicant (Lupepe) filed a notice of opposition on the 29th day of December 2016.

"The case was set down for hearing on the 14th day of July 2017. I hereby submit that I inadvertently and unwittingly diarised the date of hearing as Monday 17th day of July 2017," he said, adding that he was not in wilful default.

He also said that on the day that the matter was also heard, he was not in a position to attend the hearing as he was not feeling well.

Ecobank has not responded to the application for rescission of judgment, which has made Lupepe to have the matter set down for hearing today on the unopposed roll.

"It is vitally important to note that the respondent predicated its claim on rei vindicatio. Suffice to note that respondent's ownership of the immovable property, namely, number 4 Bunting Close Matsheumhlope Bulawayo is strenuously and vehemently disputed," the court heard.

Lupepe said the bank is a judgment creditor in another case and through a private sale, purported to have bought the property in question without his knowledge, an aspect which he said is a clear case of conflict of interest.

"I was not notified of the sale and was therefore denied a golden opportunity to assert my rights in terms of the law. It is indubitable that the Premier Banking Corporation (the judgment creditor) is the same entity as Ecobank Zimbabwe Limited (the purchaser).

"This is a classic case of the judgment creditor proceeding to clandestinely purchase the judgment debtor's property worth more than or about $200 000 at a mere $110 000.

"I have since challenged the sale in execution," he said adding that he is challenging the transfer of the property into the bank's name.

The bank had previously won the case after Lupepe failed to file a response to the summons, where it had argued that: "The defendant (Lupepe) is in occupation of the said property. As a result of the defendant's occupation of its aforesaid property, the plaintiff (bank) has suffered and continues to suffer damages as follows: Holding-over damages of $10 000 between the months of March and July 2016 (calculated at the rate of  $2 000 per month); unpaid rates, water and other supplementary charges incurred by the defendant at the plaintiff's property amounting to $3 742,24 and $4 372,37, being unpaid electricity charges incurred by the defendant at the plaintiff's property," the bank claimed in its court papers.

Source - dailynews

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