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Another challenge to July Moyo, Ken Sharpe's deed of shame

by Simbarashe Sithole
13 Nov 2022 at 13:33hrs | Views
A company that was subcontracted by Augur Investments on the incomplete Airport Road has joined several companies challenging a deed of settlement that gave Ken Sharpe and his associated vast tracts of land and criminal immunity.

In summons filed in April this year, Fairclot Investment, trading as Trucking and Construction Company filed summons to have the deed of settlement nullified.

On May 28, 2019, Moyo, Harare City Council and Augur entered into an agreement and signed a deed of settlement that gave Augur immunity from prosecution in a bid to end the war over land between the local authority and Sharpe's company.

Following the secret deed of settlement that gave criminal immunity to Sharpe, Augur and their associates, more land was transferred to Augur for the airport road that was incomplete after T&C was subcontracted on 26 March 2013 pulled off-site after only covering 2.7km of the 20 km stretch of road over non-payment.

The dispute between Augur and T&C was temporarily resolved after Sharpe pledged, as security, an immovable property called Stand 654 Pomona Township of Pomona Township lands, situate in the district of Salisbury measuring 273,29923 hectares of land held under by the President of Zimbabwe through a Deed of Grant No 2884/2010.

The title deed for the land was being held in escrow by Coghlan, Welsh and Guest Legal Practitioners as security at the time of the secret agreement because the land was being contested between Augur and T&C. 

"The Plaintiff (T&C) contends that the Deed of Settlement executed on the 28th of May 2019 and submitted under case No SC878/18 between, the 1st Defendant Augur Investments OU, the 4th Defendant the City of Harare and the 5th Defendant, the Minister of Local Government and National Housing, is null and void," part of the summons read.

T&C cited Augur, Sharpe, his aide Tatiana Aleshina, the City of Harare, the Local Government Ministry, Doorex Properties, The Registrar of Deeds, and the Deputy Sherriff of the High Court Mucduff Madega as first to eighth respondents.

Doorex was cited as the sixth respondent in the case because it holds the land, stand 654 Pomona, which was used as surety to the Airport Road deal by Sharpe whose title deeds are held in escrow by a local law firm, Coughlan, Welsh, and Guest pending finalisation of the court case.

President Emmerson Mnangagwa was cited as an interested party in the case filed in April this year.

According to the summons, the dispute between T&C and Augur was eventually referred to arbitration and an arbitrator awarded the applicant a total sum of USS4.8 million dollars in respect of which the sum of US$3,250,500.00 was payable as cash and the amount of US$1,459,500.00 was being payable in land or equivalent value or cash.

Despite the arbitration award, Augur has to date not paid the full amount it owes to T&C despite a purported tender of the amount outstanding in RTGS after the enactment of SI33/2019 in February 2019.

On 28 May 2019, Augur, represented by Aleshina, the City of Harare and the Minister of Local Government and National Housing, executed a deed of settlement in the Supreme Court under case No SC878/2018. 

Among other things, the parties to the deed of settlement agreed on the withdrawal of all criminal charges against Augur and its associate companies, representatives, and directors.

"The Transfer of title in stand 654 Pomona Township to the 1st Defendants and its nominee whose cost thereof will be borne by the Ministry. The indemnification of all criminal charges to be committed in future against Augur Investments, its associate companies, representatives, and its directors," T&C said.

"The Deed of Settlement in case No SC878/2018 was registered as an order of the High Court of Zimbabwe in case No HC4528/2019 without reference or advice or instruction to the plaintiff notwithstanding that it was an interested party to the extent that the agreement among other things, covered stand 654 Pomona Township which had been pledged to it as security."

T&C said the deed of settlement was void because the agreement was contrary to the public policy of Zimbabwe and that the agreement sought to defeat a lawful judgement of the High Court being the High Court judgement by Justice Muremba Judgment Number HH-727-18 in Case No HC7445/17.

The deed of settlement, T&C said, was executed without the authority of the President of the Republic of Zimbabwe the interested party herein. The deed was also executed without the authority of the City of Harare. 

"The registration of the deed of settlement as an order of the High Court in Case No HC4528/2019 was wrong and unlawful on the following basis that the registration was based on a deed of settlement which was a nullity," the summons further read.

"The registration was done in the absence and without the knowledge of the plaintiff and other interested parties and for this, the reason, the deed of settlement should be set aside in terms of the common law nod or Rule 449 of the High Court rules 1971 which were applicable at the time."

T&C also said the transfer of the property to the Doorex on 20 January 2020 was nullity on the following basis because the President of the Republic of Zimbabwe, did not sign the requisite power of attorney to enable transfer and that the property was transferred in the absence of the original title deed of transfer, which is still held by Coghlan, Welsh and Guest.

Responding to the summons, Sharpe said T&C was not an interested party.

"Curiously, Fairclot was not a party to both the dispute and deed of settlement that it seeks to set aside under Case No. HC 2737122," Sharpe said.

"The matter culminating in the deed resolved the criminal and ownership wrangle over the property therein concerning the parties involved in that matter. The I Respondent was not a litigant in that matter; thus, it has no interest in such matter," part of Augur's answering affidavit read.

Land developer George Katsimberis and Harare legislator Norman Markham have also challenged the deed of settlement.

Source - Byo24News