Old Mutual, pharmacy fight in court

HARARE - Old Mutual Investment Group’s Property Investments has been hauled to court by one of its tenants that claims it lost $800 000 worth of drugs after the asset firm disconnected electricity from the business premises.

The tenant was operating a pharmaceutical shop at Eastgate Complex, a building owned by Old Mutual.

According to court papers, the property asset company was leasing one of its shops to Santiago Pharmacies since 2004.

In the lawsuit filed last year and still pending before the High Court, Old Mutual claimed Santiago Pharmacies breached the lease agreement in January 2010 and to ensure compliance disconnected electricity to the shop in question.

Santiago told the court that the disconnection between January 2010 and March 2012 destroyed their perishable products that were in stock.

“As a result of the defendant (Old Mutual)’s conduct, Plaintiff (Santiago) lost business and suffered damages for the loss of income for the period under review in the sum of $817 142, 04,” said Santiago in court papers.

Old Mutual, on the other hand, told the court that Santiago breached the lease agreement when it failed to pay for electricity consumed, rentals and all utility bills, which it claims accumulated to $38 596, 30 during the time.

“The plaintiff failed to pay for electricity and was not entitled to continue consuming electricity without paying,” said Old Mutual.

It denied that Santiago had any perishable stock, since the consignment was transferred to another pharmacy.

Old Mutual made a counter claim, arguing the firm was the one prejudiced and told the court Santiago’s arrears had accumulated as a result of operating costs and rentals.

Old Mutual said Santiago had failed or neglected to pay the arrears. - Tendai Kamhungira

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