Court orders savanhu to return Toyota V8

HARARE - The Supreme Court has dismissed Zanu PF Mbare legislator Tendai Savanhu’s attempt to retain a luxury vehicle he was given by Hwange Colliery Company (HCC) during his tenure as chairman.

The High Court last year gave the politburo member seven days to return to HCC a Toyota Land Cruiser VX v8  that he used at the time he was the company’s board chairman in 2011.

He served as non-executive chairman of HCC between 2006 and 2011.

Savanhu appealed against the High Court ruling in the supreme Court.

Delivering judgment in the dispute yesterday, Supreme Court judge Justice Vernada Ziyambi dismissed the application.

“The appeal is dismissed and the reasons will follow in due course,” Ziyambi said.

Savanhu’s legal counsel, Advocate Michael Majuru, had submitted that Savanhu had an agreement of sale for the vehicle in question.

“There was no written contract of employment in respect to the applicant,” Majuru said.

“Applicant believed he had the right to hold (on to) the vehicle. Our law jealously protects the right of ownership. The difficulty with this matter is that there was no written contract between the applicant and the respondent.

“We are dealing with a contract that was not reduced to writing and it was common cause that there was no written contract during the time the applicant was employed by the respondent.”

Majuru further told the court Savanhu had the right to possess the vehicle since it was given to him while he was still employed by HCC.

Responding to Majuru’s submissions, Advocate Thabani Mpofu, representing HCC, said Savanhu was supposed to return the vehicle at the termination of his term of office.

Mpofu said Savanhu’s application carried an element of harassment and therefore should be dismissed.

“My learned colleague has been unable to put out a reasonable argument and the court should dismiss his appeal,” said Mpofu.

In the trial of the matter last year, HCC company secretary Tembelani Ncube, who testified as the sole witness, told the court that since Savanhu’s elimination from the board, he has illegally held on to the company vehicle.

Ncube said the motor vehicle policy at HCC covers executive, middle managers and employees other than directors who are entitled to vehicles in terms of their employment contracts.

The court heard that Savanhu was previously issued with two Mercedes Benz vehicles and a Toyota Prado and the vehicles were returned to the pool when he was given the Toyota Land Cruiser in 2011.

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