Ex-ambassador Mphoko off the hook

BULAWAYO – Phelekezela Mphoko, Zimbabwe’s former ambassador to Botswana and South Africa,  has been removed as one of the respondents in a land wrangle with Terridan Motors (Pvt) Ltd (Terridan).

Terridan, through its director, Abslom Mukahiwa, had filed an urgent chamber application at the High Court here citing Mphoko, Umguza Rural District Council (RDC( and National Fencing Company as respondents.

In an urgent response to the application, Mphoko, touted as gunning for the Vice President’s post, distanced himself from the disputed land, saying it was allocated to his son, Siqokoqela by the Umguza RDC.

Mphoko, who is director of Choppies Zimbabwe retail chain argued that all acts attributed to him by the applicant were wrongful, malicious and false.

In support of his father, Siqokoqela filed an affidavit in the same matter where he argued that he was given an offer letter by Umguza RDC in September 2014 in respect of the disputed property.

Judge Justice Maxwell Takuva on Thursday removed Mphoko as one of the respondents, leaving Umguza and National Fencing.

He however, ruled in favour of the applicant, ordering the two remaining respondents to move out of the premises.

“The applicant has a lawful lease with Umguza RDC in respect of Plot 13 Douglasdale,” Takuva said.

He described the removal of the applicant’s fence by the respondents as an act of spoliation.

“The erection of tents on the leased premises by National Fencing Company is unlawful and an act of spoliation,” Justice Takuva ruled.

“The respondents are ordered jointly and severally to remove their tents erected on the leased premises.”

He ordered the restoration of the premises in the same good order and condition within two days of the order

According to court papers, Terridan is accusing Umguza RDC of breaching the contract after the local authority had entered into a nine-year lease agreement with the motoring company in 2009.

The lease expires in August 2018. Terridan, through its lawyer Sandra Sauramba of Majoko and Majoko Legal Practitioners, had challenged the cancellation of the lease agreement.

In September 2013, Umguza RDC wrote a letter to Terridan purporting to cancel the lease agreement it had entered with the applicant on allegations that the company had constructed permanent structures, which was contrary to the terms of the lease agreement.

The applicant then approached the court challenging the cancellation.

During the same period, the rural council reportedly allocated the same land to Siqokoqela, who then sought the services of the National Fencing Company to remove fencing erected around the perimeter of the leased premises.

National Fencing erected tents to house its employees on the leased property without the permission from the applicant.

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