Bak Storage has case to answer in Mliswa's $1,4m claim — High Court

HARARE - A High Court judge has ruled that a firm that is being sued for $1,4 million by former Hurungwe West MP Temba Mliswa’s company, Saltlakes Holdings, has a case to answer.

The claim was made against Bak Storage (Private) Limited after Mliswa’s tobacco was destroyed by rain while in the firm’s custody.

Mliswa, through his lawyer Thabani Mpofu, filed a counter claim after the firm was the first to institute litigation, claiming the former fitness trainer had failed to pay $90 000 in storage fees.

Bak Storage, which is represented by Thembinkosi Magwaliba, last week applied for it to be absolved from the litigation after Mliswa’s company led evidence from its former general manager Wilfred Nhema.

The firm argued that there was no sufficient evidence that was presented before the court warranting it to be put on its defence.

However, High Court judge Emmy Tsanga said that the company had a case to answer and should be put on its defence.

Presenting evidence, Nhema told the court on how Bak Storage and Mliswa’s company entered into an agreement for the transportation and storage of tobacco bales.

He said 27 539 bales, which form the basis of the litigation, were transported into Bak Storage’s custody between October 2008 and June 2009.

In its court papers, Saltlakes argued that the tobacco was damaged due to Bak Storage’s negligence.

According to court papers, Saltlakes had bought the tobacco from various auction floors that include Tobacco Sales Floor, Zitac, and Burley Marketing Zimbabwe.

The court heard that in November 2008, 14 bales of tobacco worth $3 987 belonging to Saltlakes were damaged by rains, through roof leakages, while at Bak Storage’s warehouse.

Further claims are that, 193 other bales were also damaged after a water tap was left running.

It is alleged that a further 1 500 bales of tobacco valued at $300 000 were also destroyed by water that flooded the warehouse.

The matter was later postponed indefinitely to next year.

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