Army fights property attachment

HARARE - The Zimbabwe Defence Industries (ZDI) has approached the High Court seeking to block the attachment of its property by a clearing agent that claims to have paid $73 000 tax to the Zimbabwe Revenue Authority (Zimra) on behalf of the State-owned military outfit.

ZDI filed an urgent chamber application for stay of execution after CKD Clearing and Forwarding Services (CKD) moved to attach its property after securing a default judgment in its favour. 

“On the 14th of May 2015, the first respondent (CKD Clearing and Forwarding Services) issued summons out of this honourable court suing applicant for an alleged debt of $72 980, 21. The summons were served upon a former secretary for the applicant known as Sibongile Ncube on the 13th of July 2015.

“However, the summons were not brought to the attention of applicant’s former general manager colonel Tshinga Dube, the applicant’s officer who had the responsibility of making decisions for the applicant including making decisions on legal matters after consulting the defence legal services. Consequently, no appearance to defend was entered on behalf of the applicant,” ZDI general manager, Crispen Masuku, said in an affidavit.

According to court papers, CKD facilitated the clearing of unspecified goods imported by ZDI at the Beitbridge Border Post after entering into an agreement.

The court heard that in terms of the agreement, ZDI was supposed to pay all duties, surtax and any ancillary charges that Zimra would charge.

The clearing firm said that it paid some tax money on behalf of ZDI, which culminated in the current legal proceedings after the army firm failed to honour its obligations.

Masuku, however, said ZDI stands to suffer if its property is attached, as the move would paralyse its operations.

“There is no document to prove the alleged agreement between applicant and first respondent. There are no receipts to show that first respondent paid an amount of $72 980, 21 as duty and to Zimra on behalf of the applicant. The applicant has no knowledge of the nature of the goods in respect of which first respondent claims it paid duty and surtax to Zimra on behalf of applicant. There is no evidence that applicant received any such goods,” the court heard.

Masuku said that the clearing company applied for a default judgment in September last year, before getting a writ of execution in November 2016.

“On the 8th of December 2016, the applicant was surprised when the Sheriff proceeded to its premises with the writ of execution. On January 30, 2017, the second respondent (Sheriff) came to applicant’s premises and attached goods,” the court heard.

Masuku said that the ZDI filed an urgent chamber application for stay of execution, which, the court ruled was not urgent resulting in the matter being placed on the ordinary roll.

ZDI then filed a court application for stay of execution, pending the hearing of an application for rescission of default judgment.

The application for rescission of default judgment was set down for hearing on September 19, 2017, but was withdrawn after the clearing agent raised successful preliminary points.

The ZDI later filed an application for condonation of late filing of an application for rescission of default judgment, which is still pending before the court.

Both parties reportedly agreed that the ZDI property will not be attached pending the court ruling on rescission of judgement.

“On October 24, 2017 and at 12:00pm, the applicant was surprised to see the Sheriff at its premises intending to enforce the warrant of execution granted to the first respondent on November 15, 2016,” the court heard.

The clearing firm is yet to respond to the application.

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