Lion’s Den Syndicate (Pvt) Ltd is owned by a group of white farmers and businessman in and around Chinhoyi town. The Dilmitis family dominate the syndicate.
But Mugabe yesterday denied that he was trying to muscle his way into the lucrative business syndicate. He however added that he would join the business venture as a willing partner, if they were to invite him.
Mugabe alleged the syndicate has assets well above the minimum US$500 000 and that is why they were panicking. Apart from buildings and farming ventures, the syndicate is also into quarry and limestone extraction business.
Sources say Mugabe’s interest arose soon after he was kicked out of one of the syndicate’s premises late last year for non-payment of rentals.
The syndicate had to go to the courts in order to evict Stewarts and Lloyds, owned by Mugabe.
According to court papers, Lion’s Den Syndicate went to court in 2005 to force Mugabe to move out of the premises after failing to pay rentals and rates amounting to over US$12 000 for almost two years.
Besides failure to pay rentals, the syndicate claimed that Stewarts and Lloyds breached their lease agreement as they were now running a bar and restaurant, besides subletting three garages.
The court ruled in favour of the syndicate after which Stewarts and Lloyds appealed to the High Court but the matter was not heard until June last year.
The syndicate won the case again forcing Mugabe and his company to vacate the premises.
The court also ordered Stewarts and Lloyds to pay all the outstanding rental arrears of US$5 252, electricity US$2 435,42, rates US$3620,74 and water charges amounting to US$1 039,60.
But the company has not paid even a single cent up to this day.
The case, High Court case No. CIV “A” 394/05 and Ref case No. Civ “A” 477/05 was heard before Justice Yunus Omerjee and Justice Susan Mavangira.
Sources said Mugabe now wants to take up the controlling stake in the syndicate in what they allege is as a form of revenge after being kicked out.
Sensing that he was losing the case, Mugabe allegedly proposed to buy the premises but the syndicate’s lawyers’ Muchineripi and Associates refused arguing that “how can you buy the premises yet you are failing to pay rates?” a feat they equate to the biblical example of a camel going through the eye of a needle.
Mugabe, who is former MP for Makonde, yesterday vehemently denied that he wanted to take over a controlling stake in the syndicate. He said he last spoke to the chairman of the syndicate while he was still an MP around 2005.
He however said he would take up a stake in the company if they were to invite him to be their partner.
“Perhaps, they are not accusing me but inviting me because I don’t know what they are talking about,” Mugabe said. “If that is the case, then they are most welcome.”
The former Zifa chairperson admitted that Stewarts and Lloyds, which is one of his companies, owed the syndicate some money. He said the matter was being handled by his lawyers.
He said Lion’s Dean Syndicate offered to sell the premises but he could not take up the offer because they were demanding too much for a building in a town like Chinhoyi.