BY CHARLES LAITON
Former Vice-President (VP) Joice Mujuru has been ordered by the High Court to compensate a United Arab Emirates-based company, Suzane General Trading JLT (Pvt) Ltd, US$70 000 following the collapse of a joint venture agreement signed between the parties over eight years ago.
High Court judge Justice Amie Tsanga also issued Mujuru with an ultimatum to ensure the settlement of the debt within a seven-day period counting from the date of the granting of the court order being December 4, 2019. Further, the former VP, who was in default when the matter was finalised, was again slapped with costs on attorney and client scale.
In the lawsuit, Mujuru was cited as the second defendant together with International Travel Shops Africa (Pvt) Ltd, and one Tirivanhu Mudariki.
“Whereupon after reading documents filed of record and hearing counsel, it is ordered that the second defendant (Mujuru) be and is hereby ordered to pay the plaintiff (Suzane General Trading) the sum of $70 000 together with interest at the prescribed rate from the date of the issuance of summons to the date of full payment,” Justice Tsanga said.
“The said above sum in clause 1, shall be paid by the second defendant within seven days from the granting of this order and the second defendant shall pay costs of this suit on attorney and client scale.”
According to court papers, the facts giving rise to the lawsuit were that on November 16, 2011 the Dubai firm entered into an agreement with International Travel Shops Africa (Pvt) Ltd, Mujuru and Mudariki which they termed a share sale and management agreement.
Subsequent to the principal agreement, the court heard an addendum was entered into by the parties on December 25, 2011 following which on execution; Mudariki specifically represented International Travel Shops Africa (Pvt) Ltd, while both Mujuru and Mudariki appended their signatures to the agreement.
“Pursuant to the agreement the plaintiff paid among other monies the sum of US$150 000 for the purchase of goodwill and advanced a loan of US$50 000 to both second and third defendants (Mujuru and Mudariki),” the firm told the court.
“While the agreement did not specify that the second and third defendants were shareholders and the seller of the shares, the addendum purports that the second and third defendants were either the shareholders who were disposing their shares to the plaintiff or were the vendors or sellers of such shares.”
The Dubai firm said following a breach of clause 7 of the principal agreement by International Travel Shops Africa (Pvt) Ltd, the purported joint venture between the parties collapsed and same agreed in principle that the envisaged joint venture had irretrievably broken down.
The matter was subsequently referred to arbitration where Mujuru was ordered to compensate the Dubai-based firm.
“Subsequent to the arbitral proceedings before Arbitrator Innocent Chagonda, an award was subsequently issued on November 17, 2015. The arbitrator ordered the refund of US$50 000 in lieu of loans that were paid to the second and third defendants,” the firm said, adding the US$150 000 that was paid for goodwill remained due and owing.