Struggling Cold Storage Company (CSC) has lost prime land, canning factory and machinery at a giveaway price of $40 000 to offset debts owed to some of its former employees.
BY SILAS NKALA
The property was sold to Trednet Zimbabwe.
However, CSC, represented by its administration manager Reuben Chagwanya, on Tuesday filed an application at the Bulawayo High Court challenging the decision by the Sheriff to confirm the sale of Stand Number 6257A Bulawayo Township measuring 9 652 square metres
The Sheriff of the High Court is the first respondent, while Jacob Mafusire and Trednet Zimbabwe (Pvt) Limited are cited as second and third respondents respectively.
“On February 16, 2017 the first respondent (Sheriff) declared and confirmed the third respondent (Trednet Zimbabwe) as the purchaser of the property for $40 000,” read Chagwanya’s founding affidavit.
“This followed applicant’s objection to the sale which 1st respondent (Sheriff) dismissed. Applicant is aggrieved with the decision of the first respondent. The first respondent did not give due consideration to the grounds of objection chief among which is the unreasonably low price of which the property was sold. The first respondent displayed outright bias against applicant’s request to set aside the sale when they misleadingly stated that applicant’s legal representative asked for postponement of the hearing twice when in fact applicant’s lawyer Godwin Sengweni had only done so once for reasons related to health.”
Chagwanya said the Sheriff went on to determine the matter without benefit of oral representation from CSC’s lawyer.
“The 1st respondent in giving away a meat canning factory sitting on 9 252 square metres with full canning machinery for a mere $40 000 displayed unparalleled disregard to the interests of both the judgement debtor and judgement creditor,” Chagwanya submitted.
“The first respondent failed for reasons best known to themselves to apply mind to national interest by giving away such a valuable property for a song. The applicant is at an advance stage of its turnaround programme and stripping it of strategic assets smells of underhand dealings. I am confident that the applicant (CSC) has a good chance to turn around its fortunes and pay off the debt.”
CSC owed Mafusire and others over $453 000.
Mafusire and other employees instituted legal proceedings against the company and obtained an order on January 14, 2015 compelling the parastatal to pay them.
Later a writ of execution was issued for them to attach CSC property to recover the money, leading to the attachment of the stand. Last month CSC filed an application challenging the attachment and sale of the property at $40 000, arguing the open market value of the property is $750 000 and forced sale is at $490 000.
But the Sheriff dismissed CSC’s claims, saying the company had failed to show evidence that the property was sold at an unreasonably low price and to justify why the sale should be set aside.
“The applicant has failed to produce sufficient evidence to discredit the price obtained by private treaty,” the Sheriff ruled before dismissing the claims by CSC. This prompted CSC to file the current High Court application.
The respondents are yet to reply to the application.
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