This emerged at the High Court yesterday after a Harare car hire and rental company, Joel Travel and Tours, had sued the Office of the President over the long-standing debt incurred in 2013.
The firm’s lawyer, Brenda Hatinahama, sought the removal of the matter from the High Court roll, saying Mugabe’s aides were now negotiating for an out-of-court settlement.
Justice Lavender Makoni granted the application.
“My lady, may the matter be removed from the roll, the reason being that the parties are negotiating a settlement with a view to have the matter settled,” Hatinahama said.
Mugabe’s Office was this year taken to court after the tour
operator realised the government was reluctant to pay for the vehicles that Tsvangirai hired during his tenure as Prime Minister.
In an acknowledgement of the debt document dated December 12, 2013, signed by the Prime Minister’s Office, Tsvangirai acknowledged owing the tour operator the claimed amount.
“The Prime Minister’s Office, hereby, acknowledges that it owes Joel Travel and Tours a total of $81 247,08,” the acknowledgement letter read.
“Joel Travel and Tours is a car hire company. Between the period of February and August 2013, the Office of the Prime Minister hired vehicles from Joel Travel and Tours.
“The total bill for this period was $108 331,68, of that amount $27 084,60 has been paid.”
In a different but related matter, the High Court last week ruled in favour of the same travel and tour operator in a case where it had sued the Commissioner-General of the Zimbabwe Prisons and Correctional Services, Paradzai Zimondi, over a $13 501 debt.
In its declaration, attached to the summons, the firm claimed sometime between October and December last year, Zimondi hired several vehicles for use at an agreed rate, but failed to pay for the services, prompting the firm to approach the court.