25 February 2013

Zimbabwe: Gono Wins Tractor Accident Case

A Harare businessman, whose top-of-the-range Mercedes Benz was damaged in an accident with a tractor owned by Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe Governor Dr Gideon Gono, had his US$80 000 claim dismissed. Mr Bernard Vengai sued New Donnington Farm owned by Dr Gono at the High Court over the accident and the claim was dimissed.

The High Court found that Mr Vengai was speeding and that the tractor's defects did not cause the accident.

It was also the court's finding that the fact that the tractor driver was not licensed did not cause the accident in question and that New Donnington Farm was not liable.

Dissatisfied by the High Court judgement Mr Vengai took the matter up to the Supreme Court on appeal

In a recent Supreme Court judgement Justice Yunus Omerjee threw out the appeal for lack of merit.

Justices Vernanda Ziyambi and Paddington Garwe agreed with thejudgement. Justice Omerjee found that the lower court had correctly arrived at its decision.

"I am of the view that the court a -quo did not make any error of fact or of law, or fail to take into account relevant considerations or take into account irrelevant considerations, in its assessment of the witnesses' testimony.

"In my view, the court a-quo correctly and properly examined the evidence before it, and the credibility of the parties' witnesses. It believed the respondents' version.

"This court cannot interfere with the findings of fact of the lower court, which heard the evidence and found the appellant to be dishonest in his version of what transpired," ruled Justice Omerjee.

Facts of the matter are that on September 10, 2008 around 7:30pm, Mr Vengai was driving a Mercedes Benz E200 compressor from Gweru to Harare.

While at the 49km peg, just before reaching Norton, he rammed into the back of a trailer being towed by a tractor.

The tractor belonged to New Donnington Farm of Norton and it was ferrying 30 workers.

Mr Vengai sued New Donnington Farm arguing that the tractor driver was not licensed to drive.

It was his argument that the trailer that had 30 passengers had no rear lights and that the driver was travelling in the middle of the road instead of the extreme left.

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