24 May 2017

Zimbabwe: Anglican Quartet Dumps Kunonga

Ex-communicated Bishop Dr Nolbert Kunonga's alliance with his four henchmen has gone up in smoke after the quartet dumped the embattled cleric, accusing him of maliciously involving them in his Anglican Church pillaging orgy. Alfred Tome, Beaven Michael Ngundu, Justin Nyazika and Winter Shamuyarira were appointed as Diocesan trustees of Harare Diocese at the height of Dr Kunonga's reign.

The break-up comes in the wake of the Supreme Court ruling last month ordering Dr Kunonga and the four to pay the Anglican Church $427 000 as compensation for shares he sold after he led the church into schism in 2007.

In an attempt to extricate themselves from the matter, the quartet is now seeking to rescind a High Court decision, which ordered them and their ex-boss to compensate the Anglican Church for all they took.

Through their lawyer Ms Rumbidzayi Zvimba of Zvimba and Madzima Law Chambers, the four want the judgment of the High Court rescinded and be given the opportunity to defend themselves.

When the case spilled into the superior courts, the four remained silent, only to come out of their shell when the matter was concluded, professing ignorance of the suit.

In their papers, the quartet claim that they only became aware of the default judgment through a newspaper article on March 18 this year.

The four, who had been represented by Messrs Venturas and Samukange, say their lawyer last month wrote to Mr Jonathan Samukange, asking who had instructed him to act for them and later renounce urgency before the trial.

"We never instructed Mr Samukange to represent us or even Dr Nolbert Kunonga," said Tome in his affidavit. "It is clear that our default was not wilful in any way.

"There was just no way would we have known about summons, set down dates and that Dr Kunonga had instructed Messrs Venturas and Samukange to represent us since he had no authority to act on our behalf."

The four further contend that they never acted jointly with Dr Kunonga to obtain possession of the share certificates from Imara Asset Management without the Church for the Province of Central Africa's authority.

Tome said they were not Dr Kunonga's "adherences" and he knew that "we were never involved in any way in selling of the shares, that is the reason why he did not even advise about case number 2539 /14."

The quartet further stated that there was no proof to show that they acted jointly and resolved to sell the shares as trustees.

Dr Kunonga is the former Anglican bishop and head of the Diocese of Harare CPCA.

The Supreme Court upheld the High Court decision last month ordering the cleric and his allies to pay $427 892, plus interest and court costs to the Diocese of Harare.

The shares were owned by the CPCA in various firms and by command of the law, the decision of the Supreme Court is final and binding on all subordinate courts.

In 2013, the Supreme Court resolved the dispute in the Anglican Church pitting the CPCA and diocesan trustees, Harare province under case number SC48.12.

Dr Kunonga withdrew the diocese from the CPCA to form the Anglican Church of Zimbabwe after the province began ecclesiastical proceedings to investigate the controversial bishop on charges of fraud, heresy and attempted murder.

When he formed his church, Dr Kunonga clung on to the Anglican property for five years, while denying church members access to the properties, it was revealed.

At the height of the property wrangle, Dr Kunonga and his followers, including the four, decided to dispose of the church's property in the form of shares it owned in various companies.

The unilateral sale of property and shares prejudiced the church members of $427 892.

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