Zimbabwe: Grace Mugabe Challenges Truck Grab Case

Former First Lady Grace Mugabe (right) with daughter Bona (file photo).
23 January 2020

Former President, Robert Mugabe's widow, Grace has challenged the case in which she and her late husband are being accused of confiscating a truck belonging to Sun Marine Shipping (Private) Limited after chasing away its driver.

The incident allegedly occurred back in 2014 when Mugabe was still in power and soon after the driver had delivered goods from South Africa at the former First Family's farm in Mazowe.

Sun Marine Shipping took the case to court seeking to recover its truck but Grace has challenged the move saying this was done out of time allowed by the law.

She also challenged the authority of Cutmore Makumbirofa who disposed of an affidavit on behalf of the company.

"It cannot be disputed by the applicant that the cause of action arose in 2014, the deponent has not attested to being present in 2014 when the dispute arose and cannot speak to events which took place in his absence as this amounts to hearsay," reads part of the heads of arguments.

"Respondent persists with this averment that this matter is not properly before the court and should be dismissed accordingly.

"In the present case, the set of facts that applicant is basing this entire claim on occurred on July 1 2014, the case was only brought before the court in August 2019, over five years from date alleged spoliation occurred. No evidence has been placed before this court that before 2019 there was any demand from the applicant.

"Prescription begins to run as soon as the debt is due, therefore the three years in which the applicant should have instituted these proceedings lapsed on June 30 2017. A further two years passed before applicant saw it fit to bring this present case, with respect the applicant filed this application long after the claim prescribed and accordingly, this court should not entertain this matter."

An affidavit filed by Makumbirofa, on behalf of the company last year alleges that the driver had to run for his life after he was attacked by Mugabe's two employees identified as Mr Mugombi and Mr Nhari.

It was his submission that the two were instructed by the Mugabes to do so.

The driver allegedly left all his belongings including his clothes and the truck which was then confiscated by the Mugabes.

He was accused of having damaged one of the machines while transporting it to the farm.

The couple's company, Alpha Omega was cited as the respondent in the application in which Sun Marine Shipping is seeking its properties back.

The court heard that the goods are still in the truck which is still parked at Gushungo Holdings workshop.

He said despite demand, the respondent insists the truck now belongs to it because it is entitled to damages for repair of UHT packaging machine which was damaged while on transit.

But Sun Marine said alpha Omega should have approached the courts for recourse.

Makumbirofa said he was once called by the farm officials to discuss releasing the truck.

He was advised to get quotations by Alpha Omega operations manager, Jemwa and did so but still the truck was not released.

He alleged that the truck has been vandalised and things removed include two diesel truck heavy duty batteries, eight rear new tyres, two super single tyres, one from the trailer and another from the spare wheel, driver's side mirror covers, trailer storage bins, wheel nuts, landing platform on trailer jumbo legs, inner blocking filter and other accessories.

The case was argued before High Court judge Justice Munangati Manongwa on Tuesday.

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