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Tsvangirai’s R5m headache

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WOES continue to mount for the cash-strapped MDC-T after it was taken to the High Court yesterday for refusing to pay a R5 million debt to two Bulawayo companies Cabat Trade and Finance (Pvt) Limited, and Security Mills.

RICHARD MUPONDE
SENIOR COURT REPORTER

MDC-T leader Morgan Tsvangirai is already reportedly being deserted by donors who want to force him to step down and the latest lawsuit will worsen the beleaguered opposition leader’s troubles.

The debt was for campaign T-shirts and bandanas supplied by the two firms in the run-up to the 2008 harmonised elections.

The legal wrangle has been pending for the past six years and at one time it spilled into the Supreme Court.

The two companies had appealed against a ruling by Bulawayo High Court judge Justice Lawrence Kamocha throwing out their claim saying the deal was not legal as the country was not officially using the South African currency when the deal was made.

However, on November 28, 2012 Deputy Chief Justice Luke Malaba sitting with justices Ann-Mary Gowora and Yunnus Omerjee set aside Justice Kamocha’s ruling and referred the matter back to the High Court for further trial.

The matter was before Justice Martin Makonese yesterday for pre-trial conference, but could not be discussed as MDC-T’s new lawyer Baron Sengweni was not prepared for the conference.

Initially, MDC-T was being represented by Harare lawyer Lewis Uriri, but he has since renounced agency.

Justice Makonese yesterday postponed the pre-trial conference to April 2 and ordered MDC-T to pay the costs of wasted time at an ordinary scale.

“The defendants (MDC-T) be and is hereby directed to file their pre-trial conference memorandum of issues by March 28 not later than 4pm.

The defendants be and is hereby directed to file their synopsis of evidence by March 28 not later than 4pm,” ruled Justice Makonese.

“The defendants shall appear with the authorised representatives in the next pre-trial conference. The defendants shall bear the cost of today’s wasted time at an ordinary scale.”

The opposition party was refusing to pay the two companies their money arguing that it never entered into such an agreement with the two firms.

Salient facts of the case are that the MDC-T represented by Eddie Cross, authorised Simon Spooner to enter into a verbal agreement with Security Mills represented by Laurence Zlattner to print and supply 200 000 MDC-T campaign T-Shirts and bandanas.

The material was to be used for MDC-T’s 2008 election campaign and the cost was R4 965 723, including VAT.

Given the size of the order, Security Mills agreed to supply the order in batches to accommodate MDC-T’s express stipulation that the total order be delivered in time for the campaign.

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