Daniel Nemukuyu Senior Court Reporter
BUSINESS mogul Mr John Arnold Bredenkamp’s private jet faces auctioning over a $205 000 debt after the High Court on Wednesday threw out his latest bid to block the removal of the attached plane.
Mr Bredenkamp borrowed $3,8 million from a friend, Mr Yakub Mahomed, for the purposes of recapitalising his mining business in the Democratic Republic of Congo but failed to pay the debt in full.
The judgment awarded Mr Mahomed $3,8 million plus interest but the debt was reduced to $205 602 after taxation. Advocates Thabani Mpofu and Tawanda Zhuwarara, instructed by Mr Jonathan Samukange of Venturas and Samukange Legal Practitioners, represented Mr Mahomed in the matter while Advocate David Ochieng and Mr Tawanda Nyamasoka acted for Mr Bredenkamp.
Mr Mahomed, through his team of lawyers, instructed the Sheriff of the High Court to attach a private jet belonging to Mr Bredenkamp. On May 31 this year, the Sheriff attached the plane and removal was set for June 5 this year.
Mr Bredenkamp’s lawyers filed an urgent chamber application at the High Court to stop the removal pending determination of a pending review application. However, Justice Happias Zhou threw out the urgent chamber application, a development that resulted in Mr Mohamed instructing the Sheriff to remove the property.
In a letter on Wednesday, Mr Samukange instructed the Sheriff to remove the plane from Mr Bredenkamp’s premises for auctioning. “We refer to the above matter and write to advise that the urgent application, which had been filed by the defendant seeking to stay execution in the above matter was dismissed. “In view of the above, please proceed to remove the already attached goods without any further notice to the defendant,” reads the letter to the Sheriff.
Mr Mahomed sued the business tycoon for violating the 2012 agreement made in the presence of former Prosecutor-General Mr Johannes Tomana and both parties’ legal representatives to pay the debt. Mr Bredenkamp promised to settle the debt by February 2013.
He, however, failed to honour the promise. The court noted that Mr Mohamed’s claim was based on the agreement entered between the parties on August 17 2012, at a meeting convened by former Prosecutor-General Mr Tomana.
The meeting had been convened to see if the parties could not resolve their differences out of court after the PG had refused to prosecute the defendant in the criminal court.
In his defence, Mr Bredenkamp argued that he did not borrow the money personally but he did so on behalf of a company called KMC which was operating in the DRC at the time. He argued that at the meeting convened by Mr Tomana, no personal liability to pay the money was assumed.
He added that he undertook to pay the money because he felt morally obliged to do so. During the hearing, two lawyers, Mr Samukange and Mr Innocent Chagonda, who attended the meeting in question testified as witnesses.
At the end of the hearing, the presiding judge Justice Priscilla Chigumba, ordered Mr Bredenkamp to pay the debt. The judge also found that Mr Bredenkamp was a bad witness.