Minister faces jail over $15 000 debt

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A LOCAL seed producing company, Seed Co Zimbabwe (Pvt) Ltd, has approached the High Court seeking incarceration of Finance deputy minister Terence Mukupe after the latter allegedly failed to pay $15 000 for various crop seeds supplied to him in December 2013.

BY CHARLES LAITON

Seed Co last Thursday issued the summons for civil imprisonment against the deputy minister, under case number HC3307/18, challenging him to show cause why he should not be incarcerated over the debt.

“You [Mukupe] are required to pay this sum by virtue of judgment obtained against you in the High Court at Harare on January 13, 2016, under which you were ordered to pay the sum of $15 010,32 and interest thereon calculated at the rate of 18% per annum from August 27, 2015 to date of payment in full and costs of suit on a legal practitioner and client scale as well as collection commission in terms of the Law Society of Zimbabwe (LSZ) by-laws,” part of the summons read.

In the same summons, Mukupe was also requested to avail evidence of his financial position, which includes income from his wages, salary, other earnings including any other income from any other source.

“If you fail to pay the sum specified above, you must appear before High Court at Harare on the [date to be advised] to explain why you have not paid it and to show cause why an order for imprisonment shall not be made on account of your failure to pay. You should bring your evidence of your financial position, and it will be in your own interest to give the court evidence . . .,” the summons read.

“Unless you pay the plaintiff the sum specified . . . or unless the plaintiff (Seed Co) accepts an offer of settlement which you have made to them, you must appear before the High Court on the date and at the time specified . . . If you do not do so, a writ of personal attachment may be issued against you and you may be committed to prison.”

The lawsuit against Mukupe came about after he allegedly entered into a seed supplying contract with Seed Co on December 31, 2013, but later failed to fulfil his contractual obligations.

However, when summons commencing action were issued against him, Mukupe allegedly failed to respond to the litigation, prompting the firm to approach the court for a default judgment, which was granted on January 13, 2016 by High Court judge Justice Helena Charehwa.

Armed with a court order, Seed Co obtained a writ of execution on February 1, 2016, but execution failed, prompting the seed firm to seek the minister’s incarceration.