Daniel Nemukuyu Senior Court Reporter
METROPOLITAN Bank Limited has hauled Chitungwiza Municipality to the High Court demanding $1,3 million in damages after council double allocated stands at Nyatsime Estate.
The bank paid Z$1,2 billion to Chitungwiza Town Council in respect of 78 residential stands measuring 800 square metres each for the purposes of constructing cluster houses.
When the economy dollarised, Chitungwiza asked the bank to pay top ups for the stands to facilitate servicing of stands.
The bank paid an additional $118 500 for servicing and $47 400 for surveying before being allocated Stand Numbers, 14596 to 14599, 14600 to 14623 , 14626 to 14697, 14777 to 14778 and 15229 in Nyatsime area.
Efforts by the bank to get vacant stands have proved fruitless.
Investigations by the bank revealed that the stand sizes had been reduced from the agreed 800 square metres to 500 square metres.
The bank also learnt that the stands had been allocated to other people, who had since started constructing their structures with the approval of council.
Met Bank, through its lawyers Manase and Manase Legal Practitioners, has filed a claim for $1, 153 400 or immediate allocation of a total of 63 200 square metres of land.
The bank is also claiming an additional refund of $165 900 that was paid for servicing and surveying on October 17 2013.
It is Met Bank’s contention that council officials proved to be grossly incompetence in handling the matter.
“There is therefore gross incompetence in the conduct of the duty by the defendant’s employees in doing double allocations and in failing to allocate the prescribed sizes as per agreement,” read the plaintiff’s declaration.
They argued that numerous demands were made for the municipality to comply with the terms of sale without success.
“Further efforts to reign reason in this matter proved fruitless on the 6th of July 2015 upon the invitation of defendant’s chamber secretary.
“Plaintiff and its legal practitioners attended, waited for a full hour in the reception but the defendant refused to entertain the plaintiff despite it having given the plaintiff an appointment to come to its town house,” read the papers.
Council, through its lawyers Matsikidze and Mucheche Legal Practitioners, filed a special plea contesting the bank’s use of the name “Met Bank” in its papers.
The local authority argued that “Met Bank” was not a legal persona hence the summons was a nullity.
It was further argued that stands allocated to the bank were never allocated to anyone else.
Council argued that there was a High Court order barring it from taking any action in respect of the Nyatsime area.
The local authority cited the case of some seven farmers at Braemer Farm who successfully barred council from allocating the land to other people.
The farmers argued that they were allocated the land for farming under the land reform programme and they sought an urgent interdict against council.
The dispute between Met Bank and Chitungwiza Municipality is now at pre-trial conference stage.
If the parties fail to reach an agreement, the matter will be referred to trial.