Daniel Nemukuyu Senior Court Reporter
Former Anglican Church leader Dr Nolbert Kunonga, who was last week ordered to pay $428 000 to the church as compensation for the shares he looted and sold at the height of the church’s five-year wrangle, has appealed against the High Court decision.
Bishop Kunonga, who moved out of the Anglican Church of the Province of Central Africa to form his own church, clung on to the Anglican property for five years while “tormenting” the church members and denying them access to the properties.
During that time, he sold the church’s shares in various listed companies without authority.
The church discovered the illegal sale after the Supreme Court made a final determination in the church’s property wrangle in 2012.
After the decisive court ruling, the legitimate owners carried out an audit which revealed that the shares had been unlawfully disposed of.
Dr Kunonga sold the shares together with his lieutenants – Beaven Michael Ngundu, Alfred Tome, Justin Nyazika and Winter Shamuyarira.
High Court judge Justice Nicholas Mathonsi last week ordered Dr Kunonga to pay back the money.
Aggrieved by the High Court decision, Dr Kunonga noted an appeal.
In a notice of appeal filed at the Supreme Court recently, Dr Kunonga, through Venturas and Samukange law firm, argued that the shares were sold in the interest of the church.
“The court also failed to appreciate that the appellant used the same premises during the dispute and met all expenses incurred in doing so,” he said.
“The shares were sold in order to maintain and preserve the rest of the other properties.
“The court erred in not appreciating that the alienation of the shares was in the interest of the respondent (Anglican church) at the material time.”
Dr Kunonga argued that in selling the shares, he did not do so in his personal capacity, but as the then head of the Diocesan Trustees of the Diocese of Harare.
He is also challenging the court’s decision to disregard the value of $270 000 that the shares were sold and valuing them at $428 000 in line with the official and prevailing rates.
Dr Kunonga argues that there was no evidence proving that the shares were sold at a price higher than $270 000.
The shares sold are listed as follows:
BAT Zimbabwe. . . . 8 391 shares
Dawn Properties. . .1 006 486 shares
Delta Corporation. . .150 586 shares
DZL. . . . . . . . . .122 956 shares
Econet . . . . . . . . .6 510 shares
Old Mutual . . . . .5 925 shares
Seedco . . . . . . . . .78 641 shares
TN Financial. . 1 909 900 shares
ZPI. . . . . . . . . . .864 833 shares
Justice Mathonsi said since Dr Kunonga and his group broke away from the Anglican Church of the Province of Central Africa in 2007 they ceased to be members of the church and lost right over the church property.
The judge said any sale of assets they did after August 4, 2007 was tantamount to selling other people’s property without permission.
Justice Mathonsi said although the Kunonga group sold the shares at a give away price of $270 000, the church was entitled to the officially prevailing rate as at the time of the sale.