Fidelis Munyoro Chief Court Reporter
The High Court has ordered Environment, Water and Climate Deputy Minister Engineer Simon Musanhu to vacate the premises he is renting after his appeal to remain in occupation of the property was rejected.
Eng Musanhu, owner of Craster Kitchens (Pvt) Ltd that operates at Number 27 Craster Road, Southerton, was also ordered to pay more than US$12 000 in holding over damages for remaining in occupation of the property following the cancellation of the lease agreement.
The deputy minister signed a two-year lease agreement with BGS Properties (Pvt) Ltd commencing on January 2013 to December 31, 2015.
He failed to pay rent in terms of the agreement, resulting in the landlord cancelling the lease agreement in February this year.
After the cancellation of the agreement, BGS, through their lawyer Mr Davison Kanokanga, sued Eng Musanhu at the Magistrates’ Civil Court, before he rushed to settle the arrears.
He remained in occupation of the property despite the agreement having been cancelled, arguing that he had made improvements.
The court dismissed his contention and ordered him to vacate the property.
Through his lawyers Chakanyuka and Associates, Eng Musanhu then appealed at the High Court against the lower court’s ruling. He also applied for a stay for execution pending the determination of the appeal.
Eng Musanhu argued that the lower court was wrong in ordering his eviction because he had paid the arrears in full on May 27 this year, two months after the lease had been cancelled in February.
He said he wanted to remain in occupation of the premises without paying anything to recover the costs he incurred in sprucing up the property.
Eng Musanhu argued that the lower court should have waited for the commercial rent board to make a determination of the dispute.
However, the rent board had refused to hear the matter on the basis that the parties had signed the lease agreement and that it was pending before the courts.
But Mr Kanokanga argued that Eng Musanhu breached the contract after he failed to honour his obligation to pay rent, which prompted the cancellation of the lease agreement.
He said Eng Musanhu only paid the arrears after the lease agreement was cancelled and the legal process having been instituted against him.
Mr Kanokanga further argued that in terms of the lease agreement, if Eng Musanhu wanted to make improvements, he would do so at his own costs and expenses with the consent of the landlord.
The High Court accepted arguments by Mr Kanokanga and ruled in favour of BGS, paving way for Eng Musanhu’s eviction.