Daniel Nemukuyu Senior Court Reporter
MDC-T is battling to stop the sale of its furniture that was recently attached and removed from the party’s head office at Harvest House over a $108 000 debt.
Harvest House was reduced to an empty hall after the Sheriff of the High Court cleared all the office furniture, computers, printers and other goods to recover $108 000 in labour damages the party owed a former employee.
The Sheriff attached various sets of sofas, office chairs and tables, desktop computers, printers, fridges, and other property, leaving all the seven floors virtually empty.
The Sheriff was acting on the instructions of a former MDC-T employee, Ms Sally Dura, who won labour damages amounting to $108 951.
On Tuesday, MDC-T, through Mwonzora and Associates, filed a court application for rescission of the default judgment that registered Ms Dura’s arbitral award.
In the application, MDC-T’s deputy chief of staff, Mr Collin Gwiyo, argued that the default judgment was granted despite filing of opposing papers. “The default judgment was improperly sought and irregularly granted,” reads Mr Gwiyo’s founding affidavit.
“This is because the application for registration of the arbitral award in favour of the first respondent was opposed and the notice of opposition is filed of record.
“It boggles the mind how the first respondent was able to set down her application as an unopposed matter and obtain the default judgment. “She did not disclose to the court that the matter was opposed. She misled the court into believing that the application was not opposed.”
MDC-T argued that it was not served with a notice of setdown for the matter, hence the default judgment should be rescinded. The opposition party contends that the Sheriff cleared its headquarters of its property without giving a formal notice as required by law.
“Before the removal of the property, which included all office furniture and key equipment such as computers, no formal notice of attachment and removal was issued,” the party argued.
“It follows that the actions of the second respondent (Sheriff) were clearly malicious.” MDC-T, which claims to be a labour-backed party, breached the labour laws by unfairly dismissing Ms Dura and 15 others when the matter was brought before an independent arbitrator.
The arbitral award ordered the reinstatement of the 16, adding that if reinstatement was no longer tenable, the political party was supposed to pay damages.
The party did not comply with the award. Instead, the political party appealed the decision, but the Supreme Court dismissed it.
The High Court confirmed the award and turned it into a court order compelling MDC-T to pay the damages.
Failure by MDC-T to pay the damages resulted in Ms Dura instructing the Sheriff to attach the party’s property.