Businessman contests US$300 000 suit
BUSINESS tycoon Kenneth Sharpe has petitioned the High Court to reject a US$300 000 lawsuit filed against him by his one-time business partner over botched land development joint venture.
Mr Sharpe is embroiled in a long-running legal battle with Mr George Katsimberis over business deals that went sour and their feud is now playing out in the courts.
At the centre of the dispute is “show house” built at Pokugara Estates, which was demolished by Harare City Council because of non-compliance with council procedures leading to the cancellation of the survey diagrams.
Mr Katsimberis claims Mr Sharpe and his workers made misrepresentations to the local authority and surveyor-general about land developments and projects that he had done.
He claimed to have built the show house. But Mr Sharpe denies the claim against him and has filed a motion for exception to the suit.
He argues that the property destroyed did not belong to Mr Katsimberis and the permit he claimed existed was paid for by Mr Sharpe he now seeks to sue.
“The defendants (Mr Sharpe and co-defendants) hereby except to the plaintiffs’ (Mr Katsimberis and his company) entire claim on the grounds that it is defectively pleaded, vague and embarrassing to the point that it cannot be pleaded to,” he said.
Even after reading the declaration, said Mr Sharpe, it remained shrouded in mystery why the destruction of the “show house” translates to patrimonial loss for the plaintiffs, more so considering that the pleaded agreement(s) never conferred nor vested ownership of the showhouse in either of the plaintiffs.
“The plaintiffs claim for US$300 000.00 being the cost of constructing the show house is not cognisable at law,” he said.
“The plaintiffs claim is defective in that it is not based on the calculation of the diminutive value of the ‘show house’ by reason of the demolition.”
Mr Sharpe furthermore, queried why the claim is denominated in US dollars, adding that such deficiency renders the pleading and claim embarrassing to respond to.
The business tycoon also contends that Mr Katsimberis summons claim for an award of $5 million for “injury, pain, shock and suffering” as aggravated damages is also bad at law.
The term “aggravated damages” is unknown to the law of delict and is neither pleaded nor explained in the declaration, said Mr Sharpe.
According to Mr Katsimberis, who is being represented by his lawyer Mr Tendai Biti, the $5 million he is demanding arose from the pain and suffering as well as the setting aside of the cancellation of the three joint ventures by Mr Sharpe.
Mr Sharpe and Mr Katsimberis signed agreements for a 50/50 partnership in 2016 resulting in the formation of Pokugara Eco-friendly Estates, Borrowdale Ecofriendly Estates and Gunhill Ecofriendly Estates.
Sharpe is also being accused of trying to wriggle out of the contractual binding after claiming that the company that signed the contract was
Pokugara Estate (Pvt) Ltd instead of Pokugara Properties (Pvt) Ltd, after his own misrepresentation.
Mr Katsimberis last week filed an interdict application to stop the sale of Pokugara Properties until the court has cleared the court cases.