Daniel Nemukuyu Senior Court Reporter—
Former Zanu-PF secretary for administration Didymus Mutasa reportedly locked up the gates and doors to his Umwinsdale property in a bid to block the Sheriff from attaching his assets over a $26 000 debt owed to lawyers who represented him in his battles with the revolutionary party. Execution was temporarily stopped to allow the Sheriff to engage the services of a locksmith.
An assistant Sheriff, Mr Kapfudzaruwa, on February 1 attempted to attach property at Mutasa’s Umwinsdale house, but faced stiff resistance from his workers.
The Sheriff will now go back to the house with a locksmith to gain access into the premises and execute a court order that compels the beleaguered olitician to pay $26 919,25 to Nyakutombwa Mugabe Legal Counsel.
Mutasa, together with Rugare Gumbo and Temba Mliswa, were in 2015 expelled from Zanu-PF for illegally trying to topple President Mugabe. Mutasa and Gumbo were, until their expulsion last week, part of a new political outfit – Zimbabwe People First – led by former Vice President Joice Mujuru. Mliswa is now legislator for Norton on an independent ticket.
Mutasa and Gumbo then claimed to have counter-expelled ZimPF interim leader Mujuru, after their expulsion along with five others. Together with Mliswa, they engaged the services of Nyakutombwa Mugabe Legal Counsel to contest their expulsion from Zanu-PF in 2015.
They also sought to nullify an amendment made to the revolutionary party’s constitution at its 2014 National People’s Congress. After filing several applications, the trio later chickened out and dropped the challenge, but the lawyers billed them $26 000 for work already done for which they did not pay.
The lawyers approached the High Court earlier this year claiming the outstanding fees. Last week, Justice Felistus Chatukuta issued a default judgment against Mutasa and ordered him to pay the $26 000 plus interest.
Gumbo and Mliswa are contesting the claim and the matter is yet to be heard at the High Court. Justice Chatukuta last year ordered Mutasa (the first defendant in the suit) to pay the $26 919,25 after he failed to turn up for the case.
“Whereupon, after reading documents filed of record, it is ordered that the first defendant (Mutasa) be and is hereby ordered to pay the plaintiff the sum of $26 919,25 plus interest on the above amount at the prescribed rate calculated from the date of issue of summons to the date of full and final payment,” the judge ruled.
The judge also ordered Mutasa to pay costs of the suit.
Mutasa, Gumbo and Mliswa made headlines between 2015 and early 2016 for frequenting the High Court with suits against the revolutionary party. For the legal suits, the litigious trio enjoyed the services of Nyakutombwa Mugabe Legal Counsel whom they didn’t pay.
Nyakutombwa Mugabe Legal Counsel raised a bill for all the services rendered, but the three failed to pay. After unsuccessfully trying various avenues to recover the debt, the law firm issued summons at the High Court claiming the money from the politicians.
When the three were expelled from Zanu-PF, they approached the law firm seeking legal services. “As a result of their expulsion, they approached the plaintiff and retained the plaintiff for the provision of several legal services related to their expulsion from the aforesaid political party.
“The services included challenging the aforesaid expulsion and seeking the enforcement of certain constitutional rights,” reads part of the plaintiff’s declaration. In coming up with the bill, the law firm charged the trio for all opted services rendered and for all court attendances in terms of the Law Society of Zimbabwe General Tariff of 2011.
No guarantee of success was given nor was failure of the cases a basis for non-payment of due fees, the lawyers argued. The trio lost all their cases at the High Court and the Supreme Court and became evasive in terms of settling the legal bill.
Mutasa and Gumbo were represented in a High Court case in which they contested expulsion from Zanu-PF under HC1914 and left a balance of $2 950. The lawyers are also claiming $5 181 from Mutasa and Mliswa for legal services rendered while they were pursuing another case at the Constitutional Court registered under CCZ 10/15.
Mutasa is being separately sued for $1 380 for services in a case he required a spoliation order against the Office of the President and Cabinet. Mutasa and Mliswa were also charged $12 463 in another constitutional challenge filed under CCZ 9/15 at the Constitutional Court.
The law firm also claimed $4 945 from Mutasa for representing him in a case in which he was fighting the Constituency Elections Office. The lawyers wanted the trio to pay costs of the suit and to be obliged to pay interest on the total figures owed at the rate of 5 percent per annum calculated from the date of issuance of the summons to the date of payment in full.
In one of the cases in which Mutasa and Gumbo were contesting expulsion at the High Court, the duo chickened out on March 30 this year. The court ordered the duo to pay legal costs incurred by Zanu-PF and President Mugabe in defending the aborted court application.