Daqniel Nemukuyu Herald Reporter
Some of the late General Solomon Mujuru’s children and business associates have written to the Master of the High Court saying they have suffered prejudice resulting from the delay by Vice President Joice Mujuru in registering the estate of her husband. According to Section 5 (1) of the Administration of Estates Act, it is peremptory for immediate relatives of the deceased to notify the Master of the High Court’s Office of the death through registration of the estate within 14 days.
But since General Mujuru’s death in 2010, the estate that is believed to be worth millions of dollars, has not yet been registered.
If the late general left a will, its existence and contents seem not to have been made available to all interested parties.
During a memorial service for her husband, VP Mujuru publicly acknowledged that her man was a known skirt chaser who may have left various progeny, but that any claimants would need DNA testing to prove their cases.
Some of the children and companies interested in the estate have written letters to the Master of the High Court inquiring as to why the estate remains unregistered years after the general’s death.
Two of General Mujuru’s children, Tawanda and Tsitsi Mujuru, wrote to the Master of the High Court towards the end of 2013 inquiring on whether or not the estate had been registered.
Their mother, Ms Simbiso Chisirimunhu, died in 2011.
Last year, guardians of Tawanda and Tsitsi, who are believed to be domiciled in the UK, were quoted in the media as saying the delay in distributing Mujuru’s estate had left them struggling to provide for the two who were both not yet independent.
The letter by the duo’s lawyers dated November 4 2013 reads:
“Our clients advise that they are son and daughter of the late Solomon Tapfumanei Mujuru respectively and we have instructions to represent their interests.
“To that end, we kindly request you to furnish us with the DR Number of the record.”
Mambosasa Legal Practitioners, who acted on behalf of a company interested in the estate, also wrote to the Master of the High Court seeking to find out its status. The letter reads:
“We address you at the instance of our client, which has interests in a company known as Pan Reef Mining and Exploration (Pvt) Ltd, who instructs us to inquire, as we hereby do as follows:
“1. Whether the above estate is registered with your office?
“2. If it is, whether the inventory includes any shareholding in the above mentioned company (Pan Reef Mining and Exploration).
“3. If the inventory includes such shareholding, give us the number of shares held by the estate.”
Gill, Godlonton and Gerrans on February 22 2012, wrote another letter to the Office of the Master seeking to know about the estate on behalf of another client.
Investigations by The Herald have since established that in all cases, the Master of High Court replied indicating that the estate had not yet been registered.
The Master of the High Court refused to comment on the matter.
A lawyer who spoke on condition of anonymity said the delay in registration of estates does not only affect family members left out in the cold, but also impacts negatively on the nation’s economy.
“Failure to register and administer estates in time has negative effect on the performance of the economy in that it affects revenue collection,” said the lawyer.
“Death duty, which is due to the fiscus also assists in raising revenue especially when the estate is worth lots of money.”
Another lawyer noted that the practice could be widespread as people are abusing the fact that there is no provision for penalising those who do not comply with the peremptory requirement.