Tendai Rupapa Senior Court Reporter—
A Harare magistrate has ordered AfrAsia Kingdom Bank to unfreeze the National Housing Delivery Trust’s bank account as it was not part of the criminal proceedings being faced by its founder, Energy Mutodi.
Mutodi is accused of fleecing US$588 000 from home-seekers.
Harare provincial magistrate Mr Vakayi Chikwekwe last Thursday said the account was wrongly frozen after the courts were led to believe that it belonged to Mutodi and not NHDT.
“The account in question was wrongly frozen in that it did not belong to Mutodi but the trust, which is a separate entity at law.
“The trust is also not being prosecuted, therefore, it should be allowed to run its affairs and meet its obligations. It should make resolutions and not the court. In light of this there is no jurisdiction to refuse to unfreeze the account when in the first place there was an error.
“In view of the above, it is hereby ordered that the account of NHDT is hereby unfrozen without any conditions.
“Further that henceforth, NHDT, through its board of trustees, shall be ordered to operate its accounts normally for the purpose of discharging its obligations to its various creditors, chief being Pinnacle Holdings and Walben Holdings,” he said. He said the State misdirected itself both at law and fact when it asserted that the court had no jurisdiction to hear the application.
“Such mandate is derived from Section 50 of Criminal Procedure and Evidence Act, which specifically deals with seizure under warrant. To argue that this provision does not apply in this application is tantamount to misdirection,” he said.
Mutodi’s lawyers — Mr Charles Chinyama, Mr Freddy Machokoto and Mr Ray Tsvakwi — said the trust bought several residential stands from Pinnacle Holdings, represented by Dr Phillip Chiyangwa, for US$3 250 000, which they were now failing to pay since the bank account was frozen.