City land developer files $20m lawsuit for damages

Source: City land developer files $20m lawsuit for damages | Herald (Africa)

Fidelis Munyoro Chief Court Reporter

A LAND development company has filed a $20 million lawsuit against a company that published notices discouraging home-seekers from buying residential stands at Pomona City Housing Project (PCHP) claiming the land in question was subject for litigation in the courts.

West Property Company (Private) Ltd is suing Fairclot Investments which published notices in the daily newspapers, The Herald and NewsDay — warning members of the public that the land on which the PCHP was being developed was under contention.

Fairclot is being sued along with Allan Russel, Grant Russel and Paragon Printing and Packaging (Private) Ltd who is also accused of disseminating falsehoods.

In the notices, Fairclot also stated that the title deeds to the property were held in escrow having been pledged as security for a debt, which had not been settled hence purchase of the stands was at the risk of the buyers.

The contents in the notices were also put on a billboard along Borrowdale Road.

In the claim filed at the High Court on Wednesday, West Properties said Mr Grant Russel had exclusive right to the use of the billboard in issue and was the one who allowed Fairclot, Mr Allan Russel and Paragon to use the billboard to publish the said falsehoods against PCHP.

“The intention and effect of the public notices is meant to propel members of the public away from purchasing or leasing the land from the plaintiff (West Property Company),” said the company, which is being represented by Chinawa Law Chambers.

“The plaintiff is already suffering pecuniary loses with purchasers and tenants who had initially expressed intention to buy and rent the serviced stands suddenly, withdrawing from the agreements. Consequently, the plaintiff suffered damages in the sum of $20 million for costs incurred in servicing the stands as well as lost profit.”

The massive claim comes after Fairclot allegedly refused to withdraw the notices.

“The public notices are factually incorrect and issued with intent to harm the plaintiff’s business and financial interest from the Pomona City Project,” said West Property.

While admitting that there is litigation in the cited cases, West Property Company said such litigation was between the Fairclot and Augur Investments.

The public notices, the property company said, created an impression that the litigation was between West Property Company and Fairclot by their failure to mention the parties involved in the cited cases,” said West Property.

“The land in question is not the subject of litigation, with its judicial attachment and caveat having been uplifted and cancelled in 2019.”

West Property accused Fairclot and its co-defendants for using the notices to intentionally mislead the public that the title deeds to the land were held in escrow when in fact they were with Doorex Properties, the rightful owner of the land in question.

Doorex Properties was not involved in any litigation with Fairclot and not a party to the proceedings that were pending before the court, including the cases cited in the public notices, said West Property.

It also claimed that the Fairclot debt was settled by Augur Investments, contrary to what the defendants stated in their public notices.

The defendants are yet to respond to the summons and have 10 days to do so.