Fidelis Munyoro Chief Court Reporter
HARARE businessman Mr Philip Chiyangwa was last week left counting his losses after the High Court refused to declare as binding, the 240 hectares deal between him and Redcliff Municipality.
Mr Chiyangwa and Redcliff have been locked in a land dispute for a decade after the local authority backtracked and reversed a land deal which it had entered into with Pinnacle Holdings, one of Mr Chiyangwa’s construction companies.
Pinnacle had bought 240 hectares of land for $658 000 in 2009. Mr Chiyangwa paid $375 000 as deposit.
Redcliff later withdrew from the deal claiming that the piece of land which the cash-strapped municipality indiscreetly sold to Pinnacle while on the brink of bankruptcy had been sold for a song.
The council said then that it wanted the matter resolved amicably with Mr Chiyangwa who had bailed the municipality during its hour of need.
Mr Chiyangwa reacted by suing the local authority, but High Court Judge Justice Benjamin Chikowero dismissed the application with costs.
“I am unable to grant the declaratory order,” said Justice Chikowero.
“The evidence is clear that the parties did not settle (case number) HC3439/2011.”
The Deed of Settlement, which Mr Chiyangwa wanted the court to validate and order the transfer of title of the 240 hectares of land only had signatures of Pinnacle’s lawyers.
Prior to the dispute spilling into the High Court, the matter was almost settled.
However, what stood in the way of an amicable resolution of the case was the local authority’s unhappiness with the proposed terms of the draft Deed of Settlement.
Council viewed the terms as intolerably skewed in favour of Pinnacle.