Source: NSSA seeks to attach Metbank property | The Herald August 7, 2019
Daniel Nemukuyu Investigations and Special Reports Editor
NATIONAL Social Security Authority (NSSA) has obtained a writ to attach Metbank Limited’s property in a bid to recover US$20 million worth of Treasury Bills. Metbank was last month ordered to pay back US$20 million, but nothing has been paid yet, prompting NSSA lawyers to apply for a writ of execution.
The writ, which was issued out yesterday, directs the Sheriff to attach movable property belonging to the bank.
“You are required and directed to attach and take into execution the movable goods of Metbank Limited of Central House, Number 3 Central Avenue, Harare, and of the same cause to be realised the sum of US$20 000 000 together with interest thereon at the rate of five percent per annum from 18th June, 2018 to date of payment in full and a penalty fee of five percent per annum of $20 000 000 compounded daily from 18th June, 2018 to date of return of Treasury Bills listed in paragraph one of the court order and charges of the plaintiff, which it recovered by judgment of this court dated July 3, 2019, in the above-mentioned suit, and also all other costs and charges of the plaintiff in the said suit to be hearafter duly taxed according to law, besides all your costs thereby incurred,” reads the writ.
The TBs form part of the much-hyped NSSA forensic report which has since caused the arrest of Environment, Tourism and Hospitality Industry Minister Prisca Mupfumira on criminal abuse of office charges.
NSSA lend three bills to the bank in an agreement signed in 2017, but the latter refused to pay back arguing that there was no valid agreement between the parties.
According to the judgment, the bills were lend to the bank for use as security for its third party borrowings.
This was done on the basis of a security lending agreement signed on December 18, 2017 which expired after six months.
It was also a term of agreement that the bank would settle the Treasury Bills upon expiry of the agreement, failure of which a penalty fee of five percent per annum would be imposed.
According to NSSA, the agreement expired on June 18, 2018. Metbank was given a notice to remedy the breach on August 7, 2018 but it failed to do so.
That prompted NSSA to approach the High Court for recourse.
Metbank, through its legal representative Advocate Fadzai Mahere, opposed the High Court application arguing that no agreement was ever signed and that the parties only signed a “term sheet” with a view to agreeing on the terms of security lending agreement.
However, Justice Nicholas Mathonsi, who was recently elevated to the Supreme Court, ruled that the agreement surely existed and all steps taken in the transactions point to a valid agreement and that the bank must pay back.
The judge also blasted Metbank for abusing court processes by insisting with a hopeless defence.
“Such behaviour can only be explained as an abuse of the court, typical of engaging in a Sunday morning kick around, except that this is a court of law transacting serious business,” ruled Justice Mathonsi.
Advocate Tawanda Zhuwarara represented NSSA. The judge ordered the bank to pay US$20 million plus interest.
To express the court’s displeasure, Justice Mathonsi slapped the bank with costs of suit on a higher scale.