Sunday Mail Reporter
A prominent Bulawayo businessman, who was once arrested for duping a fellow businessman of over US$380 000, is now set to lose vehicles, household property and company shares after the High Court ordered him to pay back the money.
High Court Judge Justice Martin Makonese ordered Ismail Moosa Lunat to pay US$384 177 owed to Mohamed Zakariya Patel, including costs of the suit.
The Sheriff has since attached Lunat’s Toyota Rav4 valued at RTGS$20 000, his Mazda Axela valued at RTGS$15 000, a Honda Odyssey valued at RTGS$12 000, a double-door fridge (RTGS$7 000), dinner table and chairs worth $8 000, a treadmill priced at $5 000 and a four-piece leather brown sofa set which costs RTGS$15 000.
The businessman also lost shares in Dodge Seven Investments (Pvt) Ltd — a company he co-owned with his wife Angela Maria Coelho Costa Lunat.
Lunat also risks losing his Bulawayo Khumalo suburb property registered under Deed of Transfer 56/2008. In their arguments in court, Patel’s lawyers Samukange Hungwe Attorneys successfully sought the attachment of Lunat’s possessions.
Court papers read that Lunat signed an acknowledgement of debt document on 11 January, 2019. He promised to repay US$384 177 after he had initially paid US$64 823 as part payment of a US$449 000 total debt.
In mitigation, Lunat claimed that he was coerced to sign the acknowledgment of debt document after Patel threatened to sell his properties, whose deeds were in his possession.
However, Patel’s legal counsel crushed Lunat’s defence arguing that the latter never reported the matter to the police.
Justice Makonese ruled that Lunat’s claim that he was coerced into signing was “improbable and utterly ridiculous”.
“It is difficult to comprehend how the applicant (Patel) could effect the sale of properties belonging to third parties. Respondent (Lunat) asserts that the title deeds were held by applicant for entirely separate transactions. The allegations of threats and coercion is clearly illusory.
“Curiously, the respondent has not taken the court into its confidence by placing before the court any supporting affidavits of persons/ relatives, whose property was under threat of sale by the applicant.
“The court will not take every defence as plausible unless it is consistent with all the facts surrounding the execution of an acknowledgement of debt.
“An acknowledgement of debt is what it is. It is an indication by the debtor that he owes the creditor a specific sum of money. Business transactions would be seriously impended if valid legal contracts were to be unenforceable on tenuous defences being raised by defaulting debtors.”
On January 16, 2020, Lunat is set to appear in court as he is facing allegations of defrauding a fellow businessman, Adam Horton, of US$290 000.