via Bredenkamp ordered to pay over $3,8m debt – NewsDay Zimbabwe February 19, 2016
Prominent business tycoon John Bredenkamp has been ordered by the High Court to pay back $3,872 million plus interest to a local businessman, Yaqub Ibrahim Mohammed, which he reportedly borrowed to support government troops in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) 15 years ago.
BY CHARLES LAITON
For almost 16 years, Mohammed said he endured the most difficult time in his business, since Bredenkamp was reluctant to return his money which he borrowed sometime in 2002 despite making several promises to settle the debt.
But Mohammed’s woes came to an end on Wednesday this week, after High Court judge Justice Priscilla Chigumba ruled in his favour, ordering Bredenkamp to own up on the 16-year-old debt and dismissed his counter claim for alleged malicious prosecution.
Bredenkamp had filed a $350 000 counter claim alleging Mohammed maliciously caused his arrest and prosecution on fraud charges.
However, in her 23-page judgment, Justice Chigumba said Bredenkamp’s version of his arrest and incarceration was “sketchy and garbled, and in some instances clearly fabricated, by a witness (Bredenkamp) who told the court that he cannot remember events which took place last week because of his high blood pressure medications, let alone events which took place years ago”.
“We find that the report made to police by plaintiff (Mohammed) was not fake, as in based on false information. We find that the plaintiff did not do anything more than what is required to cause a perceived perpetrator of a crime to be brought to book,” Chigumba said.
“The claim in reconvention must fail because it is this court’s view that the evidence does not support the assertion that the plaintiff caused the prosecution of the defendant without reasonable or probable cause.”
Justice Chigumba further said Mohammed had an honest belief founded on reasonable grounds that the institution of criminal proceedings against Bredenkamp was justified. She said at one point Mohammed saw an e-mail from the defendant’s trustees which his lawyers advised was an indication the tycoon did not want to pay.
And, in the end Justice Chigumba ruled: “In the result, it be and is hereby ordered that: Judgment in favour of the plaintiff, as against the defendant be entered in the sum of $3 872 123 plus interest thereon at the prescribed rate calculated from February 28, 2013 to the date of payment in full as well as costs of suit on a legal practitioner and client scale.
“The claim in reconvention is dismissed with costs on legal practitioner and client scale.”
Bredenkamp was represented by lawyers from Atherstone and Cook, while Mohammed was represented by Venturas and Samukange.