via Top cop, six others ordered off seized properties | The Herald November 7, 2013 by Zvamaida Murwira
THE High Court yesterday ordered top police officer Commissioner Oliver Chibage and his six other accomplices to back off from two properties that they grabbed from their owners and started claiming rentals.
The six accomplices are police Superintendent Joel Tenderere, Retired Major Alfred Chademana, Gideon Hwemende, Calisto Vengesai, Valentine Mushore and Farai Mutizwa.
Justice Amy Tsanga ordered the seven to leave Beverly East and Karoi Properties in Msasa, Harare after she ruled that they failed to demonstrate they were legitimate shareholders of Phoenix Trust, a company owning the properties.
The court was told the company’s several documents were seized by some police officers and never returned.
Comm Chibage and some of his colleagues were alleged to have been demanding rentals from tenants occupying the properties.
Comm Chibage is on leave pending resignation, with Commissioner General of Police Augustine Chihuri revealing recently that he took disciplinary measures against him for engaging in corrupt activities.
Supt Tenderere has since been transferred to Nkayi for similar reasons.
The two have been fingered in various cases of corruption.
The ruling yesterday was made after Honey and Blackenberg legal practitioners who were administering the properties, approached the High Court saying two separate groups were claiming ownership of the two properties in which the law firm held funds in rentals.
The other claimants were Lourence Erasmus Vermaak and Terence Cobden Rhodes, brother to the late proprietor Mr Brian James Rhodes who died in 2006.
Mr Simon Chivizhe of Wintertons who represented Mr Vermaak and Mr Rhodes, argued that the two were legitimate shareholders of the company, while Hwemende claimed he was the major shareholder and had appointed Comm Chibage and his group as directors.
“These are individuals who claim to be directors,” said Mr Chivizhe.
“They have approached this court in their personal capacity and they do not even allege to be shareholders.”
This was after it emerged that Hwemende failed to submit heads of arguments before the court, making him technically excluded from court proceedings.
Justice Tsanga upheld contention by Mr Chivizhe that the absence of Hwemende in court defeated Comm Chibage and his colleagues’ claim to the properties.
It was further upheld that the mere claim by Comm Chibage and his colleagues that they were directors did not help matters since the issue at hand was a shareholder case.
Before handing down the ruling, Justice Tsanga repeatedly asked Ms Melody Kenende of Tavenhave and Machingauta who represented Comm Chibage and his colleagues if they were shareholders and not just directors.
“There is no evidence filed of record to show that they are shareholders,” said Ms Kenende.
According to papers filed by Vermaak, Hwemende claimed to be a shareholder of the properties in terms of a “purported agreement” dated September 10 2002, saying he held 300 000 shares, but did not show evidence that he paid capital gains tax as required by the Companies Act.
He said what was also confusing was that Hwemende’s claim that he acquired 60 percent majority shareholding before he subsequently acquired 100 percent equity under the indigenisation laws was confusing since he already held shares above the threshold required by the law before he allegedly went for 100 percent.