RBZ dragged to court over unpaid rentals

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The beleaguered Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ) has been slapped with another lawsuit after it failed, for three consecutive months, to pay rent for the offices it is leasing in central Harare.

Charter Properties (Pvt) Ltd, owners of Charter House where RBZ rented five floors, have approached the High Court to try and force the central bank to pay over $90 000 in unpaid rentals and operating costs since December last year.

The RBZ has been, according to court papers filed with the High Court by property lawyer Kudzai Kadzere of Gill Godlonton & Gerrans legal practitioners, occupying five floors at Charter House since June 2006.

In the lease agreement that was signed in March 2009, the two parties had agreed on a monthly rental of $6 per square metre in respect of the leased premises.

But, in breach of the terms and conditions of the lease agreement, defendant (RBZ) failed to pay rent for the first and second floors of Charter House in full for the period between December 2009 and February 2010, thereby accumulating arrears to the tune of $29 053.26.

“As a consequence of this breach of the lease agreement, plaintiff (Charter Properties) cancelled the same as it was entitled and demanded ‘vacant possession of the premises’.

“Thus plaintiff simultaneously demanded payment of all arrears for rent and operating costs,” reads part of the summons copy.

The RBZ, according to the court papers, failed to fully comply and only vacated the seventh, tenth and the eleventh floors, remaining in occupation of the first and second floors.

Now Charter Properties wants a court order confirming the cancellation of the lease agreement and an order directs the central bank to vacate its premises.

“Plaintiff now prays for an order directing the RBZ together with all its assignees, invitees, subtenants and all other persons claiming through it to vacate forthwith from Charter House,” reads part of the order being sought by Charter Properties.

The company is also demanding payment of $29 053 in unpaid rentals together with interests and a further payment of $13 179 for operating costs.

Charter Properties are also demanding a payment of $9 510 per month as from March 1 to the date of RBZ’s eviction.

The RBZ’s fortunes started crumbling at the inception of the multi-currency system which relegated the worthless Zimbabwe dollar to the dustbin, marking the beginning of the fall of the RBZ and its quasi-fiscal activities.

Several private companies have sued the central bank for millions of dollars for failure to pay which has resulted in some of the bank’s properties being attached.