A Bulawayo businesswoman has sued her landlord, the deputy sheriff, lawyers and magistrates for $5 million in damages after her property was attached and sold for unpaid rentals.
The businesswoman, Muriel De Souza, is the director of Tradepass Marketing Services (Pvt) (Ltd) trading as Outreach for Jesus Carpenters, a company which manufactures furniture based in Thorngrove.
She filed a lawsuit on January 4 at the Bulawayo High Court summoning her former landlords, M Filannino and Markou M, who are cited as the first defendants in the lawsuit.
She is demanding $516 000 for her lost property which was attached and sold by the deputy sheriff.
M Filannino and Markou M owned number 25 Waverly Road Thorngrove, which housed De Souza’s company and was administered by John Pocock.
The amount which De Souza owed her landlords was not mentioned in the court papers, but was said to have been in Zimbabwean dollars.
John Pocock and Company (Pvt) (Ltd), Advocate Hilda Makusha Moyo, G Nyathi of Sansole and Senda Legal Practitioners, Pineaus Madzivire of Joel Pincus, Konson and Wolhuter, clerk of court in the Civil Court, J Mapfumo, the then acting Matabeleland North provincial magistrate Pathekile Msipa , messenger of court, Bulawayo magistrate Singandu Jele and the deputy sheriff were cited as the 2nd, 3rd, 4th, 5th, 6th, 7th, 8th, 9th and 10th respondents respectively for their alleged role in the attachment of the property on March 10 last year.
In her declaration, De Souza said on March 10 last year her property was attached by the deputy sheriff using an ambiguous and ultimately fraudulent writ of execution.
“On the face of it, it seemed authentic because it had been issued out by the Magistrates’ Court in the province of Matabeleland North on 10 March 2010 signed for and duly stamped by the Clerk of Civil Court (Mapfumo),” she said in court papers.
De Souza said the writ was void and vague and should be nullified.
“These concerns were brought to the attention of 7th respondent (Msipa) who is a highly persuasive authority by virtue of official capacity.
Unfortunately, her response was to uphold the writ rather than treat it as void,” she said.
“She justified the specific performance by writing a letter to the police and stating that there was nothing amiss about this writ.
“She also confirmed that there was a judgment granted in favour of 1st defendant. At the same time the police and other responsible authorities could not act on the plaintiff’s reports on the writ regarding theft and fraud with the urgency and seriousness it deserved.”