Platinum Timbers last week obtained a High Court order to temporarily stop Kusile Rural District Council (RDC) in Lupane from selling property which the local authority had attached to recover a debt of over $82 000 which it claims is owed by the firm in unpaid royalties.
The local authority won the case on May 26 this year at the Bulawayo High Court against Platinum Timbers over its failure to pay $82 181, 51 in royalties.
High Court judge Justice Lawrence Kamocha ruled the company must pay the amount in question to the local authority.
Kusile RDC, through lawyers Job Sibanda and Associates, took the matter up with the court after the company failed to pay royalties as ordered by the court.
On June 13, the High Court further granted the local authority a writ of execution to attach movable and immovable property after Platinum Timbers failed to pay in a given period.
Kusile RDC lawyer Job Sibanda confirmed the deputy Sheriff attached the company’s property worth the amount owed to his client at Lupane Township three weeks ago.
“We were supposed to auction the property, but last week the company, through its lawyer, filed an application opposing attachment at the High Court.
“We are yet to respond to their application,” said Sibanda.
The company’s general manager Paul Goreraza disputed the attachment in his founding affidavit. He said the company and the local authority had only agreed for $26 817, 46 as indicated in the minutes of their meetings with the Forestry Commission. The company is represented by law firm W O M Simango and Associates.
He said the company had so far paid $5 000 as a gesture of good faith.
“It is my respectful submission that this is a proper case where the honourable court may set aside its judgment and grant me leave to defend this matter in terms of the draft order filed herewith or on such other terms as the honourable court may deem appropriate,” submitted Goreraza.
Platinum Timbers, a timber harvesting company run by the Prince Wood Enterprises Pvt Ltd based in Harare, entered into agreement with Kusile RDC in October 2006 that it would log timber at Shabala Manasa Concession area in Lupane, an area managed by the local authority.
The company was obliged to pay royalties to the RDC.
However, the local authority is suing the company for a sum of $83 181, 51 in respect of outstanding royalties and cost of suit, which the company is still disputing.
The case is yet to proceed in the court following the application of rescission by the company.