Mliswa back in the dock

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Former Warriors fitness trainer and Saltlakes Holdings chief executive Temba Mliswa was back at the Harare Magistrates’ Court on Wednesday, charged with contempt of court and theft of 56 head of cattle from Rydings Farm School in Karoi valued at $17 100.

The commercial farmer, represented by his lawyer, Charles Chinyama, was not asked to plead when he appeared before regional magistrate Estere Chivasa. Mliswa was remanded out of custody on $50 bail.

His trial has been set for next Thursday.

Prosecutor Obi Mabahwana said Mliswa allegedly disregarded a High Court provisional order granted by Justice Susan Mavangira in October 2007 barring anyone from interfering with Rydings School assets.

The provisional court order was allegedly issued against respondents, who were cited as Mliswa, Gerald Mlotshwa and the Minister of Lands in High Court case number 4837/07.

Prior to the said court order being granted, Rydings School is said to have had financial problems in March 2007, and the chairman of the board of governors, Mlotshwa, offered to bail out the school by purchasing some of the school’s cattle.

It is alleged at that particular time Mlotshwa was also the chairman of Saltlakes Holdings.

The Rydings headmaster, whose name was not mentioned in State papers, allegedly agreed to Mlotshwa’s proposal assuming he had agreed with other stakeholders to sell the cattle and bail out the school.

Mlotshwa then wrote a letter to the school authorities asking them to allow Mliswa to drive cattle from the school to his Spring Farm in Karoi.

However, in June the same year, the board of directors, parents and the school’s stakeholders allegedly objected to the sale of the cattle and agreed to have the sale rescinded.

They approached the High Court and the cattle sale was allegedly rescinded.

Mlotshwa was then advised of the existence of the court order and he in turn allegedly advised Mliswa not to take the cattle.

However, in January 2008, Mliswa allegedly sent his employees to drive the cattle from the school during the night after cutting the farm’s fence.