A top officer with the Zimbabwe Republic Police has been accused of trying to take a Harare-based company by force under the guise of the government’s economic indigenisation crusade.
But Chief Superintendent Joel Tenderere and five other individuals, who include a retired army major, have been ordered by the High Court not to interfere with the operations of Outdoor Living Centre, stone and slate miners and purveyors.
Tenderere and his group were also accused of taking over a house next to the company premises.
The house is used by the company directors as their residence.
According to court papers, the name of Saviour Kasukuwere, the Minister of Youth Development, Indigenisation and Empowerment, was used in attempts to grab the company, whose directors are Loice Shekede and her husband, Godfrey.
But Kasukuwere distanced himself from the alleged attempted seizure.
Tenderere yesterday also denied having any interests in the company, saying: “It is news to me. I never attended any court. I was never served with any court papers.”
The top police officer denied ever setting foot at the company’s business premises in Harare’s Msasa industrial area.
High Court judge Justice Felistas Chatukuta ruled on September 28 that Tenderere and his group should stop interfering with the operations of the company and that they should cease occupation of both the company premises and the residential property.
Reads part of the judgment: “The first, second, third and fourth respondents be and are hereby ordered and directed to restore possession of business premises at Number 186 Mutare Road, Msasa, Harare, to the applicants and to restore the leased premises at Number 188 Mutare Road,
Msasa, Harare, to the applicants in this matter.” In court papers, Loice Shekede said: “In or about April 2011, we received threats from the first respondent (Tenderere), fourth respondent (Major Chademana), one Z Lunga and one Chris Mushore who indicated they were acting on instructions of the National Indigenisation and Economic Empowerment Board and the Minister of Indigenisation and Economic Empowerment.”
Shekede said she immediately approached the courts, but she was later advised by her lawyers the matter had been withdrawn after minister Kasukuwere distanced himself from the intended takeover.
She said since the withdrawal of the matter and the assurances from Kasukuwere, she believed her business operation was secure.
But on September 14 around 7pm, Tenderere and his alleged accomplices visited the company and he “proceeded to instruct the group of rowdy people that they had in trucks to get everything that belonged to us out of the house and onto the trucks”.
She said Tenderere and his group kept them hostage “for hours”. She said she managed to escape and headed for her parents’ home in Norton where upon arrival she found Tenderere and his group offloading her property at the place.
She said they had since laid siege at the company premises. She claimed her property was stolen during the melee but a police report (RRB1149209) she made at Rhodesville Police Station did not yield any results.
“The respondents have taken the law into their own hands by forcibly evicting us from the premises. We have not been allowed to move back into the house,” she said in court papers.
“We are in any event scared to move back without the protection of the law in view of the fact that the first respondent (Tenderere) is a senior police officer and our previous reports to the police concerning the illegal activities of the first respondent have not been investigated.”
Shekede said Tenderere and his group were pocketing proceeds from the sale of company products.