VP Mphoko in shop wrangle

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Phelekezela Mphoko

A GWERU-BASED Christian organisation, Christianlove Church, has taken Vice-President Mphelekezela Mphoko’s business entity, Choppies Supermarkets, to court claiming that it was illegally evicted from its rented premises in Mkoba 6, to pave way for the politician’s shop.

BY CHARLES LAITON

In an urgent application filed at the High Court, the church leaders accused management of Choppies of conniving with the property owner, Catering Industry Pension Fund (CIPF), to terminate their lease agreement and evict them.

In his affidavit, the church’s secretary-general, Patrick Chiremba, said: “The crux of this instant application is that the respondents acting in connivance and clandestinely on April 20, 2015, have attempted dispossessing the applicant of its use, quiet enjoyment and occupation of certain premises known as Mkoba Complex, Mkoba 6, Gweru, under lease from 1st respondent.

“Prior to this happening, the first respondent (CIPF) had commenced negotiations with second respondent (Choppies Supermarkets) for the occupation of this aforesaid property and it is then when the first respondent became bent on unceremoniously terminating the applicants’ lease.

“It is the applicant’s contention that it has a prima facie right/clear right in the premises under lease and its infringement by the respondents should be protected and apprehension of irreparable harm to be suffered has been established,” Chiremba said.

He pleaded with the court to set aside the eviction notice.

“Furthermore, the religious organisation will not negotiate or enter into any lease agreement or arrangement with any other third party whilst the existing lease agreement between themselves and the defendant still subsists and seeks the defendant to pay costs of suit,” Chiremba said.

According to the court papers, sometime in October 2012, Christlove Church and CIPF entered into an agreement in which the latter leased its commercial premises at the shopping centre.

Chiremba said problems started when Christlove Church complained that the $3 500 monthly rentals they were being charged were too high when compared with other business premises in the area.