FAO $623k saga: ‘Mumbengegwi has no prospects of success’

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A FORMER Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) employee, who two years ago obtained a court order to garnish the organisation’s bank account to recover his outstanding salary of $623 400, has filed a response at the Supreme Court challenging Foreign Affairs minister Simbarashe Mumbengegwi’s bid to defend against the order.

BY CHARLES LAITON

Michael Jenrich was in 2014 granted a garnishee order by the Labour Court after he successfully took his former employers to court over outstanding salary payments.

However, Mumbengegwi was not impressed with the move and approached the Supreme Court last November to save FAO’s account from being garnished. Mumbengegwi’s application, however, was struck off the roll on the basis that his notice of appeal was defective.

Simbarashe Mumbengegwi Simbarashe Mumbengegwi

Apparently, instead of immediately sorting out his papers and approaching the court for remedy, Mumbengegwi did not do so in time, but filed his appeal early this month.

Foreign Affairs ministry legal department acting director Sibusisiwe Mutendi, who deposed to an affidavit on behalf of the minister, said Mumbengegwi’s delay in filing an appeal had been caused by his lawyer who had gone out of the country on a honeymoon.

In his response, Jenrich said it was not clear in the court papers as to who was representing the minister since at the beginning he had been represented by the Office of the Attorney-General (AG), but in the current application the minister’s lawyers were not identified.

“The identity of the ‘applicant’s legal practitioner’ (Mumbengegwi), referred to in paragraph 19 of the founding affidavit, is not disclosed and it is not clear to me why he could not depose to the founding affidavit himself,” Jenrich said in his affidavit.

“Had the application been made much sooner, I might have been constrained to take a different attitude in order to bring this matter to finality, but it is my respectful submission that no reasonable explanation has been advanced for the two-month delay in filing the application.

“The legal practitioner who has dealt with this matter in the past has been the Attorney-General, who has no superiors. The legal practitioner who appeared at the hearing before this honourable court was Advocate Lewis Uriri and I am at a loss to understand who his (lawyers) superiors might be.”

Jenrich further said Mumbengegwi had no prospect of success on appeal for the reasons that he had not sought leave to appeal even though he was appealing against an interlocutory judgment.