MACRO-ECONOMIC Planning and Investment Promotion minister and business tycoon Obert Mpofu is set to lose 50 properties he reportedly surrendered as surety to secure a $2 million loan from CBZ Bank after the financial institution approached the High Court seeking provisional sentence on a liquid document.
BY CHARLES LAITON
The Zanu PF secretary for finance — who owns companies such as Trebo and Khays, Maminza Transport, and Khanondo Safari and Tours — could be sitting on a crumbling business empire after some of his movable properties reportedly went under the hammer over an outstanding debt last year.
The minister owns immovable properties in Bulawayo such as Centrust Building, York House and Anchor House, among others, and some properties in Victoria Falls and Gwanda.
CBZ Bank on Monday this week filed summons under case number HC2220/17, after realising that Mpofu was not making efforts to service the debt he secured on behalf of his financial institution, the now-defunct Allied Bank Limited.
“The plaintiff (CBZ) claim is based on the following: A surety mortgage bond of $2 million executed by the defendant on behalf of the principal debtor, Allied Bank Limited, and in favour of CBZ Bank Limited over the defendant’s (Mpofu) immovable property known as certain piece of land situate in the District of Salisbury being Stand 2501 Glen Lorne Township measuring 4 395 square metres held under Deed of Grant 163/1998,” the bank said.
In its court papers, through its lawyers G N Mlotshwa and Company, CBZ Bank said it had decided to pursue Mpofu’s properties after realising that his bank was in January 2015 placed under liquidation and was currently not trading since it surrendered its banking licence to the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe.
“The principal debtor, Allied Bank Limited, neglected or failed to pay the outstanding debt to the plaintiff before it was placed in liquidation. In terms thereof the principal debtor’s surrender of banking licence and subsequent placement into liquidation has rendered the debt due and payable,” CBZ Bank said.
“Despite demand being made on the 12th January, 2015, the amount remains unpaid and defendant has not disputed the debt.”
According to the court papers, on January 15, 2015, CBZ Bank’s head of recoveries and collections, one N Chanakira, wrote to Titan Law Legal Practitioners explaining to them the position as regards Mpofu bank’s debt.
“We hereby submit the above name (Allied Bank) for inclusion in our portfolio . . . We enclose the following copy documents: Short-term loan and 50 surety mortgage bonds. Proceed to place caveats on all the properties to safeguard the bank’s interest and proceed with the recovery process,” Chanakira said.
Mpofu is yet to respond to the summons. He also has a pending case with over 20 journalists laid off from his now-defunct The Zimbabwe Mail newspaper.
Several of Mpofu’s operations in the Hwange mining town have either closed down or relocated to Victoria Falls.
His Minus restaurant, Matetsi Meats butchery, KST Bypass fuel service station (all leased from Hwange Colliery Company), KoMpofu sports bar and KoMpofu butchery in Mpumalanga high-density suburb in Hwange closed almost two years ago.
The closure of his Hwange companies came hardly a month after the former Mines minister was dragged to the Labour Court by security guards at his Moya Security firm over salary arrears.