BULAWAYO High Court judge Justice Martin Makonese has dismissed a bid by members of the Umguza Community Share Ownership Trust to have Home Affairs minister Obert Mpofu charged for theft of trust property worth $600 000.
BY SILAS NKALA
The trust members accused Mpofu and other Zanu PF activists including Matabeleland North provincial chairman Richard Moyo of grabbing the trust’s borehole drilling equipment. Trust chairperson Felix Nhlanhla Ndiweni, in his founding affidavit, cited Mpofu, Moyo, Zanu PF activists, Moses Siphuma, Jonathan Sibanda, Remigious Ombani, Severely Sibanda Mthombeni, Sharon Ncube, David Moyo, Paul Masina, Kholwani Mbambo, Future Mhlanga and Umguza Rural District Council, as respondents.
But in a ruling dated June 7, Makonese said it is an established principle that a trust is not capable of holding property in its name, hence could not accuse Mpofu of stealing.
“In this matter the applicant has chosen to clothe itself with power to represent the trust. The deponent to the founding affidavit states that he is the chairperson of the Umguza Share Ownership trust. He further avers that in the capacity he is in charge of all affairs of the trust. The deponent is not authorised to institute proceedings on behalf of the trust,” he ruled.
He added: “To the extent that the respondent believes that he is in control of the trust and that he can proceed without the resolution of the trustees, the applicant is not properly before the court. For the afore-going reasons, there is merit in the points in limine that have been raised on behalf of the respondents. The application is not properly before the court. In the circumstances, I would uphold the preliminary points and make the following order, the application be and is hereby dismissed with costs.”
Ndiweni had submitted that the Zanu PF activists grabbed keys to a drilling rig valued at $500 000 as well as an assortment of equipment and took keys for a single cab Toyota Hilux and one large truck on Mpofu’s instructions.
He claimed that police were reluctant to investigate the matter.