Former Finance and Economic Development deputy minister, Terrence Mukupe, has petitioned the court seeking to overturn default judgments granted in favour of a local international school and a Chinese-owned construction company compelling him to pay a combined debtof $58 000.
BY CHARLES LAITON
In July this year, Mukupe was slapped with a $30 000 default judgement after the international school petitioned the High Court seeking an order to compel him to settle outstanding tuition fees for his three children.
During the same month, Mukupe was again slapped with yet another default judgment for $28 000 in a matter involving a Chinese company, China Industrial International Group (Pvt) Ltd which had built his property in Harare.
But, in his court applications filed on August 28, 2018, through his lawyers IEG Musimbe and Partners, Mukupe said he was asking the court to rescind the judgments because he settled the debts after being advised by his lawyers well before the default judgments were entered.
“It is my (Mukupe) averment that although summons were served upon me. I did not file an appearance to defend because I had already paid the amount claimed by the respondent (school) in June 2018 directly into respondent’s bank account when I saw a newspaper article about the respondent’s claim,” he said.
“It is my averment that I paid the respondent $30 000 in June 2018…therefore I had extinguished the amount being claimed by the respondent and there was therefore no reason to proceed with claim under case number HC5641/18.
“It is my averment that I have a good case and prospects of success if my side of the story is told, heard and listened to. In the circumstances fairness requires the rescission of the default judgment of July 25, 2018.”
In response to the Chinese-owned construction firm’s debt, Mukupe said he had equally settled the debt and there was no need for the firm to secure a default judgment.
“This is an application for rescission of a default judgment that was granted against the applicant (Mukupe) on July 4, 2018. I only became aware of the judgment on the day it was granted when my legal practitioners attended court to try and avoid default judgment being granted and postponing the matter after seeing a newspaper article as regards the matter,” he said.
The ex-deputy minister said he failed to enter appearance to defend since the said summons was not served on him because of bureaucracy of being moved from one office to another…”
“I submit that I was unable to make payment due to some financial constraints earlier on in the year, however, when I was advised by my legal practitioners of the balance being claimed I made a transfer of $14 000 through my legal practitioners of record to the respondent’s legal practitioners. Therefore, I submit that I have always been willing to pay as evidenced by the fact that I had already paid part of the balance and I intend to clear the balance as soon as possible,” he said.
The matters are still pending.