FORMER Finance deputy minister Terrence Mukupe yesterday successfully overturned two default judgments entered against him, and which compelled him to pay a combined debt of $58 000 to a private school and Chinese-owned construction company.
BY CHARLES LAITON
In July this year, Mukupe was slapped with a $30 000 default judgment after the school, which cannot be named to protect the identity of his three minor children, petitioned the High Court demanding that the former Zanu PF legislator settle his children’s outstanding tuition fees. It later turned out that the school sought and won a default judgment after Mukupe had already paid the claimed amount directly into the school’s account.
During the same month, Mukupe was slapped with another default judgment for $28 000 in a matter involving a Chinese company, China Industrial International Group (Pvt) Ltd.
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 had settled the debts well before the default judgments were entered.
High Court judge Justice Nicholas Mathonsi yesterday ruled in Mukupe’s favour and allowed the rescission of the two default judgments, effectively sparing the former Finance minister a civil imprisonment.
“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, direct into respondent’s bank account when I saw a newspaper article about the respondent’s claim,” Mukupe 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.
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.
“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.