Meikles challenges shares seizure

Meikles Limited has made a court application challenging the attachment of shares in several of its subsidiaries by the sheriff to settle a $1,5 million debt owed to a local consultancy firm.

By Kuda Chideme

The listed conglomerate had contracted Core Solutions to help recover the money raided by the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ) from its accounts.

In its application, Meikles argues that the arbitral award handed in favour of Wide Free Investments, which trades as Core Solutions, should be stayed pending finalisation of a case between the conglomerate and the Finance ministry, which was still before the courts.

In the court papers seen by this paper, Meikles contends that it should not be compelled to pay Core Solutions because it was still in a fight with government to recover the money owed to it.

The actual amount debt is still contested, with Meikles arguing that it is owed $89,5 million, while government insists that the debt amounted to $53 million.

“The case between the Finance ministry and the applicant is the crux of this application. It ought to be understood that the outcome of that case has a huge bearing on this matter and indeed on the purported attachments and seizures of property pursued as a result of a judgment passed in this matter,” Meikles said in its papers.

“As it stands, the first respondent is seeking to enforce an order for collection commission on money that it never collected and was never paid to the applicant. The applicant is still fighting the government for the remainder of its money and the case is pending before this honourable court.”

To date, the RBZ has Treasury Bills with a cumulative face value of $78,6 million to Meikles, which the company argues were equivalent to $55 million cash if one applies a discount rate of 30% as per the RBZ governor’s letter.

“It is also a settled position of law, stemming from the rules of this honourable court, that whenever the sheriff is instructed to attach movables of a judgement debtor, he is supposed to start with those of a lesser value, and immediately stop when the judgement claim is satisfied. The sheriff skipped the above procedure and went for the most valuable movables of the applicant, and wrongly and procedurally attached all of the shares, which far exceeds the value of the judgment claim,” the Meikles papers read.

“In light of the above, I pray that the writ of execution, upon which the sheriff acted together with the notice of seizure and attachment in this case be set aside with costs.”

The company’s subsidiaries were involved in almost every sector of the economy, spanning from agriculture to retail of basic commodities and hospitality.
As of last Thursday, Meikles was trading at 52 cents, with a market cap of $138,7 million.

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