New twist to Airport Road court case

Court hammer

A High Court judge has conditionally given a subsidiary of Augur Investments a chance to defend itself, in a case where a deed of settlement saw Harare City Council ceding land for the Harare Airport Road construction project.

High Court judge Justice Munangati-Munongwa allowed Doorex to note an appearance to defend itself but ordered it to pay costs on a higher scale so that it can defend itself in the case lodged by Fairclot, trading as Trucking and Construction (T&C) in April this year.

T & C, which was subcontracted by Augur Investments for the airport project, is demanding the nullification of the deed of settlement between Harare City Council, the Local Government ministry and Augur Investments that saw the transfer of 273 hectares of land in Harare’s Borrowdale suburb.

Doorex was cited as the sixth respondent in the case because it holds the land, stand 654 Pomona, which was used as surety for the Airport Road deal by Augur Investments.

The title deeds of the land are being held in escrow by a local law firm, Coughlan, Welsh, and Guest pending finalisation of the court case.

Fairclot cited Augur, its owner Ken Sharpe, his aide Tatiana Aleshina, the City of Harare, the Local Government ministry, Doorex Properties, Registrar of Deeds, and deputy sheriff of the High Court Mucduff Madega as first to eighth respondents.

President Emmerson Mnangagwa was cited as an interested party in the case.

Sharpe’s lawyer, Evans Talent Moyo of Scanlen & Holderness, noted the appearance to defend the businessman, Aleshina and Augur Investments, but did not file on behalf of Doorex.

In allowing Doorex to file its defence, the judge noted that the company was part of the proceedings and if T&C wins the award, it can be challenged by Doorex on the grounds that it was excluded from the case.

Moyo had raised a special plea saying Fairclot did not have the locus standi to challenge the deed of settlement because it was not an interested party, but later discovered that Doorex was not part of the proceedings.

Doorex was barred by that time and Moyo filed an application for the upliftment of the restriction.

He said he was the one responsible for the mistake as he had been given instructions to defend all the respondents.

Fairclot lawyer Tendai Biti Law had opposed the application on the grounds that the person who originated the email had no locus standi because he was not an employee of Doorex or anyone appointed by Doorex.

T&C argues that the land owned by Doorex is the only property belonging to Sharpe that can be attached to recover its debt for the Airport Road project as some of the land from the deal with the council was transferred to various shelf companies.

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