Meikles Limited fights back

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TINASHE MAKICHI

Zimbabwe Stock Exchange-listed Meikles Limited has won its claim for restitution of $1,3 million which it paid to a company linked to businessman Joseph Kanyekanye.

In December 2013, Meikles Limited entered into a consultancy agreement with Widefree Investments trading as Core Solutions to assist the group recover funds owed by the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ).

Pursuant to the agreement, Meikles Limited made various payments to Widefree Investments and two other defendants (Kanyekanye and Sydney Hall) in the matter for the services that they undertook but failed to provide. These totalled $1,3 million.

According to information gathered by this publication, Meikles Limited averred that the said sum of $1,3 million on account of the breach and unlawful activities of the defendants must be repaid on the setting aside of the agreement as restitution.

Meikles Limited claimed an order declaring that Widefree Investments was in breach of the agreement dated December 27, 2013 and all subsequent agreements stemming from or relating to the collection of the money owed by government to Meikles.

The High Court, according to documents seen by Business Times, has since ruled that Widefree Investments must restitute amounts paid by Meikles Limited.

“If you do not enter an appearance to defend, Meikles Limited’s claim will be heard and dealt with by the High Court without further notice to you,” read part of the summons addressed to Widefree Investments by the High Court.

The High Court ordered a judicial cancellation of all agreements between Meikles Limited and Widefree Investments. The High Court further ordered holding Widefree Investments and two other defendants jointly and severally liable, the one paying the other to be absolved.

The latest decision from the courts means that the auction set for tomorrow would have to be cancelled.

Meikles Limited averred that the defendants in the case’s conduct in breaching the agreement and conducting themselves unlawfully accessioned general contractual damages to the Meikles Limited in the sum of $5 million.

In November 2015, Core Solutions through the arbitration process agreed to by the parties filed a statement of claim of payment of about $2 million being outstanding principal commission and interest on recovery of part of the debt owed to Meikles by RBZ.

The first issue of contention raised by Meikles upon receipt of the statement of claim was that the arbitrator was appointed without there being mutual agreement between the parties on the appointment of such arbitrator as was required by the contract between the parties. For reasons that remain unsatisfactory to Meikles, the arbitrator dismissed this point.

Meikles proceeded to file an application for review of this decision in the High Court and to declare the appointment of the arbitrator ultra vires and contrary to the public policy of Zimbabwe. The High Court then ruled against Meikles.

The hearing then continued before the arbitrator culminating in an award being given against Meikles. When Core Solutions sought to register the award with the High Court, Meikles opposed it on the basis that a legal process has been instituted to challenge the propriety of the arbitration process.

Justice Esther Muremba who heard the matter dismissed the Meikles position and gave order in favour of Core Solutions