Meikles obtains writ to recover $1,4m from Widefree

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TINASHE MAKICHI

Meikles Limited has obtained a writ to recover $1,4 million which it paid to Widefree Investments Limited, a company linked to businessman Joseph Kanyekanye. This comes after the Zimbabwe Stock Exchange listed hospitality concern obtained an order from the High Court to claim for restitution of the funds which were paid to Widefree Investments Limited. In December 2013, Meikles Limited entered into a consultancy agreement with Widefree Investments trading as Core Solutions, a company linked to Kanyekanye.

The mandate of this agreement was that Core Solutions would assist Meikles Limited in recovering funds owed to Meikles by the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe.

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

According to information gathered by this publication, Meikles Limited said a 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 therefore 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 Meikles –Government of Zimbabwe Debt.

The High Court according to documents seen by Business Times ordered Widefree Investments to restitute amounts paid by Meikles Limited.

Meikles Limited has since obtained a writ to obtain the funds, according to documents seen by this publication.

“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,” read the court papers in the possession of this publication.’

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 filed 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 ruled against Meikles.

The hearing 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.

Early this month, High Court judge Justice Nyaradzo Munangati-Manongwa ruled that Meikles should pay Widefree $1,7 million and released from attachment Meikles assets.