Tsvangirai locked in legal battle over bank loan

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HARARE – Zimbabwe’s former Prime Minister and opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai is currently locked in a legal battle with a local financial institution over a $60 000 loan.

Morgan Tsvangirai

AfrAsia Bank recently issued summons against Tsvangirai demanding payment amounting to $51 206 from the former Premier which the financial institution claimed he had defaulted on repaying two years ago.

AfrAsia Bank, through its lawyers Sawyer and Mkushi Legal Practitioners, claimed that it entered into an agreement with the MDC-T leader in September 2013 in terms of which it extended an overdraft finance facility amounting to $60 000.

The agreement, AfrAsia Bank said, was to terminate in October 2013 by which date all amounts due and outstanding under the agreement would have been paid.

However, Tsvangirai allegedly failed, refused and neglected to pay AfrAsia Bank a total of $51 206 being capital and interest charges of $850 although the bank acknowledged that the MDC-T leader repaid $24 859.

A copy of the loan agreement seen by Radio VOP shows that Tsvangirai borrowed the funds to finance staff salaries and incidentals and offered title deeds to his Strathaven suburb’s property as security to guarantee the loan.

But Tsvangirai’s lawyer Douglas Mwonzora of Mwonzora and Associates Legal Practitioners is disputing the amount that AfrAsia Bank claims their client owes the financial institution.

In his defendant’s plea, Mwonzora admitted that the MDC-T leader had secured a loan from the bank but denied the amounts that AfrAsia claims he owes.

“In addition to the sums mentioned herein the defendant subsequently paid a further sum of $20 000. Therefore, the balance outstanding and the resultant interest is wrong,” reads part of Tsvangirai’s defence plea.

Mwonzora argued that AfrAsia Bank’s claim should be dismissed as currently formulated.

AfrAsia Bank voluntarily surrendered its banking licence to the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe in February paving way for the bank’s liquidation. This came after negotiations to rescue the bank with an international investor fell through at the last minute.

Apart from Tsvangirai, several Zimbabweans are being hauled before the courts for defaulting on loan repayments as the southern African country chokes under an agonising economic crisis that most critics blame on President Robert Mugabe and his ZANU PF’s government’s failure to fix the 15-year old economic calamity.

On Tuesday, the ruling ZANU PF party was forced to deny an article published by a local daily newspaper claiming that Mugabe owed former ZANU PF Mashonaland East provincial chairperson and entrepreneur Ray Kaukonde $30 million which he allegedly borrowed to finance his private business ventures. Radio VOP