Businessman and Zimpapers chief Delmar Lupepe fails to pay rent

Zimpapers Chairman Mr Delma Lupepe (right) chats with Group Chief Executive Officer Mr Pikirayi Deketeke during an Annual General Meeting in Harare yesterday.Picture by Justin Mutenda

HARARE – Businessman and Zimpapers board chairperson Delma Lupepe is challenging eviction from his house attached over debt in Matsheumhlope low-density suburb.

An order for ejectment has been filed against Lupepe for failing to pay $18 000 in rentals, at a property he used to own.

Lupepe has approached the High Court, seeking to have the judgment for his eviction that was granted in default to be rescinded, claiming that he only became aware of the ruling after his lawyers went to court to postpone the hearing.

He said that the summons for his ejectment was filed in August last year by the property’s new owner, Ecobank, which he defended.

“Respondent (Ecobank) herein applied for summary judgment on the 13th day of December 2016. Applicant (Lupepe) filed a notice of opposition on the 29th day of December 2016.

“The case was set down for hearing on the 14th day of July 2017. I hereby submit that I inadvertently and unwittingly diarised the date of hearing as Monday 17th day of July 2017,” he said, adding that he was not in wilful default.

He also said that on the day that the matter was also heard, he was not in a position to attend the hearing as he was not feeling well.

Ecobank has not responded to the application for rescission of judgment, which has made Lupepe to have the matter set down for hearing today on the unopposed roll.

“It is vitally important to note that the respondent predicated its claim on rei vindicatio. Suffice to note that respondent’s ownership of the immovable property, namely, number 4 Bunting Close Matsheumhlope Bulawayo is strenuously and vehemently disputed,” the court heard.

Lupepe said the bank is a judgment creditor in another case and through a private sale, purported to have bought the property in question without his knowledge, an aspect which he said is a clear case of conflict of interest.

“I was not notified of the sale and was therefore denied a golden opportunity to assert my rights in terms of the law. It is indubitable that the Premier Banking Corporation (the judgment creditor) is the same entity as Ecobank Zimbabwe Limited (the purchaser).

“This is a classic case of the judgment creditor proceeding to clandestinely purchase the judgment debtor’s property worth more than or about $200 000 at a mere $110 000.

“I have since challenged the sale in execution,” he said adding that he is challenging the transfer of the property into the bank’s name.

The bank had previously won the case after Lupepe failed to file a response to the summons, where it had argued that: “The defendant (Lupepe) is in occupation of the said property. As a result of the defendant’s occupation of its aforesaid property, the plaintiff (bank) has suffered and continues to suffer damages as follows: Holding-over damages of $10 000 between the months of March and July 2016 (calculated at the rate of  $2 000 per month); unpaid rates, water and other supplementary charges incurred by the defendant at the plaintiff’s property amounting to $3 742,24 and $4 372,37, being unpaid electricity charges incurred by the defendant at the plaintiff’s property,” the bank claimed in its court papers.