Meikles reels as govt demands $30m refund in overpaid TBs

GOVERNMENT has taken John Moxon’s Meikles Limited (Meikles) to court demanding a $30 million refund after the latter was allegedly overpaid through Treasury Bills issued by the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ).

BY CHARLES LAITON

The RBZ claims that it overpaid Meikles in violation of the in duplum rule.

Former Finance minister Patrick Chinamasa, in his founding affidavit filed in court, claimed Meikles was paid $76,1 million through Treasury Bills. At the time the payment was made, the debt plus interest “at the inflated rate” had reached $49 million.

However, when the parties appeared before High Court judge Justice Mary Zimba-Dube, sometime last year, Chinamasa was asked to present “expert evidence” in the form of in duplum reports to prove how Meikles had overcharged the government.

Government is yet to present the evidence.

In another matter, Meikles and its subsidiary Greatermans Stores (Pvt) Ltd have been taken to court by NMB Bank over a $9,5 million debt from a credit facility extended to the diversified group in December 2015.

The bank, through its lawyers Gill Godlonton and Gerrans, filed summons against the Meikles group on October 2, 2018, demanding payment of the debt plus interest charges.

“The following were some of the terms and conditions of the facility; the first defendant (Meikles Limited) was obliged to utilise the facility for, among other things, working capital requirements for the group’s various business units including TM Supermarkets, Pick n Pay Stores and Meikles Mega Markets Stores and Tanganda,” the bank said.

“The first defendant was obliged to pay interest at the rate of 10% per annum. In the event that defendant failed to pay any amounts due on the due date, the interest rate would be revised to 24% per annum, which interest would be compounded monthly and in advance.

“The total outstanding amount was to be repaid to the plaintiff (NMB Bank) on or before November 30, 2016.

The parties signed an addendum on January 23, 2018 in terms of which the first defendant agreed to pay the total amount due to the plaintiff on or before March 31, 2018.”

The bank further said Greatermans bound itself as surety and co-principal debtor for Meikles Limited’s faithful performance of its obligations in terms of the agreement, hence it is being cited as the second respondent.

“The second defendant bound itself as surety and co-principal debtor for the first defendant’s due and faithful performance of its obligations in terms of the agreement.

As security of the loan, the first defendant agreed that the plaintiff would hold Treasury Bills with the value of $1 000 000,” it said.

“In breach of the terms and the conditions of the agreement between the parties and despite demands from the plaintiff, the first and second defendants have failed and/or refused and/or failed to pay the outstanding amounts due to the plaintiff.”

Both matters are pending.