Former Deputy Minister faces jail over fertiliser debt

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By Mary Taruvinga

FORMER Deputy Health Minister, Edwin Muguti is facing imprisonment after failing to settle a $26 610 fertiliser debt with Zimbabwe Fertiliser Company (ZFC).

The fertiliser manufacturer has approached the High Court seeking an order compelling the former minister to pay the debt which has been outstanding for some years.

ZFC first issued summons for civil imprisonment against Muguti in March this year but despite the demands, the former Deputy Minister has not yet paid anything towards settling the debt.

In its declaration, ZFC Limited said Muguti was required to pay $24 610 by virtue of a judgement obtained against him over six years ago.

The notice reads: “You, the defendant (Muguti) are called upon to pay the plaintiff (ZFC Limited) the sum of $24 610, with interest thereon at the rate of 20% per annum calculated from October 8, 2012 to the date of payment in full. The defendant shall pay costs, collection commission in terms of the Law Society of Zimbabwe by-laws. The defendant will pay costs on a legal practitioner/client scale.”

ZFC Limited further said in the event that Muguti fails to pay the requested cash, he will be required to appear before the High Court and explain his position.

“If you fail to pay the sum specified above, you must appear before the High Court at Harare to explain why you have not paid it and to show cause why an order for your imprisonment should not be made on account of your failure to pay. You should bring with you evidence of your financial position, and it will be in your own interest to give the court evidence of your income from wages, salary or other earnings and any other income you may receive from any other source, your expenses for yourself and any dependants and any other liabilities.”

According to the summons, the court will conduct an enquiry into Muguti’s financial position and depending on the circumstances, it may not commit him to prison but instead give him further time to pay.

Muguti is however at liberty to approach ZFC and make an offer of settlement of the debt due..

Muguti is yet to respond.