Matsika loses final appeal in fight for control of Croco Motors

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By Senior Reporter 

IT never rains but pours for top Harare businessman, Farai Matsika, who has had his Croco Motors Supreme Court appeal declined again for lack of jurisdiction.

Matsika had filed an appeal at the Supreme Court following the dismissal of his other appeal at the same court in a case where he is fighting for control of Croco Holdings with his cousin Moses Chingwena.

Supreme Court judges, Justices Elizabeth Gwaunza, Joseph Musakwa and Hlekani Mwayera presided over the latest hearing.

The judges said further details regarding the dismissal of Matsika’s appeal will be made available soon.

“Whereupon after reading documents filed of record and hearing counsel, it is ordered that the preliminary point on jurisdiction raised by the respondents (Fair Gold Investments) be and is hereby upheld with costs. The court declines jurisdiction in this matter. Full reasons for this order will follow in due course,” read the brief judgement handed down on October 19 2022.

In the previous Supreme Court hearing, the court ruled that Matsika tried to illegally grab ownership of Croco Holdings from the rightful owner, his cousin Chingwena.

Supreme Court judge, Justice Chinembiri Bhunu, in his judgment said High Court judge, Justice Owen Tagu cannot be faulted for coming up with that ruling since Matsika had put nothing before the courts to support his ownership claims.

Justice Bhunu ruled it was Matsika’s obligation to convince the court, but it was clear he submitted doctored documents which made it difficult for both courts to believe him.

Matsika has been fighting with Chingwena over the control of Croco Holdings, with Matsika claiming he spent over two decades building the empire.

Farai Matsika

In an earlier ruling, High Court judge, Justice Owen Tagu had accused him of trying to grab the company through the back door, an argument upheld by Justice Bhunu with costs.

Justice Bhunu also blasted Matsika and his lawyers for incompetency.

“In the final analysis no-fault or misdirection can be laid at the learned judge a quo’s door in his treatment of the substantive issues and verdict,” Justice Bhunu said.

“In view of Matsika’s deplorable unbecoming behaviour in manufacturing fraudulent documents to deceive the court, costs at the punitive scale were eminently deserved in the court a quo. In the current proceedings before me, there is no reason for departure from the general rule that costs follow the result.

“In the final analysis, I hold that the appellants have no reasonable prospects of success on appeal. It is accordingly ordered that the application for condonation of late noting of appeal and extension of time within which to make an appeal be and is hereby dismissed with costs,” he ruled.

“This is, therefore, a proper case where the naivety of the applicants’ lawyers was properly visited on their clients as the applicants were not entirely free from blame.”

Matsika had, in his Supreme Court appeal, complained Justice Tagu had made some errors in concluding he had sought to grab the company through the back door.

Matsika sought the setting aside of the High Court ruling and demanded a forensic audit and valuation of Croco Holdings and 39 other entities.

Matsika claimed he had built the Croco business empire for 26 years while his cousin Chingwena was working at LCZ, Century Bank, and Discount House, which he added are failed companies.

However, Chingwena argued that Matsika failed to place before the court evidence showing how he secured the 30% stake in the vehicle sale company.

While Matsika had claimed that Phibeon Gwatidzo of Baker Tilly Gwatidzo Chartered Accountants was the shares transferring secretary in 2006, it emerged through Gwatidzo’s secretary that the accounting firm was not yet in existence at the time.