Home » Business » Mliswa Firm Sued for U.S.$90 000

SALTLAKES Holdings — a company linked to Hurungwe West legislator Cde Temba Mliswa — is being sued at the High Court for US$94 272 by Bak Storage (Pvt) Ltd over unpaid storage fees for bales of tobacco that were warehoused at the company. In a dramatic battle, Saltlakes sued Bak Storage for US$2 million in a counter-application in respect of its bales of tobacco that were destroyed through water leakage while in storage.

Some of the tobacco, according to Saltlakes, was stolen while in the hands of Bak Storage and the tobacco buying company is now claiming more.

The parties now await trial at the High Court before Justice Happias Zhou.

According to the main summons, between October 31 2008 and June 28 2009, Bak Storage offered storage services for Saltlakes.

Bales of tobacco in excess of 26 000 were taken to the warehouses for storage.

Bak Storage also provided many other services including “sorting of tobacco bales, sewing of some of the bales, handling of tobacco bales and handling of bags”.

As part of the two companies’ agreement, Bak Storage presented invoices to Saltlakes from time to time but nothing was paid.

The agreement compelled Saltlakes to pay for each invoice upon presentation, it is claimed.

Despite demand, Bak Storage argues, Saltlakes did not pay the money, prompting the storage firm to issue out summons.

Saltlakes responded to the main application through a counter-application in which it is claiming US$2 186 783 plus interest from Bak Storage.

Saltlakes argued that the US$94 272 being claimed by Bak Storage was not justified considering that the agreement was entered into during the Zimbabwe dollar era.

“The parties did not, at any time, enter into an agreement expressed in United States of America dollar currency but in Zimbabwe dollar currency.

“Prior to the introduction of the multi-currency system in February 2009, the plaintiffs had no right or basis to charge for its services in any currency except the Zimbabwean dollar,” reads the counter claim.

Saltlakes argues that sometime in November 2008 to June 28 2009, its tobacco bales were damaged and stolen owing to Bak Storage’s negligence.

Saltlakes had purchased tobacco from various auction floors including Tobacco Sales Floor, Burley Marketing Zimbabwe and Zitac in US dollars.

In November 2008, it is claimed that 14 bales of tobacco worth US$3 987 belonging to Saltlakes were damaged due to roof leakages while in one of the warehouses at Bak2 .

It is also contended that on December 1 the same year, 193 bales of tobacco that were stored at HCF warehouse were damaged after a water tap was left open in the warehouse.

On December 5, 2008, 1 500 bales of tobacco valued at US$300 000 were damaged by water which flooded the warehouse, it is claimed.

GN Mlotshwa and Company is representing Saltlakes while Winterton law firm is acting for Bak Storage.

The matter was still to be set down for hearing at the High Court.

Source : The Herald