Masvingo Central legislator Dr Daniel Shumba faces imprisonment for defying the court after the Supreme Court rejected his appeal to overturn a consent order to release a vehicle he “erroneously” attached in settlement of a debt.
The appeal, which was brought before the Supreme Court last week, was promptly thrown out because it was defective.
The matter arose when Dr Shumba obtained an order to attach property from Miliza Traders Private Limited and attached several vehicles.
The property included a Toyota Land Cruiser Prado belonging to Mr Sylvester Dendere.
Mr Dendere got a High Court order for the vehicle to be surrendered to the Sheriff for safekeeping pending determination of an appeal in the matter.
When Mr Dendere learnt that his vehicle had been “erroneously” attached, his lawyers filed inter-pleaders at the magistrates’ court claiming the vehicle back.
The court granted Mr Dendere’s order, but Dr Shumba appealed against the decision at the High Court.
While the appeal was still pending Mr Dendere filed an urgent chamber application for the vehicle to be surrendered to the Sheriff pending determination of the appeal.
The order was served on Dr Shumba but he disobeyed it, prompting Mr Dendere to file an application for contempt of court against him.
But both parties’ lawyers agreed to settle the matter and signed a consent order that was confirmed by High Court judge Justice Mary Dube.
In terms of the consent order, Dr Shumba was found to be in contempt of court.
He was ordered to surrender the vehicle to Mr Dendere’s lawyers within 48 hours of being served with the court order or risk spending four weeks in prison.
Dr Shumba had engaged Advocate Sylvester Hashiti to argue the matter, but was advised there was no case because the appeal did not comply with provisions of the High Court.
Adv Thabani Mpofu standing in for Adv Hashiti applied for the matter to be removed from the roll, but the court refused saying the appropriate action was to dismiss the appeal with costs.
The decision sealed Dr Shumba’s fate as it paved way for his incarceration.
According to the court papers, Dr Shumba insisted that when he appealed he was acting on correct legal advice given to him by a senior counsel Advocate Eric Matinenga.
But the court agreed with Adv Mpofu and Adv Hashiti’s position on the appeal that at law a judgment by consent cannot be appealed against.
In a bid to prevent the incarceration which now appears imminent, Dr Shumba is seeking to rescind the consent order, which he claims was granted in error.