Prosper Dembedza Court Correspondent
A 54-year-old Harare businessman who was facing charges of defrauding his tenant of his US$20 910 in a lease agreement deal has been cleared.
Oren Rukwava who was represented by Tawanda Takaendesa had challenged placement on remand saying there was no case to put the accused on remand.
Magistrate Judith Taruvinga ruled that the complainant has approached the wrong court since the matter is not criminal.
“There was no misrepresentation but this is a clear case of contractual breach which the complainant sought recourse at the Civil Court but having been delayed at the Civil Court they have now decided to approach the criminal court for remedy. Summons were issued and appearance to defend were entered by the accused in the same matter and the cause of action is the same, “Taruvinga ruled.
“The complainant has approached the wrong forum and the accused person cannot be placed on remand on a case which falls on the pit of section 49 of the Constitution that no person can be arrested for having breached a contractual obligation and as such the application for placement on remand is hereby dismissed.”
It was alleged that on May 24 the complainant met Rukwava at a shop in Harare’s Central Business District after he was referred by an agent.
The State had alleged that Rukwava told the complainant that shop number 73 Cameron Street was going to be vacant on July 1 and agreed on a payment of US$13 000 for rentals and lease agreement.
It was alleged that the complainant paid a deposit of US$6 500 to Rukwava who wrote an affidavit confirming that he will change the lease into his name. The complainant allegedly went on to pay a total of US$20 910 to Rukwava for change of lease agreement as well as shop rental and ZIMRA payments.
When the complainant went to occupy the shop on July 1 he realised that the tenants who were using the shop were still there and that Rukwava had not changed the lease agreement.