HomePoliticsKondozi debacle hits banks

Kondozi debacle hits banks

Augustine Mukaro

IN a move that could scupper the Agricultural and Rural Development Authority (Arda)’s efforts to effectively operate Kondozi Farm, the High Court yesterday granted Barclays Bank of Zimbabwe

an order to repossess all farming equipment at the farm.

The violent seizure of Kondozi Farm by Arda and the abrupt closure of the horticultural concern has adversely affected the farm’s financiers, Barclays-Fincor, Zimbank-Syfrets and African Banking Corporation, who collectively advanced loans of about $37 billion to towards the project.

Since the seizure of Kondozi last month, Arda has taken control of the farm’s assets, which include motor vehicles and tractors.

The interim order granted by Justice Charles Hungwe, a copy of which is in the hands of the Zimbabwe Independent, places all the movable assets under judicial attachment and bars Arda from using or tampering with it.

The order also interdicted Arda from using, dismantling, and disposing or in any way whatsoever dealing with the assets.

“In the event of the respondents failing to comply with this order, the Deputy Sheriff be and is hereby authorised and directed to take possession of the movable assets and deliver them to the applicant,” the order said.

Movable assets listed in the order include an ERF 30-tonne truck, 30 motorised knapsacks, 10 Jialing motorcyles, 15 Same tractors, six Nissan diesel UD 90 trucks, three Nissan Cabstar four-tonne trucks, two Nissan 2,7 S/cab trucks, and two Nissan 2,7 Hardbody D/Cabs.

Kondozi is still expected to pay about $5 billion for the listed assets to Barclays.

Kondozi operations director, Piet De Klerk, three weeks ago was on record as saying that the seizure of the firm had resulted in the loss of more than $60 billion worth of business and equipment.

He said his organisation had lost over $20 billion worth of movable assets alone which included 48 tractors, four Scania trucks, five UD 90 trucks, several T35 trucks, four vehicles that were used by management and over 26 motorbikes.

Kondozi Farm was one of Zimbabwe’s biggest horticultural exporting concerns supplying produce to supermarkets in Britain, Europe and South Africa.

Meanwhile, former Kondozi Farm outgrowers face imminent closure due to lack of financing and markets after the seizure of the horticultural business last month.

Highly-placed sources in Odzi said the 35 outgrowers who depended solely on Kondozi Fresh Produce for financing of their agricultural business and marketing of produce were winding up their operations due to financial problems.

“Kondozi was financing all expenses for the outgrowers from cropping through to marketing. The firm would recover its money when the produce was exported before remitting the profits to the outgrower,” sources said.

One of the outgrowers who spoke to the Independent on condition of anonymity, said the affected farmers were disposing of their equipment to raise money for paying gratuities to labourers.

“We are trying to sell our assets to pay gratuities and terminal benefits to the workers we are going to retrench because the seizure of Kondozi has left us without the ability to continue, even if we wanted to,” the outgrower said.

“As you know, horticulture is very labour-intensive. The outgrowers have hundreds of thousands of workers but have no money to keep them.”

The violent seizure of Kondozi left the majority of the outgrowers stranded.

“As we speak, 20 of the outgrowers have had their electricity disconnected because of failure to pay bills. Kondozi used to pay Zesa bills,” the outgrower said.

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